It is always challenging to find the right tone in emotional dialogue, to be able to give different characters their own voice (rather than your own) – I tried to channel the voices of our German carers and of course my loved ones.”
Dr Andrea Hacker is an editor, translator and open science professional and lives in Switzerland where she works at the University of Bern. Andrea has previously lived and worked in the US, Russia, Ireland and Germany. She was mentored in literary translation during her graduate studies at UCLA by Michael Henry Heim.
She translated Parables of Care into German. I asked Andrea some questions related to Parables of Care.
How did you come across Parables of Care?
I think on Twitter (by you, actually) after I tweeted about the heartbreak of watching a loved one succumb to the illness and my ineptness of dealing with it.
What were your first impresisons of the comic?
I loved it. It offers such kind and simple ways of defusing situations that can occur at any moment with a loved one suffering from this dreadful disease. The closer you are to a person, the more difficult it becomes to accept, understand and appropriately react to the change in behaviour and character that can occur. This little book showed me that there are gentle, simple ways of adjusting. It gave me hope.
How did the idea of translating Parables of Care into German came about?
Due to my family background, I live a bi-lingual life, German and English. We are grappling with dementia in our German-speaking branch of the family.
When I read it, I wanted to share Parables of Care not only with them and the wonderful carers that help us but with a wider German-speaking audience: Alzheimer, dementia – these affect hundreds of thousands of families in the world regardless of language. Widely sharing our experiences of what works will give everyone a chance to make the best of the affliction – patients and families alike.
For the translation, what did you have to take into account; what was the most challenging?
The translation was relatively straight forward – there is not much culturally specific content in the stories, the images or the text that requires adjustment or explanation.
It is always challenging to find the right tone in emotional dialogue, to be able to give different characters their own voice (rather than your own) – I tried to channel the voices of our German carers and of course my loved ones.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes: please create more, translate more, share more. When dementia entered our family we were utterly unprepared for it. Members of our family and the community where my family lives met the diagnosis with disbelief, pity, shame, fear, helplessness, or plain old prejudice.
It is hard enough to find a way of dealing with this illness; fighting against ignorance – which much of the reactions are based on – should not have to be added to the lot. We need to fix that. If you got more to translate, count me in!
Download Parabeln der Pflege. Kreative Reaktionen in der Demenzpflege, von Pflegenden erzählt [Parables of Care German version] from City Research Online, City, University of London: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/21252/
Download Parables of Care (original English version) from City Research Online, City, University of London: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/18245/
German translation media release: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/parablesofcare/2019/01/24/parabeln-der-flege-parables-of-care-german-translation-release/