• PLEASE NOTE: Please think twice before you travel to Spain now. More here.

Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement

A 2700 mile Pilgrimage to more than 200 Shrines in the Alps

donjohannes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Austria - Santiago (1998)
Liechtenstein - Jerusalem (via Russia, Armenia etc) - and back (2013-2014)
Dear friends - Help? Native Speakers? 15 Minutes of your time?

I'm a catholic priest. Two years back I visited more than 200 shrines in the alps on a 2700 mile pilgrimage aptly titled "Via Alpina Sacra". Last year I published the book in German.

You don't like mountains? You don't care for pilgrimages? You couldn't give a flying "d"uck about catholic priests and their potential preachyness? Then I say thank you for clicking the thread and I wish you all the best on your journey.

If on the other hand, you do not mind either of the above too much, please read on:

20191012_104257.jpg

Recently I had to translate a few chapters of my book for a presentation with the European Alpine Clubs coming up in December. That had me wondering whether I should translate more of it, especially after I found a cheap way to get that process started. It would still be an investment of time and probably I would just pay someone to "english-ify" it to an acceptable level. But it all depends on the base translation.

So I wanted to ask your opinion on the first few pages. This is no time to be charitable but honest - or restated: honesty is as ever the way of true charity. So I'm not looking for kind words but your brutal assessment of the translated text:
1) readabilty
2) flow
3) linguistic soundness
4) content: captivating/boring
5) how likely you personally would be to read beyond the pages translated (in case you did not give up sooner). I added a few pages of the published work in German for some actual pics of mountains (since it is all about the Alps) that are lacking in the beginning. Note: the formating is a bit off in places because I tampered with the pdf and the metric conversions are still lacking).

Please, if you find the time, judge the listed points on a scale from 1-10 and a one sentence verdict if the text deserves a passing grade. It is no masterpiece for sure, but as a non-native speaker I cannot judge if it is "good", "ok" or "mediocre" with my time better spent elsewhere. However the verdict, it will get the people asking for a translation off my back - either by the translation happening oder by it definitely not happening.

Here is the link to the PDF text: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CYBZ5Hx9mrABt0SMA7xf-bFgQY8qdZFw/view?usp=sharing
Feel free to share this link (and this explanation) with your friends who get a kick out of "the pilgrimage thing".

You can send post your assessment here or use the message function.
And as a questionable "re-payment" of your trouble, I can send you a coupon to watch the 93 minute documentary of my journey (recently translated into English) for free, should you so desire. Though again, I should note, we are not talking about an Oscar candidate here, but the recordings of one priest (with a scrappy evolving beard).
Thanks y'all,
Fr. Johannes
 
Last edited:

Freewalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
PC(16), VdlP/San(17). Mozarabe(18), Levante(18) Lucca/Rome(19)Catalan,Aragon,Ebro (19),Litoral (20)
Oh my ... thank you very much indeed for this ! I have read a few pages and will continue later on. Beautifully written ! I'm guessing the accommodations are not for pilgrims on a tightish budget after having to shell out many hundreds (thousands for some) on plane fare to get there :)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
So I'm not looking for kind words but your brutal assessment of the translated text:

1) readabilty - Very good, but for a sophisticated reader
2) flow - Very good
3) linguistic soundness - Excellent
4) content: captivating/boring - Very good
5) how likely you personally would be to read beyond the pages translated - Very likely

The quality of translation seems excellent.

I will send a few specific comments by private message.
 

Island

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
If you do decide to go multi-lingual, please message me. I'm always bringing authors and pilgrims onto the show. I'd love to have you on the Sacred Steps Podcast to give the new English language version of the book some love!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Just got to Read it @donjohannes .

1) readabilty. 9/10. Very easy, nice blend of history, geography, religious explanation and humour.
2) flow. 9/10 works very well.
3) linguistic soundness 9/10. Are you sure you're not a native English speaker! Just a few small typos.
4) content: captivating/boring 9/10. Very engaging.
5) how likely you personally would be to read beyond the pages translated. 9/10 Certain to.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
1) Readability. I like it - but I would say it is in ‘well educated English’. Not much you can do about that if you are, indeed, well educated - but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
2) flow. Fine. There is the odd conjunction or preposition missing. I think I spotted two.
3) linguistic soundness. Fine,
4) content: captivating/boring. Well I got through the two pages! I’d read it.
5) how likely you etc. 8
 

donjohannes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Austria - Santiago (1998)
Liechtenstein - Jerusalem (via Russia, Armenia etc) - and back (2013-2014)
@timr
thanks again for the PM

@Pinker to
thank you for the feedback

@Robo
Thanks for the feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed the Jerusalem film. Hopefully you will also like the new one (more below). It is different. Way more talking and Music. I do at times still experiment with natural sound and plan to do more of it again on the Via Columbani next year (corona permitting).

