Classic Editing for German Translations of Novels and Theoretical Literature

My Work Behind The Scenes

Welcome to the workshop of Les Idées — my place to live the craft of translation editing

You and your work have a place in my heart

I don’t mechanically move on to the editing process. We‘ll swap ideas — intensively just as a book and its author deserve. Of course, I‘ll handle your work with great care and dedicate the time it takes. I treat all the content and ideas related to your project confidentially from the first writing sample. Therefore, our agreements on the first analysis and the editing contain a confidentiality clause.

We write your language

It‘s a translation, yes. But it‘s your language, your tone that lets your words sparkle. Although I‘ll propose suggestions, they won‘t be guided by my style or my aesthetic preferences as an author or reader. As a translator and also as a translation editor, I‘ll make sure that your voice and the flavour of your mother tongue are still audible and tasteable in the German version.

My 7 principles of editing a literary translation

Please see me as an adviser merging the spirit of arts (writing and reading) with the pragmatic perspective of the book market.

When editing a translation (and also as a translator) I use 7 ‘landmarks‘:

  1. the tone of the author,
  2. the soul of the original version,
  3. its literary or academic quality,
  4. its linguistic quality,
  5. comprehensiveness,
  6. the reading experience,
  7. its potential on the German book market.

As a literature scholar, I consider literary quality to be an objective criterion; but there is no truth — in contrast to the facts of academic literature. Each book has a life of its own, its laws and tonality. And it will ideally reach those who want to read you. It depends on you or your future publisher who will be addressed as a reader persona. Since I‘m not obligated to any publisher, you‘ll decide whether to make changes based on my comments.

What will happen with your translation?

The effort of editing can vary from book to book and the methods I apply to it depend on the format (novel or non-fiction). Basically, the process for a completed manuscript in version 1.0 looks like this:


Does the translated version keep German speaking readers in the flow?
Is it comprehensible for them?
Are the translated words really the most exquisite equivalent to the English or Polish original?
Is it still your voice which tells the story or conveys information, your thoughts and insights?

In the first lap, I‘ll also roughly examine orthography and punctuation. Please consider that after my revision, you or your translator will make changes, shorten passages and replace words. Therefore, an in-depth-check for typographical errors and grammar is more sensible after the review and on the final manuscript. You‘ll decide if you‘d like to walk this part of the way with me as well.


I still might spot hidden disbalances in the narrative logic (perspective, dialogues, characters, time and space, images etc.). You‘ll decide if I should explore them more closely or just make my remarks on those that have an effect on the German text.
Readability I‘ll evaluate with a specific persona or group of readers in mind.

My feedback serves as a suggestion for a new version. Therefore, I explain my remarks on linguistically and stylistically problematic passages or when I think it might help to make changes or cut them shorter.

When I‘m your translator just add the translation on top of the editing process.

Expertise needed?

An academically and journalistically trained instinct makes it easier for me to quickly familiarise myself with all sorts of topics. However, the deepest insights I‘ve made in these scientific subjects and industries: literary studies, linguistics, history, cultural anthropology, music scene, bodywork, and e-learning.

I say “no” to ghostwriting

I‘m generally not offering ghostwriting, rewriting and editing of ghostwritten novels or non-fiction books, as I think that authors should be also the official authors of their work. The same applies to translations of ghostwritten books. But: Do you have an idea that inspires me or would you like to share a fascinating story with the German speaking world? Then you could work with me as a co-author for a theoretical book or an autobiography.

I distance myself from ghostwriting activities in the field of academic work!

Are you a German writer who needs a professional editor? I‘m looking forward to meeting you in the German part of my Thoughtcosmos.