Should I learn German or Russian?

My goal is to become a translator of classics and sell these books in my native language. Which literary catalogue would be more profitable?

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  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    German is easier and people usually learn Russian to read classics/speak with their wives (?), not translate stuff. There are some noteworthy books in the contemporary section of ru lit, don't know anything about contemporary de lit.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Russian lit is evergreen classic and authors like Tolstoy and Dosto sell a lot. Who would be comparable in German? Nietzsche?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I got a feeling that a lot of "evergreen classics" has already been translated several times. Maybe there is some occasional stuff from early 20th century that's worthy of an endeavor.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Mann, Hesse, Kafka

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Charlotte Roche, Senthuran Varatharajah

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          huh?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >speak with their wives
      oddly specific, care to elaborate?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I think he just means his imagined people only learn Russian unless they really really have to and out of love.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        50 year old American men marry Russian mail order brides

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Here in the west, Russian prostitutes come and marry clueless rich guys to get a visa and some money.

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It depends on where you live, obviously – which authors are more popular, what translations are already available. Do you even know what kind of job is being a translator actually is? Because it sounds like your idea just came out of nowhere and you don't have any lit-related background.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I've been an amateur translator for a few years from English into my native language but I wanted to expand and "go pro." There's way less competition than in English when it comes to Russian authors, for example. We don't have debates about Garnet, P&V, Katz, Ivsey, etc. Annotated editions are basically non-existent. There are very few older options and different shitty new ones. My idea has been some time in my head but I simply wanted to hear IQfy's opinion because I think I can do something better.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    How does one even become a translator? Get a degree in whatever language you're aspiring to do translations for?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Machine translators have killed the industry. Why pay for a good translation when google translate is free?

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Refuted by

        [...]

        Google's translation suck. Then Anons come up with much better translations.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        maybe if you're a chink making a f2p game or something. nobody machine translates real books

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    German is way easier to learn but you will never be able to speak it with anyone because everybody in Germany speaks English and hates Germany and Germanness. But it also has a MUCH larger corpus of philosophical, scientific (including social-scientific / geisteswissenschaftlich) texts, since the Germans are basically the Greeks of the modern world. Its literary corpus is also arguably vaster than Russian's simply because it has been running for longer and was more in dialogue with contemporary European trends. With Russian literature there is a real risk of running out of things to translate. There are just only so many greats, and of course, as a result they've almost all been translated. So you really have to be motivated to learn Russian just for literature.

    However, learning Russian is much better if you want to engage with a culture that doesn't speak English more than it speaks its mother tongue, and that still has some distinctness as a result. Unlike Germany (unless you go out of your way), you can still GO to Russia and have an experience learning about Russian culture, if that's something you value.

    But the fact that your first language isn't English complicates things a lot. It depends how good / numerous the translations into your native language are, what the market is like etc. Also if your first language is a Slavic one, a lot of the advice about it being a harder language to learn is obviously useless, and learning Russian will become more like learning German as an English speaker.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >But it also has a MUCH larger corpus of philosophical, scientific (including social-scientific / geisteswissenschaftlich) texts, since the Germans are basically the Greeks of the modern world. Its literary corpus is also arguably vaster than Russian's simply because it has been running for longer and was more in dialogue with contemporary European trend
      I honestly only care about literature (fiction and poetry). How would you say German literature compares to Russian one? Hard mode: Only public domain stuff.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I don't know copyright laws and shit, and I think it differs by country too, so public domain could be 50 or 70 years ago or for all I know the Dostoevsky estate still exists or is melded with some library/archive and has the perpetual copyright in 99% of countries.

        How the literature compares just depends too much on your personal tastes. For me, Russian literature is less varied and its middle period (the one most people think of when they think "Russian literature") is dominated by like a dozen heavyweights who each get 50 new translations a decade. German just has more to read in more genres. But German is also oversaturated, everybody knows German. And again this will depend on your home country. Maybe nobody knows German in Bulgaria but everybody knows Russian

        Frankly I think it's a kind of question mal posee because in order to translate any of these "boss level" difficulty high literary authors you're gonna have to spend like 5+ years toiling at the language and loving it, and you're probably going to read those authors several times in translation prior to translating them. So you'd better REALLY love those authors so badly that you want to go through all this just to translate them. And you can't know whether this is the case until you already know more about each language/culture, and by then you'll know what you want to learn anyway.

        Russian is a huge commitment if your first language isn't a Slavic one. I'll just say that. German you can get to the "fake 'til you make it" point in, pretty quickly. The first year (or several, depending on your dedication level) of Russian is brutal and requires actual commitment.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >There are just only so many greats, and of course, as a result they've almost all been translated.
      I never understood the fascination with translating things that have been translated a million times before.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I think a lot of it is fuelled by PhDs with nothing else to do.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          That makes sense

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Money is king. Also while that might be your impression from an English perspective, not every culture has translated the Russians to death, for example.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Oh right, I was assuming English.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Germany speaks English and hates Germany and Germanness
      You mean eastern european immigrants?

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    My main question is, what is your native language, assuming it's not English?

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I speak both and have done some translating and machine translations are pretty decent actually, I normally brush up like 10% of what it spits out at most.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Interesting. What do you use?

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    both moron

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Neither. And if you're old enough to post on this board and aren't alreasy well down the path to learning one or the other, you'll never be competent enough in either language to be a good translator. Besides, there are hundreds of thousands of teenagers in Germany and Russia who are already fluent in English and understand most of its nuances. While you're learning literal pre-school level shit about their language, they're capable of reading literally anything in our language. Your dream job is moronic - you're like an unathletic 25 year old who wants to be an Olympian. Too late, pal.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It's easier to translate from a language you learned to your native language than vice versa. Even near-fluent ESLs like Scandis sometimes say unidiomatic moronic sounding shit.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        A good horse won't ruin your beard.

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