Selection of translated titles:
- Ignaz Bing: Tales From My Life (Aus meinem Leben). Self-published, 2013
- Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me (Amon: Mein Grossvater hätte mich erschossen.). The Experiment, 2015 (UK edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 2015)
Three questions to Carolin Sommer:
Why did you choose to become a translator?
I never set out to become a translator and chose a translation degree course almost by accident. Nonetheless, I found myself in London in my first job translating computer manuals. Terribly boring. I moved on as quickly as I could. More than ten years later, after a career in IT and a few years of being a full-time mother, I wanted to return to work: preferably working from home, during school hours, using the skills I have, doing something I love…. Translating was the obvious choice, and I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to translate Ignaz Bing’s memoirs into English. It confirmed my passion for the job, I couldn’t wait to get to work in the mornings. The idea of taking someone’s creative work, especially one that moved me deeply, and making it available to a readership who would not be able to access that work without my intervention was awe-inspiring and humbling at the same time. It made me realise how much trust is placed in the translator, and I felt proud to honour that trust to the best of my ability. Being a translator is a huge responsibility, and a great privilege.
Which German book do you like the best and why?
As a child I adored everything by Erich Kästner, and I still think his books are terribly clever. I loved Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen Nichts Neues for its brutal honesty and sharp observations. More recently I enjoyed Marlen Haushofer’s Die Wand and (much more recently) Marc Elsberg’s topical Blackout.
Is there a particular book you would like to translate?
There are quite a few books on the market today that I would love to translate, and I cannot imagine translating a book that I didn’t feel absolutely passionate about. I tend to focus on non-fiction, but I would quite enjoy the challenge of translating Elsberg’s Blackout, although it would be a mammoth task.