Why I love adaptation work

Because I’m good at it. I love both good German and English. My ambition: the target copy must not transpire the origin of the source text.

In advertising agencies, adaptation is usually looked down upon. Having to do it means that you have no time to develop your own ideas; maybe even that your own ideas aren’t much trusted. With my love for both English and German, though, I have never seen it as a demotion to be asked to do it.

You may have come across one of these multilingually published magazines such as Cosmopolitan. Much of their content is – often quite hastily – translated, typically from some English master copy. And that transpires: albeit perfectly correct, the syntax often has a distinctly alien feel to it. It’s the grammar of another culture.

Whenever I do adaptation work, it is my ambition to eliminate those foreign traces, unless they are part of the message. The trick is, once you have done a rough translation to understand what it’s all about, you download a non-verbal copy of its content to your mind and then write it again from scratch in the target language. It’s a challenge, but it also gives me a flow experience.