Selection of translated titles:
- Thomas Mann: The Tables of the Law (Das Gesetz). Philadelphia, Pa. : Paul Dry Books, 2010 (with Marion Faber)
- Stefan Klein: The Science of Happiness (Die Glücksformel). New York : Marlowe & Company, 2006
- Stephan Wackwitz: An Invisible Country (Ein unsichtbares Land). Philadelphia : Paul Dry Books, 2005
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches). Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 1984 (with Marion Faber)
Three questions to Stephen Lehmann:
Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
I fell into it. In the early 1980s I was asked by the then-editor of University of Nebraska Press - the remarkable Willis Regier - whether I'd be interested in translating Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human, which had last been translated in the early years of twentieth century. By nature and professional training, I am happiest working collaboratively, and I suggested the project to Marion Faber, a professor of German at Swarthmore College and already an experienced translator. As Nietzsche was in the public domain, the publisher could afford to give us generous terms - the book was published over thirty years ago, and we still get regular royalty checks. None of this work-for-hire business. The books I've worked on have all been intensely collaborative - not only with Marion Faber, with whom I've continued to work, but with the authors - those who are alive! - and the publishers.
Which German book do you like the best and why?
Victor Klemperer's Diaries, 1933-1945, for their intelligence, irony, honesty and unique historical value.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
Whenever I find myself really enjoying a German book, I imagine translating it, asking myself how I would render this word, that phrase, etc. I've just started Albert Vigoleis's Die Insel des zweiten Gesichts and keep wondering how I would manage its playful, idiosyncratic prose. But I see that Donald White has beaten me to it. Thank goodness.