Mauro Baudino & Gerben van Vlimmeren - All rights reserved.
Interpretation and translation.The German language is very much alive and this means that small changes in styles, words and meanings develop over time which causes certain risks. One needs to have a basic understanding of the terminology of the time and the subject (in this case the gun business) in order to interpret and translate this material correctly. Luckily for me the early Dutch and early German languages share a lot of common aspects, which was quite helpful in some cases. A good knowledge of the companies, the major players and the products involved also helps to interpret the material more effectively. The cooperation of Paul Mauser was important, however. He wrote most of his notes while sitting in the train. These notes are usually well written and relatively straightforward to interpret. Things got worse when he was making notes as he went along. These quick scribbles while standing or walking are very hard to interpret and there are several examples of texts that Paul himself rewrote because he had trouble decoding what he had scribbled down himself! When we have re-assembled and interpreted the German texts themselves, the next challenge begins. Translating these notes from German into English is not as straightforward as one might expect. First there is the technical jargon, which is not only specific for the business, but also for a certain timeframe. Furthermore it is impossible to simply translate the texts word by word. It would lead to some babelesque 'Google' translation that is quite funny to read but is mostly useless. So the translation effort is done by interpreting the text and rewriting it in a way that is understandable and logical in the modern English speaking world. The worst things to translate (and some even can't be translated properly) are word jokes. And although Paul was a rather bad joker, he did write down a couple of them. The pun surrounding the 'Eierfrau' (or 'Egg Lady', a women who sold fresh eggs) is completely lost in translation. The problem is that Germans refer to certain male genital parts as 'Eier'.