Übers Übersetzen

„I know Sam (Raimi) has to pull out all the stops when he’s working on a picture and disregard everything else. Any crew member you talk to will say that shooting a picture is what they really love, but that it drags every ounce out of them. When they’re not making pictures they’re usually crawling the walls. It’s a love-hate thing. I learned from Sam that putting the effort into it means you get it back. You have the picture. That’s your little gift. Every time the film is shown you can go: ‚Thank goodness I didn’t wimp out of doing this or that …‘ Bruce Campbell said that in an interview many years ago (SAMHAIN #3, May/June 1987) and, still in the business, says much the same when asked today, and though he’s talking about filmmaking I’ve often thought of his words when slaving away at some tome or other, racking my brain for exactly the right word/term/expression/phrase (and back in the age of typewriters dreading to find it, because enlightenment usually happened when the job was almost finished and it meant going back through several hundred already typed pages looking for that drat word, smearing around with correction fluid, having trouble to insert it into the text if it was longer than the rejected one). There have been weeks of bleak despair, months of living in a nightmare, getting more and more estranged from loved ones, from reality itself. And I was not even writing that book, just translating it, but more often than not you have to start research from scratch, especially when it’s a good story and the author put a lot of effort into creating it. Thank god I’ve been spared real stinkers, though some were pretty tough in terms of dullness. As a reader one probably never realizes how many passages are skipped by eye and brain – translating a text you have to read and work it all, even if it’s just dry stuffing. You don’t want to have to face, when finally presented with the printed German edition of the book in question, all the bleak spots in the text where you know you’ve „whimped out of doing this or that“, i. e. took the easiest road, shirked the need of putting in some extra effort.

But no matter how hard it may have been – a treadmill, solitary confinement, a wrestle with untranslatable metaphors, puns, anecdotes and the eternal dilemma of walking the tightrope between violation of a text and justifiable changes – not very long after the bundle has been sent off by snail-mail and as e-mail attachment you begin – crawling the walls.

It’s a love-hate thing …