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Old Jul 20, 2009, 05:55 PM   #1
reidgold
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Translating Weidauer

This past January a fellow collector came up with the idea of getting a group of collectors together to share in the cost of having Liselotte Weidauer's 1975 book Problemeder frühen Elektronprägung (Problems in Early Electrum Coinage) translated from German into English. This is the standard reference on early electrum coins. The plates are useful, but if you don't read German, her other thoughts are inaccessible. Though the book is 34 years old and long out of print, I suspect it includes some interesting and still very relevant material.

I jumped in to help spread the word and see who might be interested, but as happens frequently enough online nothing ever came of it except a lot of heated talk, in this case about how this was or was not a violation of international copyright laws. This may have (understandably) scared off the person who came up with the idea for this project, and not hearing back from him after several recent emails spread out over a period of months, I thought I'd see what I could do.

What I first did is email several German auction houses to try to contact Dr. Weidauer personally, and M&M was good enough to forward to her my email. I had asked her explicitly for her permission for a group of us to share the cost of translating her book. She agreed, writing, "I am glad to hear, that my book is used and of course a translation into English will be much easier for you. I'm quite willing to give the permission."

In the past I've had several ancient numismatic books or parts of books translated from German and French into English for my own use, with some projects going better than others. I've used university professors in the U.S. (these two went well enough), a grad student in the U.S. highly recommended by his faculty advisor (the student never did the work), and a numismatist in Europe (who wound up taking about ten times longer than he initially indicated he would, with one personal problem after another delaying him).

I think the most cost-effective solution for this project might be to hire a numismatist in the U.S. who's fluent in German and has either done a project like this or is well aware of what's involved in translating this 114-page book. There are of course professional translators out there who could do this, but in checking around last time I discovered that the cost in using such a person for a book project can be prohibitive.

I have no one in mind to do this project. My making this announcement here, and in several other online forums, is twofold:

1) To ask if anyone feels that he or she can take on this translation project or who knows a numismatist fluent in German in the U.S. who might.

2) To ask again who would like to share in the cost of this translation project.

What I would do is simply divide the fee charged by whatever translator we wind up with by the number of people who want a copy. A fairly wild guess is that the cost would be about $20, but it could be more or less. Once I know what the cost per person is, anyone who initially expresses interest but feels the cost is too high is free to drop out.

This project is no more and no less than a good-faith attempt to make accessible the thinking of a well-respected numismatist.

If this project goes well, perhaps it might be the first of other such projects.

Best to contact me at

weidauerproject@gmail.com

which is an email address I just set up for this.
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