@Freewalker
The accomodation prices vary. Since I found myself also on the pilgrimage routes like local caminos and the Via Francigena there was infrastructure for pilgrims for some of the way. Nights in the tent were free as were some simple accomodations in the mountains. Other than that cheap hotels and mountain huts were between 20 and 50 € per night. Reaching the beginning and end point won't be more expensive then doing a Camino unless you are from Spain.

@C clearly
Thanks for the feedback and PM

@Island
sure. I hope to have it finished in February.

@FamPed
thanks for the feedback and PM

@henrythedog
thanks for the feedback

@everyone (who has commented or will comment):
Thanks for the encouragement. I have decided to go forward and updated my website with the announcment (to put some pressure on myself and not slack off). In gratitude and to provide a small escape from the lockdowns many of us endure, I have just uploaded and made the film about the Via Alpina Sacra available for free (until Christmas). I started a separate thread in the (hopefully) appropriate sub forum. In that way this thread can stay on topic. For the link to the film and any discussion about it visit this thread:

Cheers,
Fr. Johannes
 
Last edited:

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
1) Readability. I like it - but I would say it is in ‘well educated English’. Not much you can do about that if you are, indeed, well educated - but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
2) flow. Fine. There is the odd conjunction or preposition missing. I think I spotted two.
3) linguistic soundness. Fine,
4) content: captivating/boring. Well I got through the two pages! I’d read it.
5) how likely you etc.
Mountains, by all means, pilgrimages, some! I began by perusing your maps with great interest! On your map, I noted a number of pilgrim sites that I have hiked to. One such glorious place was up to Serles. Though, I must confess, I did not make it by sunrise! We descended to your destination, the Mariawaldrast, (run by the Servites), and one of Austria’s oldest pilgrimage sites dedicated to the Virgin Mary. So at different times we have shared sacred soil and your experience is of great interest to me.

To be honest, I agree with Henry regarding the “register” of the language. I found the word choices a little overdone at times. Could some words have been simplified-allowing for better fluidity for the reader?! German tends to use more complex sentence structures than English typically does and this may also be impacting fluidity? These issues often occur in direct translation. May I respectfully suggest that a native English speaker lighten the structure and vocabulary a bit, to increase readership. Looking forward to visiting these places with you....
 
Last edited:

donjohannes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Austria - Santiago (1998)
Liechtenstein - Jerusalem (via Russia, Armenia etc) - and back (2013-2014)
@Marbe2
thanks for the feedback. There might be some things I have discussed in PMs that have not yet been mentioned in the thread. Here is the gist of it:

Because the book is 448 pages (in that particular format at least - with all the images) I could not even think of doing a manual translation (time!) nor shelling out the 10,000 € it would likely cost to pay a professional translator. Using DeepL (machine translation) as a basis - may very well have opened some doors where previously there were none. Because that is what you are reading: a machine translation of the published German text (which I confess, as most of my writing, is pretty flowery) with a first edit (fixing mistakes, probably adding new ones and making some adjustments - sorry the " got messed up when transfering the text into Indesign). Unfortunately I simply do not have time for a re-write. But with the feedback generally favorable, I will chip away at that first edit over then next month or two in my free time and then pay an editor to polish it to the degree my budget allows.
Unless a publishing house throws itself at me, I would offer it as a cheap (5-7€) or even free ebook (depending on how much the editor ends up asking). The ebook would be availbale in the usual file formats, but I would provide an additional PDF version for those who appreciate the images and don't mind giving up the flexibilty of the free flowing text that comes with ebook reader files.

Some here have already asked about possible hard copies. Hard copies are wonderful. If a publisher is interested, and the "448-page hard cover in full color" would come with a reasonably low price tag for the reader, then I'm open to the idea. The "reasonable price tag" was the reason I have self published in the past. I did not want a reader to pay 60 € for a two volume set of my Jerusalem books (who would pay that?!). I was able to print and distribute them at half that price while retaining full creative control. Naturally self publishing comes with a caveat. Printed books in color with that kind of page count, only start to have a reasonable production cost when you print 2,000 copies or more. That is not only a significant investment, but also a commitment. You will need to sell a lot of them to break even. Being fortunate enough that I'm frequently booked for large venues (when there is no virus) in the German speaking countries, I've had no difficulty selling multiple editions of my books directly peer to peer (which is well, as I don't do amazon anymore and the shipping costs of a 2,4 pound hard cover are exorbitant precluding book sellers outside Austria). Anyway. The problem with an Englisch language book is simple: I cannot market them directly. So, hard copies in my case would require the support of a publisher. Print on demand is no workaround here as it would result in exorbitant prices for the kind of book we are talking about. So for now, hard copies are not on the table. That said, not even digital copies exist as of yet, so I better get back to work ;-)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
1) Readability. I like it - but I would say it is in ‘well educated English’. Not much you can do about that if you are, indeed, well educated - but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
2) flow. Fine. There is the odd conjunction or preposition missing. I think I spotted two.
3) linguistic soundness. Fine,
4) content: captivating/boring. Well I got through the two pages! I’d read it.
5) how likely you etc. 8

