Katy Derbyshire

Copyright: Katy Derbyshire
Copyright: Katy Derbyshire
Katy Derbyshire was born in London in 1973. After studying German at Birmingham University, she continued her education at the University of London and attained a Diploma in Translation there in 2001. In 1996 she moved to Berlin where she worked in various jobs including teaching English to children, until taking maternity leave in 2001. Since 2002 she has worked as a freelance translator of German into English and in 2008 she founded a blog called love german books.

Selection of translated titles:
  • Tilmann Ramstedt: The King of China (Der Kaiser von China). Seagull Books (forthcoming)
  • Yangzom Brauen: (Eisenvogel). Harvill Secker / St. Martin's Press (forthcoming)
  • Inka Parei: What Darkness Was (Was Dunkelheit war). Seagull Books, 2013
  • Inka Parei: The Shadowboxing Girl (Die Schattenboxerin). Seagull Books, 2011
  • Helene Hegemann: Axolotl Roadkill. Constable & Robinson, 2011
  • Beate Teresa Hanika: Learning to Scream (Rotkäppchen muss weinen). Andersen Press, 2010
  • Co-editor and translator: Berlin-City-Lit. Oxygen Books, 2009
  • Volkhard Bode, Gerhard Kaiser: Building Hitler's Missiles (Raketenspuren). Ch. Links Verlag, 2008
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl: Portraits. Aufbau-Verlag, 2006

Three questions to Katy Derbyshire:

Why did you chose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
I studied German literature and it's a marvellous way to bring readers and books together. Initially it was a pragmatic choice - I'm based in Berlin and there isn't much you can do with a British degree here. But as I got more interesting clients and jobs and started branching out into literary translation, I began really enjoying the challenge.

Which German book do you like the best and why?
It's hard to choose a single one, but at a pinch I'd have to say it's Selim Özdogan's Die Tochter des Schmieds. It's a simple story of a family in rural Turkey, in which the daughter moves to Germany as a "guest worker" at the end. It's beautifully written, full of affection and very inspiring, and it carefully evades many of the stereotypes people have about Turkish women. The writer and I have become friends and I've translated some of his work for catalogues, online projects, etc.

Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
It would have to be the one above.

Related links

British Centre for Literary Translation

Britain’s leading centre for the development, promotion and support of literary translation.

Emerging Translators' Network

The Emerging Translators' Network is a forum and support network for early-career literary translators working primarily into English.

German Translators' Workshop

6.30pm, first Thursday of the month, Goethe-Institut, 50 Prince's Gate, London.

Opportunities for Translators

Click here to view a database of programmes, prizes, scholarships and residencies for translators of German.