Welcome to Est. 1999, the official blog of Abraham Translations. As is perhaps easy to surmise, the name of this blog reflects the year that Abraham Translations was founded.
It all began with the correction of a few texts that had been translated by another time-pressed translator. Within the year, translating had become my main source of income; now, it has long been the only way I put bacon on the table.
I am rather proud of many of the projects on which I have worked.
Est. 1999, basically, is a visual confirmation of past projects, a blowing of my own horn, a presentation of translator-related topics, and an occasional departure into other areas that I deem worthy of presenting. Enjoy.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Gardenia – Before the Last Curtain Falls / Gardenia – Bevor der letzte Vorhang fällt (2014)

(Documentary, HD, 88 minutes; directed by Thomas Wallner; written by Thomas Wallner & Eva Küpper.)
A Gebrüder Beetz Produktion, in coproduction with Savage Film, ZDF & Canvas, in association with arte & Telenet, supported by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFA - German Federal Film Board, DFFF - German National Film Fund, MEDIA programme of the European Union & Flanders Audiovisual Fund.
Didn't do a lot on this project, just a synopsis or two. But the documentary is interesting and tragically touching, and well worth seeing if you have the chance. (There's a reason it has reaped in awards and special mentions at all the festivals it’s been screened.)
Trailer One:
In Vancouver, Janet Smith of  The Georgia Straight had the following to say about the feature-length documentary: "In these days of progress for transgender people, documentary filmmaker Thomas Wallner takes a timely, and artfully constructed, look back at a group of pioneers from the past. The aging stars of Gardenia, a hit Belgian cabaret show, recollect the pain of boyhood, the introduction of hormones, the life-threatening surgeries abroad, and, in some cases, the need to pay their bills with prostitution. Facing old age, one mourns her lost sexuality, another makes up for her lack of children by working at a hospital ward for sick kids, and a few succumb to loneliness. Wallner intercuts his interviews with avant-garde sequences from the show, producing a deeply moving account of survival, identity, and the healing power of art."
Queer Guru goes into greater detail in their review found here
Trailer Two:

Friday, 17 June 2016

Torsten Holtz – Half of Life Is Spent Waiting

(Bilingual catalog, ISBN-10: 3925782680 / ISBN-13: 978-3925782688, hardcover, 48 pages)
From 31 March 2011 to 4 June 2011, the young Berliner artist Torsten Holtz had his first exhibition at Die Galerie Frankfurt, and to the occasion the gallery published this catalog featuring texts by Volker Stelzmann, Maren Kirchhoff and Damiano Femfert.
I translated the text from German into English. The piece below was in the exhibition (and sold).
Hundeherz / Dogheart
2011, Oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm

Over at Mutual Art, they more or less said the following about the exhibit: "The first solo exhibition of the Berlin artist Torsten Holtz (b. 1973) presented by DIE GALERIE in Frankfurt/Main features a broad selection of about 30 works, created by the young painter between 2004 and 2011. The show allows the viewer to trace the artistic development of the master student of Volker Stelzmann, and to experience an intensive encounter with Holtz' pictorial world. At first glance his portrayals of figures seem to be easily comprehensible, but upon longer reflection they begin to bemuse, unsettle, and pose riddles. The artist's figures watch and wait, silent in quite isolation, and radiate a peculiar, distanced lack of emotion. 'Half of Life Is Spent Waiting,' explains the artist, who sees the moments of humanity's existential emptiness described in the literary works of Beckett, Charms, and Bukowski as the key to his painting. True reality and Torsten Holtz' fantastic imagination intermesh to create a form of Magic Realism that is firmly anchored in the here and now of the 21st century."

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Houwelandt - Ein Roman entsteht (2005)

(Feature-length documentary, 107 minutes — the title freely translates into "Houwelandt — The Birth of a Novel".)
Here we have a documentary written and directed by Jörg Adolph about, as the title states, the creation of a novel (cover below).
John von Düffel is an award-winning German author, and Adolph's film follows him during the creation and subsequent publication and reception of his novel Houwelandt. As the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel points out: "He who believes that novels are still written by literary geniuses alone in a silent closet is a knave. Today, the author presents the publisher with a concept draft before starting to write."
We did the subtitles, contracted by Subs Hamburg.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Projekt: Superwoman (Austria, 2016)

(Documentary film, 90 min., written & directed by Barbara Caspar)
As a translator, you sometimes work projects that appear to fall off the face of the earth. Some you never hear of again, others suddenly reappear under a new name or the banner of some other firm than the one that originally contracted your services.
That's the case with this documentary film, Projekt: Superwoman, the topic of which we found truly intriguing when we translated a treatment for it seven years ago, way back in 2009 — and not for Lotus Film, the Austrian company releasing it this year.
Projekt: Superwoman was written and directed by Barbara Caspar, an art-house documentary director whose taste seems to lean towards absorbing feminist subjects. Here, she tackles the true and relatively unknown story (especially outside of Spain, where it transpired) of the radical proto-feminist Aurora Rodriguez (23 April 1879 — 28 Dec 1955) and her daughter Hildegart, "the Red Virgin".
Aurora was a firm believer in eugenics who, thanks to an unknown donor found via newspaper advertisements, produced her amazing daughter, Hildegart (born 9 Dec, 1914), a brilliant intellectual prodigy who spoke six languages, possessed a law degree, had written masses of articles and books, and become an international leftist leader all by her late teens. When Hildegart tried to become an independent woman and leave her overbearing and possessive mother for a position as secretary for H.G. Wells, Aurora shot her dead.
To paraphrase the Lotus Film website: Casper's documentary, Projekt: Superwoman, tells the story as a mixture of documentary and animation film; she examines the Rodriguez case and explores the extent to which this story reflects current mother-daughter relationships and modern lifestyles.
The story was previously filmed by the Peru-born Spanish filmmaker and actor Fernando Fernán Gómez (28 Aug 1921 — 21 Nov 2007) in 1977 as Mi hija Hildegart / My Daughter Hildegart (poster above), and as a short film in 2011 by Sheila Pye entitled The Red Virgin — "Red Virgin" being the nickname bequeathed Hildegart while still alive.
The director Boris Undorf, most likely unintentionally, used a riff of the story for his intriguing and unjustly unknown low-budget, US-set horror movie Sonata in 2004.
Trailer to
Boris Undorf's Sonata (2004):