@Marbe2
thanks for the feedback. There might be some things I have discussed in PMs that have not yet been mentioned in the thread. Here is the gist of it:

Because the book is 448 pages (in that particular format at least - with all the images) I could not even think of doing a manual translation (time!) nor shelling out the 10,000 € it would likely cost to pay a professional translator. Using DeepL (machine translation) as a basis - may very well have opened some doors where previously there were none. Because that is what you are reading: a machine translation of the published German text (which I confess, as most of my writing, is pretty flowery) with a first edit (fixing mistakes, probably adding new ones and making some adjustments - sorry the " got messed up when transfering the text into Indesign). Unfortunately I simply do not have time for a re-write. But with the feedback generally favorable, I will chip away at that first edit over then next month or two in my free time and then pay an editor to polish it to the degree my budget allows.
Unless a publishing house throws itself at me, I would offer it as a cheap (5-7€) or even free ebook (depending on how much the editor ends up asking). The ebook would be availbale in the usual file formats, but I would provide an additional PDF version for those who appreciate the images and don't mind giving up the flexibilty of the free flowing text that comes with ebook reader files.

Some here have already asked about possible hard copies. Hard copies are wonderful. If a publisher is interested, and the "448-page hard cover in full color" would come with a reasonably low price tag for the reader, then I'm open to the idea. The "reasonable price tag" was the reason I have self published in the past. I did not want a reader to pay 60 € for a two volume set of my Jerusalem books (who would pay that?!). I was able to print and distribute them at half that price while retaining full creative control. Naturally self publishing comes with a caveat. Printed books in color with that kind of page count, only start to have a reasonable production cost when you print 2,000 copies or more. That is not only a significant investment, but also a commitment. You will need to sell a lot of them to break even. Being fortunate enough that I'm frequently booked for large venues (when there is no virus) in the German speaking countries, I've had no difficulty selling multiple editions of my books directly peer to peer (which is well, as I don't do amazon anymore and the shipping costs of a 2,4 pound hard cover are exorbitant precluding book sellers outside Austria). Anyway. The problem with an Englisch language book is simple: I cannot market them directly. So, hard copies in my case would require the support of a publisher. Print on demand is no workaround here as it would result in exorbitant prices for the kind of book we are talking about. So for now, hard copies are not on the table. That said, not even digital copies exist as of yet, so I better get back to work ;-)

Thank you for your update. Your “ flowery” language, is not an issue IMO. I am sure your self-described style is very fluid in German. Although computers have brought us far in terms of translation, they can also create issues, where, vorher, there were none. I look forward to reading the text and watching the video!
Viel Glück und viel Segen!
 

Joe.Iozzi

Member since 2016
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portuguese 2016, Camino del Norte 2017,
This is an interesting pilgrimage route that I never heard of, so I was happy to learn about it. I think you did an excellent job. The text could use a good editor, mostly for punctuation and syntax, but it is very readable as is. You are a good story-teller.
1) readability: 9
2) flow: 9
3) linguistic soundness:_8
4) content: captivating/boring: Depends on the audience. Non-religious walkers may enjoy the parts that deal with the journey but find the descriptions of the sites too detailed. Religious pilgrims may enjoy those parts the most. If you would like to be the John Brierley of the Alps you will need to reach a good balance between the two. If you are only aiming at religious pilgrims then I think what you have is fine.
 

Rex

One Step at a Time
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
via Francigena (1st Half ~ 6/2021)
Not really a writer, but an avid reader. I could read this story "cover to cover" as we say in the USA. Your command and use of English is excellent and very readable; and the story flows like you were sitting on my lanai telling it to me over a cold beer. The details about the various histories and theological underpinnings are simply small tangents of interest (or not, to some folks) that add color to the telling.
Being a lay student of theology several decades ago and having done multiple camino routes, both in Europe and Japan, this is the kind of reading which fills my retirement winters. Meanwhile, I'm planning the next trek - the VF. Please do continue with your excellent English translation.
Buen Camino
 

donjohannes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Austria - Santiago (1998)
Liechtenstein - Jerusalem (via Russia, Armenia etc) - and back (2013-2014)
@Rex
Thank you. I think you already got to look at the updated version, in which I have started to integrate some of the valuable suggestions by the kind people here and eliminated at least some of the punctuation problems and mistakes.

