We’ve got a winner today of last week’s History of the Bernese Anabaptists contest.
As you’ll recall, the book was written in German by Ernst Müller and published in 1895. It waited over a century for its first English translation, a task which John Gingerich took on a few years ago.
I’ve done a bit of translating from Polish to English, which I’ve found painstaking at times. Words might not have a direct translation, in some cases you might have to deduce an author’s intended meaning, and so on. So anytime I hear about someone translating a full book, I’m impressed (not to mention one written in a different era).
John notes that the translation took about two-and-a-half years, and took a minor team of consultants and advisors. I asked him to elaborate–how did he keep himself motivated, and who helped him? John replies:
Fortunately, I had a great support group! John Roth and Joe Springer of Goshen College encouraged me to begin the project, and were always available to answer questions and offer advice and critiques. Leonard Gross, also of Goshen, proofread some of the material and also readily answered my many questions. Prof. Urs Leu of the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich, Switzerland, was especially helpful in answering questions about archaic Swiss German phrases.
In addition, my good friends Nancy and Dieter Huth of Middlefield, OH, and Max Güngerich and Therese Güngerich of Canton Bern, Switzerland, proofread and critiqued my attempts to translate the book. All four are retired teachers, and without their help and guidance, I would have quit right after the first chapter. Fortunately, we all got along and worked very well together during the 2.5 years we worked on the translation. They also enjoyed making good-natured fun of my (numerous) mistakes.
Ultimately, Joseph Stoll and David Luthy of Pathway Publishers, provided continual encouragement and feedback. Even after 2.5 years of translating, it took another year of working with Joseph Stoll on the editing, and David Luthy on design, to complete the book. They taught me a lot about book production, and made the book so much better.
Well there you have it. Quite an international and intercultural team. You may recognize the names Joseph Stoll and David Luthy, also of the Plain publication Family Life.
Time for the winner–selected at random from the comment entries, using random.org:
Congrats Char. Send me your address (ewesner (at) gmail (dot) com) and we’ll get your copy to you. If you didn’t win, you can get a copy of the book here. Thanks again to John for the great interview and providing a book for the contest.
We’ll be having another book giveaway on Thursday, so be sure to be here! I’ll keep you in suspense as to what book it is, but I think you’re really going to enjoy the interview.