Thursday, 12 June 2008

Adventures in Translatorland

Having slagged off literary DJs in an earlier post, I'm now preparing to try my own hand at the art of making people dance. For it is that time of year when Germany's literary translators get together to brush up their tap-dancing, research coral reefs, polish their participles and drink wine. Yes, it's the VdÜ's annual Wolfenbütteler Gespräch (which is German for having a natter in a picturesque small town).

And aside from all the proper highlights - such as readings, workshops, awards ceremonies, tours, gymnastics, wine - there is a disco. Now if you're not a translator, you may find it difficult to imagine a room full of us grooving the night away to sweet tunes from the sound system. In fact, I am a translator and I too found it difficult to imagine before I saw it with my own eyes. But it seems to have become a very popular annual ritual. We all park our zimmer frames on the edge of the dancefloor and shake our tailfeathers in the delightful surroundings of Wolfenbüttel's premier nightspot. There have been unconfirmed observations of flirtatious activities as the evening grows older, but that rumour about the Wolfenbüttel love-child resulting from an orgy in the lades lav in 2004 is entirely made up.

Anyway, I allowed myself to be pressganged into playing the selecta for the night, along with my revered colleague Mr Steph Morris (BSc, MA, LLB, DipDJ, order of the royal garter). I will be encouraging him to wear the trousers in the photo for the occasion. We get free drinks all night for our trouble, plus a gold-engraved first edition of Feuchtgebiete. Each.

But seriously, if you are a translator from German* and looking for an opportunity to practice your German and take part in workshops, readings, awards ceremonies, gymnastics, wine drinking, etc., you might consider booking in - obviously not until next year though. The weekend is very cheap, with low prices for accommodation and a good few meals included in the fee. Plus you'll meet all sorts of exciting colleagues and get to put your back out on the dance floor. What more could you ask?

*It's actually aimed at translators into German, seeing as that's who makes up the main body of the organisation, but there are always a few of us "other-way-arounders" there too. Heh heh.

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