Read Selam Berlin auf Englisch in Canon Translation Review

January 28th was a momentous day in my life: it was the first time something I translated was published! Lucky for you, ever-so-wide blog-audience, the publication is online and waiting for your excited eyes to peruse it.
Parked in Kreuzberg, Berlin, August 2009; featured on Canon's homepage with my translation.
It's the first issue of a new translation review, Canon, which is put out by the Undergraduate Comparative Literature Association at the University of Michigan. My final academic year, 2009-2010, was designated the "Year of Translation" by the comparative literature department. (Hilariously, this year is the "Year of Comparison." Shouldn't that be every year? I mean, that goes for both, but what's comp lit without the comp-ing? I always make jokes about comp-ing, and I always laugh inside.) Anyway, to go along with the Year of  Translation and to take a step closer to having an actual translation curriculum, the comp lit department started a translation workshop course for undergraduate students to be offered each semester. And I took it. And I translated part of a novel. And then I was one of the undergraduates invited to apply (thanks, Editor-in-Chief Megan!) to U of M's 4th Biannual Graduate Student Translation Conference, and so my translation benefited from further workshopping. (And because I'm someone who answers her emails, and likes to be righteous about standardized American spelling practices and comma placement, sometime during the summer I became an editor of Canon Translation Review.)

It's full of great things. You can read a little about them all here, in the letter from the editors, but then you need to read the translations. There's modern and there's old. French, Spanish, Ancient Greek, Czech. But now, conveniently just for you, all in English!

There's German, of course. Yadé Kara's Selam Berlin, translated by moi. You should read it. I don't know if this is more convincing but I'll try:

Selam Berlin is a novel about being Turkish and German. It's a novel about the Wende—the turning point—when the Berlin Wall fell, two halves of a city and a country came back together, and one half of a family learns another half exists. It's about a nineteen-year-old who feels himself very much a Turkish-German and not a Turk living in Germany. It's about becoming an adult as the Wall is reduced to a remembered shadow, as secrets and realizations come to light in the aftermath of the Peaceful Revolution. This bildungsroman by the Turkish-German author Yadé Kara was published in 2003 and won the German Book Prize for best debut in 2004. No complete English translation has been published, although the first chapter was published in English in the November 2009 issue of Words Without Borders in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall on November 9th of the same year. Although Selam Berlin takes place after the Wall has been opened, the novel shows how dramatically the division of the city affected its residents’ lives—in particular, the lives of Hasan and his family. There are not many long passages that represent the book by themselves. The first chapter is one, but it had already been translated, and the last chapter is powerful, but not standing alone, so I tried to include a series of scenes that wouldn’t be too confusing out of context. They survey Hasan’s reactions to life in post-Wall Berlin and carry the reader through the city streets.
So there you go. You want to read it. Do it.

I made this to go along with the translation—I didn't want footnotes to interrupt the enjoyment of the story, but I wanted to provide some supplemental information. So, here you go.


Emma Claire Foley said...

Can you/we write a book of annotated maps? (Yes.)

Marisa said...

I love maps.