Katharina Rout

Copyright: Katharina Rout
Copyright: Katharina Rout
Katharina Rout was born near Kassel and studied German and English in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, where she earned her PhD with a dissertation on silence in Middle High German love poetry. She started to translate literature as a result of moving to Canada and accepting a teaching position in an English Department. Today she lives in Errington and teaches English, Literature in Translation, and Transnational Literature at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Selection of translated titles:

  • Galsan Tschinag: The White Mountain (Der weiße Berg). Milkweed Editions, (in preparation)
  • Galsan Tschinag: The Gray Earth (Die graue Erde). Minneapolis, Minn. : Milkweed Ed., 2010
  • Galsan Tschinag: The Blue Sky (Der Blaue Himmel). Minneapolis, Minn. : Milkweed Ed. and Lantzville: Oolichan Books, 2006
  • Ulla Berkéwicz: Love in a Time of Terror (Ich weiß, daß du weißt). Oolichan Books, 2005
  • Marlene Streeruwitz: Seductions (Verführung). Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada : Oolichan Books, 1998

Three questions to Katharina Rout:

Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
Initially I hoped to help German readers discover some of the Canadian authors that were unknown in Germany at the time. But when Ron Smith of Oolichan Books asked me if I would like to translate German literature into English for his Canadian publishing house, I gratefully seized the opportunity to translate some of my favourite German authors for an English-speaking audience.

Which German book do you like the best and why?
I discovered the world of literature through Kafka and Brecht; later came across Kleist, Büchner, Musil and Thomas Bernhard; and then took great pleasure in reading Gottfried von Straßburg and Heinrich Morungen. Currently, I am fascinated by transnational, multilingual authors, by so-called bridge-builders such as Galsan Tschinag, who translates stories from his mostly oral Tuvan culture in Mongolia into written German. I am especially interested in Herta Müller, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, W.G. Sebald and Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt because their writing is a reflection on the process of self-translation and the status of minorities.

Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
Thanks to my academic work I can luckily afford to translate only texts that have particularly impressed me. My translations of Streeruwitz, Berkéwicz, and Tschinag are all translations of books I fell in love with. I hope to continue translating Tschinag’s works and would love to translate some of Andreas Maier’s writing. I suppose here my old passion for Thomas Bernhard and my childhood in Hesse are getting the better of me!


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