Ela Kremer

Ela Kremer - Translator

Bermatingen, Germany

Native German translator/editor ("transitor") with a background in law. Lover of genre and literary fiction, ardent hater of "Denglish".

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I am a former German lawyer turned legal writer/translator turned passionate, meticulous yet creative translator/editor ("transitor") of fiction and non-fiction. Put simply, I am really good at utilising the right German words to make your story available to a whole different market and a rather discerning audience.

While I still freelance as a lawyer-linguist for the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, translating complex legal texts from English into German, these past years I have focused on translating and editing genre fiction. Mainly military thrillers and a couple of heist stories. The first book I worked on was a rather sensual/explicit romance story - 70k words later I knew that this isn't for me.

I am interested in trying out different genres and going forward, would particularly love to take on some legal drama since that would play to my strengths. Working on eight military thrillers has made me become somewhat of a helicopter pilot as well as a decent commander of aircraft carriers, attack helicopters and submarines. These rather technology-heavy plots required extensive research, which I would like to put to good use in the future. At one point I came close to playing Silent Hunter (a submarine combat simulation game) with Tom Clancy’s “A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship” becoming my bedtime reading…

Anyway, I wouldn’t describe myself as an old-school translator, though until a few years ago I would decline to even proofread “ghastly” machine translations.

That was then and now is now. Translating content isn't what it used to be - CAT tools and certain translation systems have improved so much in recent years that they changed the way I work. While the output I provide will always be a human translation, depending on the complexity of any given text neural machine translation services can certainly provide a viable first draft. This file will then be validated against the source file sentence by sentence, word by word, and go through two rounds of editing & proofreading. Every book is a battle for the best possible outcome: a natural-sounding and engaging translation.

Originally, I started out editing other people’s German translations; but I soon realised that there had to be a better way of producing a great German version of popular English books. Most of the files I encountered needed not only heavy editing but effectively re-writing. Two out of four were pretty much raw machine translations submitted as the work of a human. I have yet to be hired as an editor/proofreader and actually just edit or proofread a translation. It hasn’t happened yet.

That’s why I prefer to validate/translate/edit - call it what you want - a decent machine translation any day and turn it into something beautiful and enticing!

My workload remains the same anyway. I am passionate about a good plot and about utilising my mother tongue to make any kind of content as good as it can be.

As a writer myself, I know how important it is to keep an author’s voice intact. In the end, I want to deliver your message, your story and grow your readership in the DACH region! And maybe I should call my area of expertise "transitoring"... after all, that is what I am really good at and love doing.

BTW: I have listed all the books I have worked on as a translator/editor with the above-described method even though some of them credit other people as translators. And they did provide translations. However, once you make more than 66k necessary changes to a 100k word book, it's not copy editing anymore. In reality, you have produced a new (version of the) translation. The versions that got published are my work and I can prove it.

"Ela Kremer performed German-language editing as well as English to German translation work for us on multiple books. She was professional, responsive, and easy to work with. I highly recommend her as an editor and translator!"

—Andrew Watts, Severn River Publishing
Book Translation
Translation Assessment
English to German
Contemporary Fiction
Legal Thriller
Mystery & Crime
True Crime

Work experience

Self-employed translator/editor/writer

June, 2014 – Present (about 8 years)

After working for financial and legal publishers in London for a few years, I moved back to Germany in 2014 and embarked on my freelancing career. Having worked for numerous clients mainly in the financial, legal and medical sectors, I started translating/editing fiction books for US-based Severn River Publishing. In the past 3 years, I have translated/edited 11 books by various authors with a focus on military thrillers.

Portfolio (11 selected works)

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