Tag Archives: Berlin

Ladies First

15 Oct

No trip to Berlin would be complete without some time spent in one of my favourite bookshops.

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Modern Graphics has been selling comics and graphic novels in Berlin for the past 20 years. They have two branches: one in Europa-Center that specialises in mangas, and the shop that I’m more familiar with, which is located in Kreuzberg and also sells artbooks, posters and action figures.

They have a great selection from independant publishers, which makes the shop a fun place to keep updated on what is going on with the German comics scene.

I also enjoy checking out which French authors get translated in German. That’s how I discovered that publisher Carlsen  had launched a collection targetting women readers about a year ago, with comics from Pénélope Bagieu and Margaux Motin amongst others.

http://www.comic-report.de/index.php/verlage/carlsen/344-carlsen-comics-programm-2012-2013

The premise is that women read comics differently. I’m not sure I’m on board with that. Sure, it’s better than stating that women don’t read comics. And I like that female authors and artists are represented in the collection. DC could learn a thing or two from this. But I’m not convinced that women are looking for something essentially different than men do, when they read comics. Sure, most of the women I know are more likely to read Persepolis type graphic novels than superheroes comics, but guess what? The same can be said of most grown-up men. It is a particular subtype of adults who reads superheroes stories, but the fact that it is special interest doesn’t make it male only. Of course, a little bit more representation would go a long way.

Interestingy enough, I came across this relevant article recently.

East is East

22 Août

Je n’envisage pas un séjour à Berlin, sans un passage dans l’une de mes librairies préférées, Modern Graphics.

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Modern Graphics a deux magasins à Berlin. Celui que je fréquente se situe à Kreuzberg, au 22 Oranienstr. C’est le genre d’endroits où il est agréable de fureter pendant des heures. La belle sélection d’éditeurs indépendants permet de prendre le pouls de la BD allemande actuelle.

La BD germanophone ne déchaîne guère les foules en France, malgré le prix Révélation de l’autrichienne Ulli Lust en 2011 à Angoulème, ou plus récemment, le joli succès de La Ronde de Birgit Weye. Pourtant, les albums intéressants ne manquent pas et je reviens toujours avec une ou deux trouvailles dans ma besace. Cette fois-ci, j’ai porté mon choix sur un ouvrage paru en 2009, mais toujours pas traduit en français (avis aux éditeurs !), Grenzgebiete, de claire Lenkova, publié par Gerstenberg et une nouveauté, 17. Juni, d’Alexander Lahl, Tim Köhler et Max Mönch (dessins de Kitty Kahane), paru chez Metrolit. L’histoire récente de l’Allemagne de l’Est et les rapports Est-Ouest constituent souvent une source d’inspiration pour les auteurs allemands (à lire en français, De l’autre côté, de Simon Schwartz) et c’est le cas pour ces deux ouvrages.  Grenzgebiete est un récit personnel sur une enfance à la frontière Est-Ouest, tandis que 17. Juni suit la quête d’Eva, cherchant son amoureux, Armin, disparu au lendemain de l’insurrection de juin 1953 en Allemagne de l’Est.

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Parcourir les rayonnages donne aussi l’occasion de voir la portée de la bande-dessinée francophone en Allemagne. Ce ne sont pas seulement les stars, comme Marjane Satrapi et Joann Sfar (publiés respectivement chez Edition Moderne avant verlag), qui sont traduits en allemand, mais aussi certains auteurs plus confidentiels. Surprise : Carlsen Verlag a lancé une collection destinée aux femmes. Je ne suis pas sûre de ce que je pense de cette initiative, mais les auteurs francophones y sont bien représentées : Pénélope Beaugieu, mais aussi Margaux Motin ou Hubert et Marie Caillou.

It’s Saturday, Saturday, Saturday…

14 Août

Les Allemands disposent de deux termes pour décrire le samedi. Samstag, le plus ancien, est issu de l’hébreu. Le second, Sonnabend, a été introduit au VIIe siècle par un missionnaire anglais.

J’ai appris l’allemand après la chute du Mur, mais mes manuels dataient d’avant. Peut-être est-ce pour cela que je n’y ai jamais lu le mot Sonnabend.  En fait, je n’ai jamais lu ce mot où que ce soit avant mon premier séjour à Berlin. Le magazine urbain Zitty, qui liste les projections, expos et autres soirées berlinoises, désigne la veille du dimanche par un Sonnabend  fort exotique, là où son concurrent Tip  emploie un Samstag  plus traditionnel. L’ancienne Allemagne de l’Est ayant accepté Sonnabend comme terme officiel, le mot reste usité dans cette partie du pays, de même qu’au nord de l’Allemagne, tandis que Samstag est employé au sud et à l’ouest. Pas étonnant alors que Tip, qui ambitionne d’être lu hors de Berlin, ait opté pour Samstag. En fait, selon mon sondage très scientifique la vingtaine de Berlinois auxquels j’ai posé la question, Sonnabend perd du terrain. Seuls deux personnes l’utilisaient régulièrement et une personne a mentionné que sa grand-mère l’employait…

A lire sur la question :

http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zwiebelfisch/zwiebelfisch-abc-samstag-sonnabend-a-340668.html

Summer in the city

25 Juil

Back when I was on a payroll, I always volunteered to take my holiday off-season. Being childfree, I was more excited about the idea of getting some winter sun in Depressing December ®, than about leaving the city at the time I like it the most. It has this laid back vibe, people are more relaxed, there are free events coming up left and right.  Now that I’m a freelancer, the summer is usually a busy time for me. All the more reason to plan my holiday in the winter… Now that doesn’t mean I don’t get to mix things up a bit and spend July outside of Paris for once! So, here I am back in Berlin. I think that being mobile is one of the great perks of freelancing and I already spent a month in Berlin not long after I started my business back in late 2011. I’ve documented my stay through a series of posts, so check out the Berlin tag for more thoughts about working abroad, co-working, racial issues in Germany and Berlin newspapers.

