TALKS Werke & Tage “I enjoy translating texts that are a bit extreme”
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“I enjoy translating texts that are a bit extreme”

Film Series Translating. Work and Days.

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Übersetzen. Werke und Tage: Gabriele Leupold

Gabriele Leupold was born in 1954 into a displaced family: her father originally came from Silesia, her mother from East Prussia. She grew up in Rhineland-Palatinate with the feeling that “real life is happening somewhere else”. She read Dostoyevsky as a teenager and wanted to study psychology. But then she turned to Slavic Studies. When she travelled to the USSR for the first time in the early 1970s, she was impressed by the size of the country and the variety of worlds. She made friends, also with dissidents. As a student she already began translating challenging works of literature. From the beginning, she had a love for authors who “consist of language”. Ossip Mandelstam’s “Conversation about Dante”, translated together with Wolfgang Beilenhoff, was one of her first publications. Today, we can read Andrei Bely, Andrei Platonov and Varlam Shalamov in Gabriele Leupold’s translation. She likes building bridges between people. Shortly before reunification, she founded the “Berliner Russischgruppe” with others. The group is still active and is an important place of exchange between translators of different generations.

Filmstill: Gabriele Leupold

The series Translating. Work and Days portrays ten translators of different generations who talk about their lives and their work. All of them translate into German from Slavic languages. In the 9 films, Ganna-Maria Braungardt, Claudia Dathe, Christiane Körner, Gabriele Leupold, Aljonna Möckel, Thomas Reschke, Rosemarie Tietze, Thomas Weiler, as well as the duo Günter Hirt & Sascha Wonders alias Sabine Hänsgen and Georg Witte, all speak to us. Their accounts of origins, encounters, discoveries, and experiences are set against the backdrop of photographic documents. Personal histories are told against the background of greater history. The series was in the process of being made when Russia began its large scale invasion of Ukraine on the 24th February 2022. Thus the last intermediate chapter in the films came into being: The War.


Idea, Director, Producer: Anna Shibarova
Camera, Sound and Editing: Elizaveta Snagovskaia
English subtitles: David Drevs, James Cohen
Russian subtitles: Anna Borisova, Alexander Dolganov, Marina Novikova (Irina Alexeeva, St. Petersburg)


The series “Translating. Work and Days” was funded by the Deutscher Übersetzerfonds through the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme. The video-portraits will be published at regular intervals from July 2023.

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