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I learned the English and German languages within months of each other as a child. I have attended schools using either language. My father taught English literature and drama at Columbia and Yale, my mother was a native German speaker. I spoke mostly English with my father, and mostly German with my mother.
After three years during which I had to care for a member of my family who was seriously ill, I have resumed my professional activity as a truly bilingual translator specialising in legal and commercial texts. I can look back on a career that began in 1972 when I worked for Austroplan, a consultancy firm in Vienna, as a translator (technical and legal documents) and interpreter (training, technical conferences).
I have continued to expand my knowledge since then. I would estimate that I have translated some 20 million words from German into English and vice versa. As a court interpreter/translator, much of my work involves legal terminology in the broadest sense, but I have also translated extensively in the fields of medicine, finance, chess, and journalism.
May I say that I am a thinking translator? I have a wide range of interests and experience and have retained the intellectual curiosity that has been my companion since my childhood.
I take my work very seriously; I make it a principle to reproduce the intention of the writer of the source text even if the text might suggest otherwise. I ask questions: I strive for that ever-elusive goal of perfection.
And I agree with George Steiner: "There are affinities of privation, though grimly different in degree, between the monoglot and the mute."
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