Presentation by the deputy director of the Collegium Bohemicum


The four-day TransStar-workshop in Ústí nad Labem in September started with a presentation by the deputy director of the Collegium Bohemicum. Milan Rudik gave us a short impression about the work of the organization, which was founded in 2006 and engages in activities concerning the history and culture of the German speaking inhabitants of the Bohemian areas. Currently the Collegium Bohemicum is working on an exhibition about the German culture heritage in the Bohemian areas and aims at presenting this part of European history soon to a broad public.

by Magda Wlostowska


I recognise humor when it passes me


A hotel in Ústì nad Labem. A cosy place on the ninth floor, right in front of the lifts. On the table: half empty beer bottles and a steadily filling ashtray. The Polish-German TransStar-Group is having after-work chats about literature, translations and: humor, which Lukas doesn’t realize when reading texts, as he claims.

Having just said that, the lift passes – and for a brief moment you can see and hear laughing women in it. I recognise humor when it passes me, Lukas goes on with an astonishing timing.

We learn a lot at TransStar, but moments like this turn the meetings into something special.

 by Katharina Kowarczyk, Marlena Breuer


Serhij Zhadan and „Sobaky v kosmosi“


Chairs and lecterns moved aside, guitars and trumpets being tuned – on Saturday evening the translators took a time off from their work and danced to the newest songs by Serhiy Zhadan and his band „Sobaky v kosmosi” (Dogs in Space).

The new album “Fight for her” is mainly dedicated to time-critical topics – with a good dose of humour and a lively musical arrangement. Those who are somehow familiar with Ukraine – the home country of the band – surely recognized its social phenomena and odious figures.

The audience shouted twice for an encore. When even those guests who don’t understand a word in Ukrainian jump and sing along, it is a definite success, isn’t it?


Being Read: Olga Tokarczuk


The award-winning Polish author Olga Tokarczuk presented her novel “Drive your Plough over the Bones of the Dead”, her first foray into the crime fiction genre. The author also spoke on the cooperation between authors and translators. The reading, which took place on the 25th of September 2014 in the House of Literature in Stuttgart was moderated by Alida Bremer, Stefan Heck served as the interpreter and actress Doris Wolters read from the novel (Photos).


Reading with Radka Denemarková

At 26th of September we came to the City Museum of Usti nad Labem to meet the famous Czech writer Radka Denemarková. She spoke about her books and their themes, about translations of her books but also her owns to German. As well we enjoyed the reading in the original Czech and in the translated German languages from one of her most famous books she was even honoured for: Peníze pro Hitlera. An important point was Denemarková’s translation of Herta Müller to Czech language as well as the biographical roman about Czech theater regisseur Petr Lébl who commited suicide. And what would Mrs. Denemarková like to recommend us – young, beginning translators? It became an universal message: On the first place we should enjoy our life.


Performance-Workshop (Akademie für gesprochenes Wort)


On the second day in Stuttgart we had the chance to participate in an extraordinarily useful workshop in public speaking. Cornelia Prauser and Florian Ahlborn taught us how to communicate with an audience, how to lead a discussion and how to perform literature on a stage. Their interactive exercises helped us to significantly improve our skills in public speaking. Finally, in our Sunday morning lecture we had the chance to put their instructions on stage. The performance of our own translations was a huge success.


Being Checked: Judith Hermann: Aller Liebe Anfang [The Beginning of all Love]

Aller Liebe Anfang [The Beginning of all Love] is Judith Hermann’s first novel. Stella and Jason are married, they have one daughter, Ava, and live in a house at the edge of the city. One day a man, a stranger, appears at their door in order to have a talk with Stella, as he claims. The next day the stranger comes again and after that does not leave her alone anymore. Judith Hermann tells the story of a life believed to be safe and sound that suddenly falls apart and of the irrational feeling of being defenseless. She is considered to be a definitive and formative German-language narrator of the Berlin of the 1990s. She is widely reviewed and translated, especially in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In the second part of the evening Judith Hermann will survey the European dimension of her texts together with her translator Yurko Prokhasko, who at the same time is one of the leading intellectuals of Ukraine.


Ukrainian-German Workshop


After two days of workshops with all participants, that were present in Stuttgart, Friday was the first day of intensive work in small groups. Our Ukrainian-German group focused on this day on the translations of Stefan and Costanze.

Stefan’s text provided a good opportunity to talk about rhythm in prose: how it is created in the Ukrainian text and which elements the German language offers to achieve the same effects. This time, Claudia, our workshop leader, had also selected German texts beforehand, where we could find answers.

On the basis of Constanze’s translation we discussed how to translate spoken language and dialogs as well as slang.

by Nina Hawrylow


Searched and Found: Reading in the Foyer of Petra Bewer and Peter Conradi

Striking Things from Slovenian and Ukrainian Contemporary Literature

In the relaxed atmosphere of a private residence in Stuttgart, participants of the EU-funded project TransStar Europe will present excerpts from their literary translations of texts by great authors from the countries they come from. They will read texts of contemporary authors who tell their story in present day Europe. It is a story of identity and homelessness, uprootedness, foreigners and foreign lands, new beginnings and of borders, of the movement of borders and their transgression.


Being played: The Art of Translation An evening with Frank Günther


Shakespeare translator and scholar Frank Günther was a guest of the Translation Cube project in Stuttgart. On 26 September 2014 he gave a “translation performance”, in which he addressed the various problems and pitfalls that a Shakespeare translator encounters and has to deal with. He illustrated his points by referring to different German translations, and showed how certain lines in Shakespeare’s plays were changed in translation.




Translating cube