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#1 august

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:16 PM

I have a 57 page document written by General Hermann von Froncois in which he describes his involvement of the battles of Stalluponen, Gumbinnen and Tannenberg in East Prussia in August 1914. My problem is that it is written in Gothic German and I would like it translated into understandable English. Does anyone know where this can be done?

#2 truthergw

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

If you read German it is not too difficult to learn Fraktur.

#3 centurion

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:31 PM

If you read German it is not too difficult to learn Fraktur.


Not sure that that's likely to be helpful



August - welcome on board.




I'd try contacting the Birmingham University centre for WW1 studies. Just google Birmingham University and ww1 and you should find them. They might well be interested. 

#4 Siege Gunner

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

I have a 57 page document written by General Hermann von Froncois in which he describes his involvement of the battles of Stalluponen, Gumbinnen and Tannenberg in East Prussia in August 1914. My problem is that it is written in Gothic German and I would like it translated into understandable English. Does anyone know where this can be done?

A memoir of such authority and interest deserves to be professionally translated. If you don't have funds to pay for such a project, you will need to find an experienced translator who is well enough fed and sufficiently interested in the subject matter to waive his/her charges a rara avis indeed. The fact that the original document is printed in Fraktur presents an obstacle to any attempt to use machine-translation software. There are programs that 'read' Fraktur across into Latin type, but the aggregation of transcription errors from that and translation errors and infelicities from machine-translation will almost certainly produce a result of doubtful quality and value.

Mick
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#5 centurion

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

A memoir of such authority and interest deserves to be professionally translated. If you don't have funds to pay for such a project, you will need to find an experienced translator who is well enough fed and sufficiently interested in the subject matter to waive his/her charges a rara avis indeed.


Which is why I suggested the University





BTW I've been trying to translate humans for years - but with little success :whistle:



#6 august

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:54 PM

If you read German it is not too difficult to learn Fraktur.


Afraid I don't read German.

#7 august

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

Not sure that that's likely to be helpful



August - welcome on board.




I'd try contacting the Birmingham University centre for WW1 studies. Just google Birmingham University and ww1 and you should find them. They might well be interested.


Have spoken to Gary Sheffield about translating at the Uni. but he was not hopeful that it could be done.




#8 august

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 04:00 PM

A memoir of such authority and interest deserves to be professionally translated. If you don't have funds to pay for such a project, you will need to find an experienced translator who is well enough fed and sufficiently interested in the subject matter to waive his/her charges a rara avis indeed. The fact that the original document is printed in Fraktur presents an obstacle to any attempt to use machine-translation software. There are programs that 'read' Fraktur across into Latin type, but the aggregation of transcription errors from that and translation errors and infelicities from machine-translation will almost certainly produce a result of doubtful quality and value.

Mick
(Professional human translator)


Thanks for your comments. I think this will prove to be a difficult "nut to crack".




#9 Siege Gunner

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 07:20 PM

There are several forum members who are professional translators of German, and a number of other members whose translation skills are at least as good, but the former have to make a living and the latter tend to be already occupied with their own projects.

A word of warning for you if someone who 'knows German' offers to 'have a go' translating a memoir such as the one you have requires not only linguistic knowledge (of German written 100 or so years ago by someone who was educated 30+ years before that) but also understanding of the organisation and workings of the German army and knowledge and experience of the German and English military terminology of the time. Without those pre-requisites, the result would likely be as bad as the product of a machine translation. Of course, if you just want a flavour of what the author has to say, a raw machine translation might serve your purpose, but it is unlikely to do any justice to his work or be of sufficient quality for further dissemination.

Mick

#10 centurion

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 07:41 PM

There are several forum members who are professional translators of German, and a number of other members whose translation skills are at least as good, but the former have to make a living and the latter tend to be already occupied with their own projects.

A word of warning for you if someone who 'knows German' offers to 'have a go' translating a memoir such as the one you have requires not only linguistic knowledge (of German written 100 or so years ago by someone who was educated 30+ years before that) but also understanding of the organisation and workings of the German army and knowledge and experience of the German and English military terminology of the time. Without those pre-requisites, the result would likely be as bad as the product of a machine translation. Of course, if you just want a flavour of what the author has to say, a raw machine translation might serve your purpose, but it is unlikely to do any justice to his work or be of sufficient quality for further dissemination.

Mick

So "not too difficult to learn Fraktur" is probably a little optomistic.

#11 Siege Gunner

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:40 PM

So "not too difficult to learn Fraktur" is probably a little optomistic.

Not for someone who already speaks German. Handwriting is a different matter, but printed text in Fraktur is generally sharp, the standard type size is comfortably large, and there are only a few 'confusing' letter forms to learn. For someone not too far beyond the first flush of youth who acquires a serious interest in substantial volumes of German material, it is frankly easier and cheaper (relatively speaking) to learn German than to get involved in any kind of human translation by others or machine-translation. Forum pal TomW stands as an honourable exception to this 'rule' (although I suspect his German is actually a lot better than he professes), but then he knows his subject matter inside out.

Mick

#12 Luca.Angeli

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 02:40 AM

Hello August, I know a translator here in the US that can help you, I am sure it come with its price. Check Ann Sherwin, www.asherwin.com

I have no idea what she can charge but I had her translate some handwriting and she was pretty good

Luca

#13 Siege Gunner

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:06 AM

I've just word-counted a representative page of a volume of Schlachten des Weltkrieges, which I expect to be about the same format as the memoir. About 350 words to the page, x 57, comes out at roughly 20,000 words. That's a lot of text for anyone to translate for free, and a lot of wordage to pay for if it's translated at anything like a commercial rate. Certainly over £1000.