All the best for the VF! Are you starting in England or Lausanne? I only know the southern part between Lake Geneva and Rome as I walked it backwards on my way home from Jerusalem. I love Italy and the Italians. So I very much enjoyed the VF. Ultreia!
 

Rex

One Step at a Time
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
via Francigena (1st Half ~ 6/2021)
@Rex
Thank you. I think you already got to look at the updated version, in which I have started to integrate some of the valuable suggestions by the kind people here and eliminated at least some of the punctuation problems and mistakes.

All the best for the VF! Are you starting in England or Lausanne? I only know the southern part between Lake Geneva and Rome as I walked it backwards on my way home from Jerusalem. I love Italy and the Italians. So I very much enjoyed the VF. Ultreia!
Thanks for the reply. I will start in England and plan to do the French leg to Great St. Bernard Pass in the first summer (either 2021 or 2022) and then the Italian leg the following summer. I haven't seen your previous videos, so have some catching up to do (from reading the posts above).
Aloha and Happy Thanksgiving (our national holiday this week, and always a great time to stop and reflect and give thanks). Since it also coincides closely (most years) with the beginning of the new liturgical year and Advent, we also recognize it at the beginning of our Holiday Season.
Buen Camino
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
That had me wondering whether I should translate more of it, especially after I found a cheap way to get that process started. It would still be an investment of time and probably I would just pay someone to "english-ify" it to an acceptable level. But it all depends on the base translation.
@donjohannes, the first few pages had me completely hooked. I've read things written by native English speakers that were only a fraction as good as this— in terms of every one of the criteria you asked about, I would give it 9-10 on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is useless and 10 is excellent.

So, should you translate more of it like this? Absolutely. Please.

I very much appreciated the site descriptions and information about history that you folded so skillfully into the account of your journey. It flows together very well.
 

Suzanne H

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Baztan and Frances 2017, Le Puy 2018, Porto 2019
I just want to thank you. I read the entire text you provided with rapt attention. Syntax and punctuation, readability, etc are simply not an issue for the English readers this text will appeal to, in my opinion. If this is your voice, then I hope you change very little, as I loved the style of writing and look forward to many more pages (sans parasitic arachnids!) when available.
 

Jim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
1) readabilty - Very good, but for a sophisticated reader
2) flow - Very good
3) linguistic soundness - Excellent
4) content: captivating/boring - Very good
5) how likely you personally would be to read beyond the pages translated - Very likely

The quality of translation seems excellent.

I will send a few specific comments by private message.
I agree
 

llonya

Laszlo
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre - 2014
Hi @donjohannes,

I have very much enjoyed your film "Via Alpina Sacra"! If it is possible, I would like to read your book or see your film about your previous pilgrimage to Jerusalem too. Unfortunately, I do not speak German. Are they available in English?
 

donjohannes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Austria - Santiago (1998)
Liechtenstein - Jerusalem (via Russia, Armenia etc) - and back (2013-2014)
@Rex
Great. I wish you a good start on the VF and a journey with many blessings. I checked if our paths could cross next year (as I hope to start on the Via Columbani from Ireland to Italy) but it only briefly intersects with the VF 4 times. Ultreia and a fruitful Advent to you.

@VNwalking , @Suzanne H , @Jim
thank you for the kind feedback.

@llonya
Glad you liked it. My Jerusalem film "To where God dwells" (60 min) is available on Reelhouse. https://www.reelhouse.org/birettballett/to-where-god-dwells It is in English. Though I should note, that it is very different from the Via Alpina Sacra travel doc. It is a journey into silence and there is just original sound and no music or talking for almost the entire film. The scenes are windows into days along the way. I hope that for the viewer it is a little like joining me in the raw experience of it. Some I'm sure would find it utterly boring but those who are pilgrims might feel like joining me for a little while. In case you chose to watch it and enjoy it, I can recommend you the film "Into Great Silence" which was the inspiration for that approach.
The Jerusalem books (2 vol.s) have not been translated. Maybe in the future but if it happens it will likely take quite a while.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
@donjohannes " Into Great Silence " is indeed a film that has left a great impact on me.

If someone wants to know more...


The trailer

 

Advertisement

Booking.com

Similar threads

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 57 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 202 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 330 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 96 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 25 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.0%
  • September

    Votes: 386 29.0%
  • October

    Votes: 160 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top