Selection of translated titles:
- Sigmund Freud / Anna Freud: Correspondence (Briefwechsel) 1904-1938. Polity Press, 2013
- Hans-Joachim Neumann / Henrik Eberle: Was Hitler Ill? (War Hitler krank?). Polity Press, 2013
- Uta Gerhardt / Thomas Karlauf (eds.): The Night of Broken Glass - Eyewitness Accounts of Kristallnacht (Nie mehr zurück in dieses Land. Augenzeugen berichten über die Novemberpogrome 1938). Polity Press, 2012
- Doron Rabinovici: Eichmann's Jews - The Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna 1938-1945 (Instanzen der Ohnmacht. Wien 1938-1945. Der Weg zum Judenrat). Polity Press, 2011
Three questions to Nick Somers:
Why did you choose to become a translator? Is it the profession you always wanted?
Like many translators on this site, I came to translation fortuitously. My father was a German teacher, so I might have inherited a feeling for languages from him – in my schooldays at least. I also went to a traditional school where we had compulsory Latin and an old-fashioned approach to the English language, with much emphasis on grammar and style. I didn’t see the point at the time, but it has been worth its weight in gold in my chosen profession. Anyway, while working as an English teacher in Wiesbaden, I had the opportunity to do a few translations. That took me to a translation agency in the Bavarian hinterland for six years, where you could say I learned my trade. That laid the foundation, and it evolved from there. I have to say that even after more than thirty years in the job I am still absolutely passionate about what I do. Translation is really “the more you know, the more you don’t know.” Not original, I admit, but humbling and always exhilarating.
Most of the German I read is work-related. And as history is my speciality and as I am fascinated by the history of Vienna over the last 150 years, you’ll find someone like Brigitte Hamann on my bookshelf. Apart from that, I read very little in German, sadly, quite simply because there is so much literature in English that I haven’t read, and I tend to give that priority. Two short books that come to mind are Eine blassblaue Frauenschrift by Franz Werfel and Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
After having enjoyed and invested so much into the Sigmund/Anna Freud correspondence, I would absolutely love to translate the “Brautbriefe”, the correspondence between Freud and his (future) wife. As far as I know, two (of a planned five) volumes have been published to date in German. Having been in Vienna for over twenty years and living practically within walking distance of Freud’s apartment, I really feel a connection with this whole period.