Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

Joanna Scudamore-Trezek, German translator, German translations, Hermann Scheer, EUROSOLAR

German to English translations
Based in Vienna, Austria

Language combination:German to English
Specialist areas: PR, communications, marketing, advertising, art, renewable energy, healthcare
Related services:Copywriting, transcription/translation, reviewing
Qualifications:MA & BA in Social Anthropology, Selwyn College, Cambridge
DipIoLET (Chartered Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation) for translation from German to English
Memberships: Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce, Vienna
MCIL - Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, UK


With an English teacher as a mother, language was destined to play an important role in my life!
I grew up in the UK, and after school and university headed to London to start my professional life in PR and marketing - learning how to use language to convey the message. Love and life brought me to German-speaking Austria in the early 1990’s where I soon realised that English was my greatest professional asset.
Teaching business English in the meantime, I quickly learnt German and made my first entry into the world of translation. Having decided that this is where my skills lie, I took the Chartered Institute of Linguist’s Diploma in Translation, both to prove my abilities to myself, and to help stand out in an undervalued profession.

A couple of the things that make me a good translator:

I’ve got a thing about English being used correctly! I’m the one you’ll hear shouting “Less, not fewer!” at radio presenters, and when I hear “he was sat” (sitting, for goodness sake!) I grind my teeth. I thoroughly enjoy playing with words to get the sound of a sentence just right and am always aware of the lurking danger of “Germanisms” creeping into English translations.

The best thing about being a translator:

It’s the ideal job for nosy people! I like the opportunity to see what’s going on in so many different types of business and to learn about the workings of so many subject areas and professions.

My greatest challenge in my work as a freelance German translator:

Trying to be more interested in the nuts and bolts of translation software!

My translation goals:

To translate another book! I have discovered that there are around only 50 full-time literary translators in the UK (compared with an estimated 250 in Austria - CEATL survey), so obviously the scope for German to English literary translators is limited. However, I was delighted to be asked to translate Hermann Scheer’s Der Energetische Imperativ earlier this year. Scheer was a German parliamentarian, pioneer of renewable energy and founder of EUROSOLAR. My translation (The Energy Imperative) is being published by Routledge and will appear in December 2011.

Pet hates:

Translator sites designed for the benefit of the website provider rather than for the many translators who are the backbone of its business........

A good client is:

One who understands the time and concentration needed to produce a good translation, and who doesn’t think it normal practice to hand over a translation project on a Friday afternoon and expect it ready by Monday morning.

My number one tip for anyone thinking of buying translation services:

Make sure the German original is the best it can be! Are there inconsistencies or contradictions in the text? Could it be shorter and still carry the same message effectively (i.e. saving you money)? Does it need to be rewritten for a foreign audience? I meet so many texts which appear to have been dashed off without much thought about subsequent translation.

Why you should contact me:

I pride myself on producing English texts which cannot easily be identified as translations. I’m an experienced translation professional who strives to provide idiomatic, terminologically correct English texts and never shies away from a challenge!

My favourite translation joke:

I got this one from Jost Zetzsche, publisher of the Translator’s Tool Kit, a newsletter on translation technology for industry and freelancers alike.

How many translators does it take to change a light bulb?
1) That depends on the context.
2) What will clients expect us to do next?
3) One, but he'll have to charge by the hour and he can't give a firm quote until he's seen it, because God only knows how it was changed before. (The last time he took a job like this, someone had wedged a "glow pear" in the socket.)

You can contact Joanna directly:

Via her website German Translation Tips & Resources.

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German translation, Joanna Scudamore-TrezekHi, I’m Joanna.
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