copyright: Norman Roesch
Alexandra Roesch grew up in England in a bilingual household with a German mother and an English father. She studied Business and Languages in London, Paris and Madrid and went on to work in the City for several years. She later moved to Frankfurt with her husband and raised three children. In 2013, she took part in New Books in German’s Emerging Translators’ Programme and in the BCLT’s Summer School Advanced German Programme. She completed an MA in Translation (Dist) at the University of Bristol in 2014 and in 2017 attended the summer academy for international translators held by the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB). In 2018 she was long-listed for the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translation Prize for her translation of Merle Kröger’s novel ‘Collision' (Havarie).
Three questions to Alexandra Roesch
Although I really enjoyed translating from various languages at school and have always been an avid reader, I didn’t consider a career in translation until after having my children. I took part in the NBG Emerging Translators’ Programme in 2013 and that got me hooked. I enrolled in the MA in Translation at Bristol and became what German’s call a ‘Quereinsteiger’. I started building up a client base amongst German and UK publishers, specialising in putting together samples and book reports. I love the variety of texts I get to work on and immersing myself in the research that comes with the job.
During my MA programme, I worked on two of my favourite German books: Die Blechtrommel by Günter Grass and Die Ermordung einer Butterblume by Alfred Döblin. I wrote an essay on Die Blechtrommel, analysing the two translations that exist by Ralph Manheim (1961) and Breon Mitchell (2009), and translated some of Döblin’s extraordinary short stories from the Butterblume collection, which was a challenging but fascinating experience.
I am very open to translating different genres. Unfortunately most of the contemporary German authors that I particularly like have already been translated – Robert Seethaler, Juli Zeh or Benedict Wells, just to name a few.