Europäischer Tag der Sprachen! Getting to Know the German Supermarket

Unsere Übersetzer*innen stellen sich vor – Brad aus den USA

Wer bist du? Stell dich bitte kurz vor.

My name is Brad. I’m from the U.S., and I’ve been a freelance translator of German for about 20 years. 

Wie lange arbeitest du schon mit uns zusammen?

I’ve been working with Sprachenfabrik for about three years.

Welche Art von Texten übersetzt du besonders gern? Was sind deine Fachgebiete?

Provided I’m familiar with the subject matter, I enjoy translating almost any material that’s well written. Since I’m somewhat of a computer nerd with a technical bent, I can sometimes be helpful with topics related to software development or computer science — although the field of IT is becoming so large and pervasive that it’s getting difficult to maintain an overview of everything. Early in my freelancing career, I spent many years translating various kinds of corporate communications material: press releases, employee magazines, speeches, and things like that. I still like to do those things, because the work tends to come in digestible portions.

Ich arbeite gern mit der Sprachenfabrik zusammen, weil …

The people are a pleasure to work with. And Sprachenfabrik has made it very easy to work with the team productively in almost every way. For example, the project managers are professional and friendly. Their communication is excellent, and I know that if I need assistance with something or clarification, I can contact them and get a response right away. There’s also a manageable number of them (so I’m not continually contacted by people I don’t feel that I know at all), and they have reasonable expectations. In addition to great people, Sprachenfabrik also has good procedures in place and uses efficient software and platforms. So in most ways that matter, conditions are great for working together.

Vor einiger Zeit bist du von den USA nach Deutschland umgezogen: Wie kam es dazu? Was war der Grund oder was waren die Gründe für deine Entscheidung?

There are a number of reasons why I moved to Germany. For one thing, I felt I could benefit from hearing and speaking German more regularly. For a long time, I worked from a home office in the U.S. and didn’t speak German that much anymore. So on one level, it makes sense to brush up my listening comprehension and speaking skills. But there are other reasons. I’ve lived in Germany for extended periods before. I lived in Berlin-Charlottenburg for years, for example, and people know me here. It feels like being home in many ways. I have professional contacts in Germany as well as social contacts. And, of course, there’s a fairly high quality of life in Germany. I was actually in Berlin when the worst of the financial crisis unfolded in the U.S., and based on what I’ve seen since then, I’m not sure everything is back to normal there yet. It’s true you can now pay too much for an overpriced house again, so things are back to normal in that sense, but the rental housing market has become harsher for tenants. (It’s actually worse than it’s ever been.) I know people in Seattle who are paying two to three times what I do for much less. So it’s not as though I’m making a big sacrifice financially by living in Berlin.

Was gefällt dir am Leben in Deutschland? Was gefällt dir nicht? Was ist ganz anders oder gewöhnungsbedürftig im Vergleich zum Leben in den USA?

One of the things I like most about Germany is the European blackbird (Amsel). It’s a common bird in Germany and Europe, but we don’t have that particular bird in the U.S. It has an extremely varied and beautiful song. It’s an amazing treasure. Another thing I especially like is the German bakeries, although I can’t eat the cakes and tortes as often as I used to.

One thing I don’t particularly like about Germany, that takes some getting used to, is how short the days are in the winter and the lack of sun at various times of the year. There seems to be an unusual amount of cloud cover at times. But when we have summers like this year and never-ending sunny weather, I think maybe I’ve been all wrong about that and the weather is perfect after all. I also like the flora in this part of Europe. In the Pacific Northwest, where I used to live, there are lots of mountains and evergreen trees, and that can be impressive. But I prefer the deciduous forests in this part of Europe. They resemble what I grew up with near the Great Lakes in the U.S.