German-English Translation Blog
Thursday, October 14, 2010 08:05 am

Katharina Franck Transports Us to Rilke’s World

Katharina Franck recently finished work on her latest project, a CD of new music for poetry by
Rilke. The album was done in collaboration with the Club der toten Dichter (Dead Poets Club).
Bandleader Reinhardt Repke composed the music and Katharina did the singing. In the video
below, you can listen to their interpretation of “Zum Einschlafen zu sagen” (“To be said when
going to sleep”) (1900). My office decided to help make Rilke more accessible to non-German
speakers and worked out a new English translation.

“Zum Einschlafen zu sagen”     
Ich möchte jemanden einsingen,
bei jemandem sitzen und sein.
Ich möchte dich wiegen und kleinsingen
und begleiten schlafaus und schlafein.
Ich möchte der Einzige sein im Haus,
der wüsste: die Nacht war kalt.
Und möchte horchen herein und hinaus
in dich, in die Welt, in den Wald.
Die Uhren rufen sich schlagend an,
und man sieht der Zeit auf den Grund.
Und unten geht noch ein fremder Mann
und stört einen fremden Hund.
Dahinter wird Stille. Ich habe groß
die Augen auf dich gelegt;
und sie halten dich sanft und lassen dich los,
wenn ein Ding sich im Dunkel bewegt.

“To be said when going to sleep”
I’d like to sing someone to sleep,
to sit and be right next to them. 
I’d like to cradle and gently lull you,
and accompany you sleep-in, sleep-out.
I’d like to be the only one at home
who knows: the night is cold.
And would like to listen within and without,
into you, the world, the woods.
The clocks, striking, call out to each other
and we can see to the bottom of time.
And down below there’s a stranger
stirring up someone else’s dog.
Beyond, silence begins. I have wrapped
my gaze around you;
and it holds you gently and lets go of you
when something moves in the dark.

German-English Translation Blog
Sunday, March 14, 2010 04:00 pm

Honigkuchenpferd (“Honey Cake Horse”)


I recently came across this word again, which according to most dictionaries
means “to grin like a Cheshire cat.” Having always wondered about the
etymology of this word, I asked a relative from Northern Germany how
“honey cake horse” came to be associated with smiling. She said it must
be a Bavarian word. I hadn’t realized that honey cake is a type of gingerbread. The
Wikipedia explains that honey cake was the forerunner of today’s Lebkuchen and that
“its history can be traced back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. They
believed that honey, the only sweetener widely available to them, was a gift of the deities and
had magical and healing powers. Honey cakes were also worn as a talisman in battle or as
protection against evil spirits.” Teutonic peoples used honey cakes for the same purpose especially around the winter solstice, which might be the reason Lebkuchen became
associated with Christmas. Next time I come across the word, I will think of the
rocking-horse-shaped gingerbread cookie with its big frosty smile.

German-English Translation Blog
Monday, November 25, 2013 11:04 am

Thomas Koch AKA DJ T.: The Berlin DJ’s Top 10 Tracks

We recently translated a list of DJ T.’s all-time top 10 favorite tracks. Check it out here. While I was familiar with the American artists he cites, I discovered a great Italo-disco track I hadn't heard before: “Spacer Woman” (1983) by Charlie.

German-English Translation Blog
Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:13 am

German-English Exchange: Hamburg in Austin during SXSW 2014

Germany’s music capital and Europe’s marketplace for the creative industries is visiting the live music capital of the world during SXSW 2014.


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