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Off topic: German "Potter" fans to translate "Deathly Hallows" in 48 hours
Thread poster: Andrew Levine

Andrew Levine  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:47
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 21, 2007

Here's something interesting stumbled across in "Le Monde":

Quarante-huit heures pour traduire "Harry Potter"

For non-French-readers, the gist is that an online group of German-speaking Harry Potter fans can't wait for the translation of the last book in the series to come out in October, so they're organizing a "Blitzübersetzung" (lightning translation) project to create a German version of the 600-page book within 48 hours of its English release (today).

They even have it set up somewhat professionally, with a "project leader" for each chapter who sends out three-page chunks of text to people who have volunteered well in advance, then edit and proofread them and standardize the vocabulary used. And (presumably for copyright reasons) the final project will only be made available to the volunteers who worked on the translation.

The article also hints that this isn't the first time they've done it, either.

I guess you have to admire their passion, although the fact that the completed "home-brew" translation will only be sent out to people who worked on the translation, i.e. people who can read English, makes the whole affair seem a little odd.


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Tatiana Pelipeiko  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:47
French to Russian
+ ...
Well, they will certanly show it to friends... Jul 21, 2007

I've seen such "amateur" translations into Russian. Of course, it's not professional and not even serious. Even a group of professionals would never produce anything readable in that way - the style would be too different.

But I suppose they will enjoy it, so...))


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
English to German
+ ...
Of course they do not tell the whole truth Jul 21, 2007

otherwise the whole project would make no sense.

First of all what they do is illegal for copyright reasons, since no part of the book may be "reproduced or transmitted" without prior written consent of the publisher. (I have it here, so I can tell that's what the copyright says ) But they copy it and send it to volunteers, who wish to translate it. Did they say, they are authorized to do this? I bet not.

Then there is this "group of German-speaking Harry Potter fans [who] can't wait for the translation of the last book in the series" who organize this. They do the copying and the sending and then - and this is the important part - they all do the "proofreading". This is where the audience comes in. The people who can read English are the volunteer translators. The people who do the "proofreading" are the group who does not understand English. So they just have an army of "proofreaders" who check the translation, look for consistent vocabulary (what about style?). They thus "proof"read the whole book.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:47
Flemish to English
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Kammer des Schreckens? Jul 21, 2007

I am no H.P.fan and do not participate in the hype. But I wonder if the translation "Kammer des Schreckens" used by this group as a translation for "the Chamber of Secrets" is correct?
For those who don't know German: "schrecken" has the connotation: "to draw back (in fear), "to make a person afraid, to terrorise.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 05:47
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
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Not bad, I would guess. Jul 21, 2007

Williamson wrote:

I am no H.P.fan and do not participate in the hype. But I wonder if the translation "Kammer des Schreckens" used by this group as a translation for "the Chamber of Secrets" is correct?
For those who don't know German: "schrecken" has the connotation: "to draw back (in fear), "to make a person afraid, to terrorise.


I don't know German! But my guess is that the translation is not bad. The "secrets" of the Chamber of Secrets are pretty terrifying, at least from Harry's point of view.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:47
English to Dutch
+ ...
@ Williamson: Schrecken - not my choice Jul 21, 2007

Even Babelfish disagrees....

'Geheimnisse' would be better, I think. After all, you may suspect, but cannot be sure about the nature of the secrets until you've read the book...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Illegal, yes, but... Jul 21, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:
First of all what they do is illegal for copyright reasons, since no part of the book may be "reproduced or transmitted" without prior written consent of the publisher.


True, but what does German copyright law say?

I know ZA copyright law says that if the pirated work is not sold, then it is a civil case and not a criminal case. In ZA, such a thing would mean the publishers of HP would sue the poor individual doing the copying. Now imagine that individual being unemployed with very few assets...

This sort of thing has a name, by the way. It's called fansubbing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fansub


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Really illegal? Jul 21, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:
First of all what they do is illegal for copyright reasons, since no part of the book may be "reproduced or transmitted" without prior written consent of the publisher.


