My experience of the ETP was very positive. It was the first time I had worked on a translation together with others and the first time I consciously realised that a text can always be improved – that when you’re done with it, someone else can do some more. It was also very encouraging; at that point, I was still wondering whether I wasn’t deluding myself into thinking I could translate. My translations since then include Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies (2015), Melanie Raabe’s The Trap (2016) and Anja Reich-Osang’s The Scholl Case (forthcoming). One of these days, I’d like to translate a book where no one gets murdered. Peter Kurzeck is still at the top of my list.
For the ETP, I translated the opening of a story by Hinrich von Haaren, from his collection Die Überlebten (‘The Outlived’). It was about a group of quite awful people on a Nile cruise, and had a seam of black humour running through it that I really loved. Later, Hinrich saw the text on the NBG website and asked me to translate an extract from his novel, Brandhagen, for a reading in London. I’ve since translated a range of non-fiction books, a novel and some poems for children.
I qualified as a secondary school teacher a few years ago and have worked part-time in schools since. In fact, I was very close to going full-time when an email arrived in my junk folder asking if I would like to translate a German detective novel. At the time it felt like it had arrived out of the blue. In fact, the publisher had emailed NBG in search of translators, and my name came up as a direct result of my involvement with ETP three years previously. Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher was published in May of this year, and I am currently working on the second book in the series. I still teach three days a week. I think there is something magical about converting a body of text into a completely new form. It’s almost a kind of alchemy.
After the ETP I joined the Emerging Translators Network, which was how I found out about the German Book Office Non-Fiction Translation Competition. Winning that competition has led to contacts within the publishing industry, sample translations for publishers, authors and literary agents, and a translation slam at the Goethe-Institut in London. I have also translated my first book, Crossing the Sea by Wolfgang Bauer (And Other Stories), a non-fiction book on the refugee crisis.
In 2014, while studying for an MA in Literary Translation at UEA, I began a six-month internship with New Books in German, and I later won a place on the Emerging Translators Programme. The internship was a fantastic accompaniment to my MA course, and taking part in the ETP was a huge confidence boost, with extremely useful editorial guidance. I am now working on a co-translation of Nagars Nacht by Astrid Dehe and Achim Engstler, which is a book I fell in love with during my internship with NBG.
As a German in London, the internship with NBG was a great opportunity for me to keep in touch with the German book market. At one of the editorial meetings I met Tanja Howarth, a literary agent who specialises in selling German-language rights to the English market, and she offered me another internship, which I gladly took. NBG therefore provided essential experience for my future career not only during the internship but also afterwards. I now work for a digital publisher in London where I set up their German division.
The internship gave me a fascinating insight into the publishing industry - particularly the meeting where titles were selected for inclusion in NBG. The editorial team had a really good sense of what might work in the English-language market: they knew which books would be likely to appeal to publishers and readers in translation, and which titles would serve to fill gaps in the market. As a translator thinking about books to pitch to publishers, it was really useful to observe that process.
I really enjoyed my placement at NBG. I particularly liked the insight it gave me into the current German book market; the process of selecting what would make it into the magazine was highly interesting. At the moment I am doing a PhD, but since the placement I can definitely imagine a career in publishing.
The internship gave me an invaluable insight into literary translation and helped me to develop my research, proofreading and writing skills. Between the two issues, I moved to Berlin and interned with a collective of native-speaker translators, before joining them as a freelance translator and editor. I will be starting a PGCE course in MFL in Manchester this September.
Towards the end of my first internship in publishing at Granta and Portobello Books, I was made aware of the internships offered by NBG, which sounded like the perfect next step for me. Alongside gaining experience in the organisational side of putting together the issue, I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with EJ van Lanen and participating in some very insightful and lively editorial meetings. The experience I gained at NBG was certainly a great stepping stone towards my current job as a picture researcher at akg-images. We work closely with publishers and one of my main responsibilities is to search the archive for artworks and photographs to be featured on the covers of books, or as inside illustrations.
I think I can legitimately declare myself the biggest success of the NBG internship programme so far: it was surreal to be offered the acting editorship on finishing my internship, which I did while press and public relations coordinator at the Goethe-Institut. I’ve been acting editor for two of the last three years, the first while still at the GI, and this year while translator-in-residence at the Austrian Cultural Forum and undertaking my third book-length translation, among other things. It’s fair to say that editing the magazine has changed my life in more ways than I have space to state and I wouldn’t have been able to prove myself ready to undertake the job had I not done the internship.
The Emerging Translators Programme 2017 will be open for entries in December 2016. Please check our website for more details. Internships are offered twice yearly and we would love to hear from you if you would like to be considered
for an internship.