Mick

#14 truthergw

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:50 PM

Hello August. Perhaps I owe you some expansion of my reply. I was taught German for a couple of years when at school in the early 1950s. I never tried to keep up my studies or add to the little I had been taught. ( I did try to keep my hand in with French. ) When I became interested in the Great War, about 40 years after I had last looked at a German book, I got a couple of dictionaries and a grammar and sat down with a volume from the Schlachten des Weltkrieg series. I took my time and managed to puzzle it out, at first, letter by letter and then word by word. I received help and encouragement from several forumites. Notably pal Bob Lembke. I still need my dictionaries close at hand and it is a slow business but I can puzzle through bits in books which have attracted my notice. I cannot read script and have never tried to. I am speaking personally here but if I had a document such as yours I would not grudge the few hours of a rainy Sunday or bad TV evening most weeks to put together a version in English. It would be a great achievement and open the door to much more information.

#15 bmac

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:11 PM

What you do is this:

Scan your document as separate pages.
Go to this web site: http://finereader.ab.../en/Task/Queue/
Select a page or pages on your computer using the 'Upload' button
Click on 'Click here if your text is set in a black-letter typeface' and select 'German' from the drop down list.
Select your preferred output file format
Click on 'Recognise'

The site will then convert the page of Fraktur typeface into a page of modern German type which you can download and open in your word processor. You get 20 free page conversions. Your other 37 pages will cost you 3 (with 13 conversions left over for another topic).

Then open up one of the many on-line machine translation sites. I suggest one of them should be IMTranslator.net as this simultaneously provides the results from Babylon, Promt, Google and Microsoft (others are Yahoo/Babel Fish, Worldlingo, Reverso and SDL Freen Translation). Copy and past your document in sections (several have character limits for how much can be translated in one go) and then, if you have any knowledge of the subject, you should be able to convert the results into something sensible/readable. I cannot read German but have translated 150+ pages of regimental histories, etc. quite happily using this method.

A couple of useful books will be: a good German-English dictionary (I use Collins) and German Military Terms 1918 published by the Imperial War Museum which gives the translations for German military words/phrases as well as full details of abbreviations and acronyms.

#16 Stoppage Drill

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:50 PM

As a matter of interest, we have jumped to the conclusion it's Fraktur, but if it is handwritten (as I gather?) would it not more likely be Sutterlin ?

#17 Jack Sheldon

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:23 PM

I doubt it SD. Kurrent is much more probable.

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#18 Siege Gunner

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:36 AM

If the memoir is indeed in manuscript, there is no chance of 'reading' it electronically and it will need to be transcribed into Latin type by a human being before it can be put through a machine translation program or be translated by a human translator. An experienced translator could probably make a translation direct from the manuscript, if the hand is good, but if the memoir is of considerable historical interest and value, it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to make a copy of the original German in modern Latin type.

Perhaps August could post an image of a page of the memoir.

Mick

#19 Jasta72s

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:59 AM

General der Infanterie von Francois published "Marneschlacht und Tannenberg" in Berlin in 1920 (296 pages). This book is still available in German antique book shops (also by online order) and I think the above mentioned 57 pages are part of this book - maybe a (hand-written?) draft or simply an excerpt of the book.

#20 apwright

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:14 AM

...or is it perhaps his Tannenberg - Das Cannae des Weltkrieges in Wort und Bild (1926), which is exactly 57 pages of text once you strip out all the photos & maps & the 1-page description of Hannibal's eponymous battle...
http://archive.org/d...mann-Tannenberg

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#21 centurion

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

Hannibal's eponymous battle...


What's eponymous about it? It wasn't named after him or vice versa!

#22 TRAJAN

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:12 PM

Ooooohhhh! I do love the way some of primus pilus' replies match his avatar!:thumbsup:

#23 Siege Gunner

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 02:56 PM

...or is it perhaps his Tannenberg - Das Cannae des Weltkrieges in Wort und Bild (1926)

That looks like the one, Adrian, so it is indeed printed in Fraktur and it is approx the same format as SdW, so my rough wordcount will not be far off.

#24 bob lembke

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:46 PM

Von Francois' actions in the first couple of weeks of the war are quite interesting. His memoire should be interesting. One might wonder as to his take on those events. (Hint: in an odd way, he accelerated the careers of Hindenburg and Ludendorff.)

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#25 august

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 12:51 PM

...or is it perhaps his Tannenberg - Das Cannae des Weltkrieges in Wort und Bild (1926), which is exactly 57 pages of text once you strip out all the photos & maps & the 1-page description of Hannibal's eponymous battle...
http://archive.org/d...mann-Tannenberg

Adrian


APRIGHT.

Yes indeed this is the document I have--TANNENBERG-DAS CANNAE DES WELTKRIEGES IN WORT UND BILD.

Is there any thing of interest in this document I wonder? 57 pages to cover 3 battles seems not enough. Knowing quite a lot already about Von Francois after having read both Showalter's and Sir Edmund Ironside's books, both entitled Tannenberg, I am doubtful. However, only a translation of this document will reveal whether it has merit or not.

JASTA72s mentions that Francois had a book published in 1920 entitled Marneschlacht Und Tannenberg. This would indeed make interesting reading (296 pages), however the old problem of translating as I believe it is not available in English.






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