It would be great if someone who knows German could report to us on what their reasons is for claiming not copyright infringement:

http://www.harry-auf-deutsch.de/HaD/mitmachen.php

In ZA, for example, it is not illegal to make a personal translation of anything. You simply can't publish it without the original author's permission. I'm not sure if distribution is considered publishing, though.

It also appear from their web site that copies of the translated book will only be shared with contributors. This may also be something which makes the project sufficiently private, not public.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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According to the French article Jul 22, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

In ZA, for example, it is not illegal to make a personal translation of anything. You simply can't publish it without the original author's permission. I'm not sure if distribution is considered publishing, though.

It also appear from their web site that copies of the translated book will only be shared with contributors. This may also be something which makes the project sufficiently private, not public.


"Ce fonctionnement "privé" semble satisfaire l'éditeur allemand de Harry Potter, qui avait tiqué en 2005 en découvrant le projet."

After initial qualms (in 2005), the German publisher seems satisfied with this arrangement. (Dunno about JK Rowling...)

[Edited at 2007-07-22 12:16]


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dobby0
Local time: 11:47
English to German
comment Jul 23, 2007

Hi,

just to clarify one point in the discussion: in this translation project, the english text has not been sent out to the translators. Rather the translators have bought the book each. Hence there is absolutely no issue of copying the book or parts of it illegally.

This "blitz translation" has been a lot of fun for everyone as far as I can tell. This is actually what it has been all about: fun. Naturally this is not a professional translation. It does not attempt to be one and it does not compete with any.

dobby

[Edited at 2007-07-23 03:44]


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claudia1412
English
Jul 23, 2007

Hi there,

I want to say sorry first because my English isn´t as good as it is from your professionals and it took me some time to think about it before I got registered and wrote this here.

First of all, @The other Claudia
You are a native german speaker, therefore it would have been nice if you would have looked for the right infos before you wrote this rubbish.

We don´t copy the book, noone gets or got pages scaned or copied in fact noone was alloud to participate if they don´t have the book.
I know because I was quite worried if I would recieve my book on time otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to participate and so were others.

Nothing is sent to volunteers. You can speak German so please check it. If people ask to get pages or things sent, they will not receive them. If they ask to receive a copy of the translation, they won´t receive and get expelled if they try to get it because this is the thing!!!
Only the people taking part on the final translation can and will receive the translation he/she was taking part in.
It is copyproof with many things, like moneynotes (watersigns - is this the right word,...) and they can always recognise whose translation it is, if they would find a copy of it on the internet.
That is why we can do it and the copyright is okay.

Claudia, you didn´t get any information before you wrote this, did you? The group that is doing the copying *haha* is doing the proofreading - oh my god, you don´t believe it yourself, do you??? Thats a pile of rubbish.
All of them were doing translations as well and you don´t believe that you can do all that *proofreading* in that short time...

I was taking part of the translation. The guy who did the *proofreading* of my pages, did some translation as well... he translated 3 pagesl...
You can´t do that if you don´t speak any english...
Or sorry I might be too naive, this must have been a trick, because we volunteers are that stupid.
I missed out a deadline otherwise I would have been a proofreader as well, I would have loved to.... and as you can see my English is non-existent.

If you would have taken part, maybe you wish you had and just have missed out the dates, you would now by now that our Blitz-Translation has style and that we did it for fun.
Most of us stayed up until 1 o´clock in the morning just to see that all was done, that the translation was finished and we can go and get our own personalised copy of the translation.

Guess what? I got mine here, but I won´t read it now, because I´ll take part in the normal translation as well, and if I would read the translation of the pages I have to translate there, my translation wouldn´t be mine any more.

By time when the german book is published I´ll get a book there as well because I want to see the original, the translation we made and the book, that was published in Germany.

I got all english and german books from HP and I read all of them and that is what most of us do.

Best regards
Claudia

[Edited at 2007-07-23 15:45]


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xxxwinman
Local time: 11:47
English to German
To clarify a few things... Jul 23, 2007

Hello,

i would have never expected that we're even mentioned in international sites.