While I aim at spending one month a year working away from home, some people have taken it to a whole other level…

Zoë Perry, The nomadic translator, has lived in five different countries in the past seven years, not bad!

Carla, the Globe-trotting Texan, is sometimes a translator, sometimes a travel writer, but always on the road.

A while ago, Sarah Vilece from Tanslating Berlin has given you quite a few reasons why you might want to take your freelance work abroad. Looking for tips to work and travel?

A year ago, Corinne MacKay from Thoughts on translation had a call about taking her business abroad. You can check both Part 1 and Part 2 on the Speaking of translation website

Marta Stelmaszak from Want Words has listed the essentials.

I hope I have inspired you!

 

 

 

 

Le peuple migrateur

14 Nov

Quick recap from my latest post in French:

I have a fascination for migration flows. In fact, it was the subject of my master’s thesis. So, it is no surprise that I was intrigued by the initiative Route der migration, last October in Berlin.

Route der Migration

The project involved red containers such as the one pictured above disseminated around the city with books, pictures, texts and films documenting the history of migrants. It was nice to see guest workers, asylum seekers, and people in search of a new start from Vietnam, Turkey or Korea represented and their contribution acknowledged.

Not long before seeing the containers, I got a chance to catch a movie about a German-Turkish family, http://www.almanya-film.de/ It is just a light-hearted comedy and the ending is pretty weak, but it provides some funny insights about cultural shock and integration. I recommend it.

Now that was my last post about my stay in Berlin… that is until my next stay!

People are strange when you’re a stranger*

7 Nov

Dans mon dernier billet en anglais, j’évoquais la question de la minorité noire en Allemagne et de sa perception par la population. J’ai pu me rendre compte pendant mon séjour à Berlin que les Noirs étaient encore souvent considérés comme exotiques outre-Rhin. C’est vrai qu’ils sont beaucoup moins nombreux que les Turcs et leurs descendants. J’ai d’ailleurs eu l’occasion d’aller voir le film Almanya, qui retrace le parcours d’une famille turco-allemande. C’est une comédie distrayante, qui illustre bien certains aspects du choc culturel des migrants et des interrogations de leurs descendants.

Le site du film (en allemand !) : http://www.almanya-film.de/

De manière plus générale, je trouve le sujet des mouvements de population assez fascinant et j’ai d’ailleurs consacré mon mémoire de M1 aux flux migratoires. Du coup, une récente initiative berlinoise ne pouvait que piquer mon intérêt.

Route der Migration

En octobre, des containers rouges ont fait leur apparition dans la ville. Ils racontent l’histoire des migrants. A travers des photos, des livres, des vidéos, on découvre les infirmières coréennes dans les années 60, Wladimir Kaminer, l’auteur de Russendisko, ou encore des ouvriers turcs dans le Kreuzberg des années 70. Les containers, placés dans des lieux marquants de l’histoire de l’immigration berlinoise, évoquent des capsules-témoins. Un projet ludique et poétique.

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJY8jJkDoMY

Blackety black*

31 Oct

A statue in Postdam’s Park Sans Souci

I am back from Berlin and I had a great time there. It’s a fantastic experience to take advantage of being mobile and go work somewhere else for a while. It changes your perspective. You get to meet new people, including potential clients and partners. And of course, and I’m speaking for translators there, you get to freshen up your knowledge of the country of your source language -getting to hear and see first-hand what is going on and what makes people tick- and to work on your spoken language skills. You may not need to speak a language well to be a good translator, but good spoken language skills go a long way to communicate with your clients.

Anyway, during my stay, I observed that:

1) I have a very broad French accent when speaking German.

2) Most German people are convinced that « French people cannot speak English ».

3) 2 doesn’t stop some of them from immediately switching from German to English when they hear you have an accent, including a French accent, that is after you have addressed them in German and that they have obviously understood what you had to say.

Considering that the people who insisted the most on talking English to me were the ones I had the hardest time understanding, I sort of guessed that some of them just wanted to take the opportunity to practice their  English. I’ve met a few people who spoke fluent English, and incidentally those were kind enough to indulge me in speaking German with me.

However, an acquaintance has suggested that the English thing might be due to the fact that while I sound unmistakably French, I « do not look French ». In other words, in the mind of a lot of German people, being Black and French are mutually exclusive. That got me thinking. I had never been asked so many times in such a short timeframe where I was « really » from. Apparently, black Germans get the same question:

http://www.deutschland-schwarzweiss.de/en/list_of_stupid_phrases

There is no doubt that black people are a smaller minority in Germany than in some other European countries. But they’ve been here for a while. You might have heard of the incredible story of Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, the retired managing editor of Ebony magazine. The son of an African diplomat and a German mother, he grew up in Nazi Germany as stated in the title of his autobiography:

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

And post World War II, there was the issue of the biracial babies left behind by black GIs. Lots of them grew up in orphanages. Ika Hügel-Marshall is one of them. I read her book a few years ago.

invisible woman

More recently, I’ve read about Juli Rivera’s documentary about the 25th anniversary of a meeting of black Germans organised by ISD (Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland).

Here is a short clip of the documentary and a link to the (French) article mentioning it on the director’s blog: mein Viertel The movie seems great and I’m curious to see it. The director is currently looking for locations to show it, so contact her if you have any tips.

This was supposed to be my last post about Berlin and there’s more I have to say about race, Germany and diversity, but this is getting seriously long. So to keep it short and sweet, I’ll just say: more to come!

*blackety black