Takeaways from Translator Made Corporeal

This photo is what got me to theTranslator Made Corporeal event at the British Library in the first place. It was taken at the London Book Fair by photographer Julia Schoenstaedt as part of a portrait series revealing the rarely-seen faces behind literary translation. The project set the tone for the event, which aimed to investigate the "human, flesh-and-blood translator in a historical and cultural context." As keynote speaker Jeremy Munday put it, a translator leaves a "linguistic footprint" that is inherently biased toward his or her world view. Their notes scribbled in page margins and correspondence with editors allow us to "taste and smell the literary creation process".

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Urology under the Swastika

Did you know that hormonal treatments for certain andrological conditions were available in Nazi Germany, or that long before Viagra, erectile dysfunction was treated with something called 'Testifortan'? Neither did I until I translated "The Suppression of Sexual Science: effects on the professional development of andrology and sexual medicine" by Dirk Schultheiss from German for the European Association of Urology. My translation has been published in Urology under the Swastika... 

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About me

Originally from Charleston, SC, USA, I earned my Master’s in Language Science and Communication with a specialization in Literary Translation from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. I now live in The Hague, The Netherlands, where I work as a freelance translator, editor and writer. Most of my translation and editing work is literary and academic, but I also accept commercial projects that pique my interest. My clients include literary and academic publishers, NGOs, cultural institutions, museums, marketing & communication companies, and architecture and design firms. I’m always up for something new. Send me a message to get in touch. Kristen Gehrman Language Services is a sole proprietorship registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK registration number: 64079481).Contact:(+31) 0642029868 

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Translating The Chronicles

"Language is my way of getting a grip on things, of maintaining control in certain situations. Your body is bombarded with zillions of sensory impressions, and by giving them a name, you make them one-dimensional again, manageable," wrote best-selling Belgian author Lize Spit in her second blog post for The Chronicles. Actually, this is my translation of what she wrote. What she wrote was this...  

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Reflections: Drongo Talenfestival 2016

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Drongo Talenfestival in Utrecht. I thought to myself, well, tickets are only €10, I'll go have a look around. But I must say that it was much more than I expected! For a festival broadly focused on the many facets of the language industry in The Netherlands (an industry that can sometimes feel overly commercialized), I was really impressed by how informative and thought-provoking it was.

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French words from a past life

What I love most about French is the loose precision of its words. How a single word can refer to something so specific, yet conjure up so many other memories. To the English tongue, a French word can sound so vaguely familiar, as if you could have known it in a past life, but lost it somewhere down the line. In translation, you meet again. In his letters from exile, Victor Hugo wrote, "In the French language, there is a great gulf between prose and poetry; in English, there is hardly any difference...

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Tolk- en Vertaalcongres 2016: Hilversum

At one point, a translator took the mic and encouraged the audience not to think of each other as competition, but rather as colleagues - that we are all in this together. I really took this to heart. Not only do I find friends in the people who love languages as much as I do, but I find that I can lean on them for support. We can pass each other projects, share insight, discuss "untranslateables" and roll our eyes at all the nonsense that is bouncing around out there in the translation world.

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Bookish Places in Amsterdam

Back in 2010, before I knew anybody who lived in Amsterdam, I came here with my friend Michelle. She was on exchange at the University of Groningen and I was studying in Switzerland. It was an icy January, much icier than any winter the city has seen since. We skated across ice patches in the Vondel Park and wandered from shop to shop to get out the cold. Michelle was on a mission to visit Boekie Woekie, a Nine Streets book store specializing in one-of-a-kind books and zines made by artists. At the time, I was still printing editions of my first zine, Premature in Theory, and the store agreed to sell it...

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Notes from International Translation Day 2015 at The British Library

Oh what a day Friday was! What a day. I hopped a 45 minute flight across the Channel from Amsterdam for the annual International Translation Day conference at The British Library hosted by FreeWord, English Pen and my new favorite online circle, the Emerging Translator's Network.  All about translating literature, the conference brought together a small crowd of literary translators, booksellers, publishers, editors and writers to talk frankly about translating books: what it means, how it happens and why it matters. I can only comment on the panels that I was able to attend, so any feedback from the other ones would be greatly appreciated in the comments!

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