We did not (yet) translate 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets', '... und die Kammer des Schreckens' ist just the title that is used by the german publisher. If you'd translate 'Kammer des Schreckens' it'd mean something like 'Chamber of Horrors'. We call these incorrect translations Gurken (direct translation: gherkins), we collected quite a few of them: http://www.harry-auf-deutsch.de/HaD/gurken.php?garten=carlsen&search=%

In the past we had a few problems with lawyers from Carlsen (the german publisher), but we agreed then on giving the translation only to the people that have helped creating it. The translators are only permitted to join the translation if they've bought an original copy of the book.

As dobby0 said, the quick translation (we called it bolt- or flash-translation), was just for fun - but I think we performed quite well. The longer translation goes over several weeks and will be more professional. It was organised that way:
Everybody was assigned one or more pages of the book that he was to translate until Sunday morning and to send them to a person which was responsible for the pages of one whole chapter (Chapter-Mugwump). That person corrected errors adapted the phrasing. Then the chapters were sent to the Leader (Supreme-Mugwump), which assembled them.

I think it's a great project and a great community.

Regards,
winman

PS: I hope there are not too many errors in my text.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Cucumbers Jul 23, 2007

winman wrote:
We call these incorrect translations Gurken (direct translation: gherkins), we collected quite a few of them...


My faith in Altavista's Babelfish is now restored. So there really are cucumbers on the web site!


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dobby0
Local time: 11:47
English to German
cheer up if you please Jul 23, 2007

Now, this is a translators' forum and it comes naturally to some to ridicule an amateurs' endeavour like the one we are talking about here.

So, please, everyone have a good laugh who wants it.

But then please do not stick to the issue of copyright infringement. And perhaps some of you folks can appreciate that there are people out there who enjoy language as much as you do only that they have other main challenges in their life.

I for one got into this projecct as a father and a lover of kids' books. And naturally I have bought the official German version on earlier occasions when it came out 3 months after the English one.

In the project, I just loved the challenge to translate when you do not know the story before your assigned page and after. You have to try to keep the same ambiguity in some of the phrases, the same options of meaning, the same connotations. Not that I am pretending to have been successful in each instance. But the experience lets you think what language is about, and lets you appreciate its potential power and weaknesses.

Oh, and actually Babelfish translations were explicitely excluded in the project just in case you doubted.

Cheers! dobby

[Edited at 2007-07-23 19:45]


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
English to German
+ ...
You are completely right, Claudia Jul 23, 2007

claudia1412 wrote:

First of all, @The other Claudia
You are a native german speaker, therefore it would have been nice if you would have looked for the right infos before you wrote this rubbish.


I indeed trusted only in the information given here and checked only the source given here, but since it was in French I was not able to verify the infos given here.


Nothing is sent to volunteers. You can speak German so please check it.

I can indeed even read and write a little German, but if you really wish me to check on something it would be very nice if you could also tell what to check where.


Only the people taking part on the final translation can and will receive the translation he/she was taking part in.
It is copyproof with many things, like moneynotes (watersigns - is this the right word,...) and they can always recognise whose translation it is, if they would find a copy of it on the internet.
That is why we can do it and the copyright is okay.

It is good you have thought of that. One can for sure still remove these marks but it is a good idea.


The group that is doing the copying *haha* is doing the proofreading - oh my god, you don´t believe it yourself, do you??? Thats a pile of rubbish. All of them were doing translations as well and you don´t believe that you can do all that *proofreading* in that short time...


Yes I believed what I wrote, otherwise I would not have written it. But it is nice that you clarify here, how it works. Though I would have expected a somewhat more relaxed tone, if the translation was so much fun.


Or sorry I might be too naive, this must have been a trick, because we volunteers are that stupid.
I missed out a deadline otherwise I would have been a proofreader as well, I would have loved to.... and as you can see my English is non-existent.

If that is how you feel about it.


I got all english and german books from HP and I read all of them and that is what most of us do.


Nice to hear. So now that you showed me, relax and have all the fun in the world with your translation!


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