HirschTransfer

 
I enjoy translating - because I have "work-work" balance!
Work never gets boring for me.  Translating is something I grew into naturally because I have done many things in my life that helped me hone my skills, and I like it - just as I like my other business pursuits that I have picked for myself.
 
After earning a high school teaching degree in music and physical education in Hamburg, Germany, and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, I was first a broadcaster with Radio Hamburg and then with Voice of America in Washington, D.C.  Then, I built my own radio studio and started covering music and other cultural events from all over the United States for German public radio stations.  Eight years later, I felt ready to try something new and went to law school.  First, I got my JD from the George Washington University, then an LL.M. in tax law from Georgetown University.  I passed the bar exams in New York, New Jersey and Virginia and waived into the Washington, D.C. Bar.  Then I joined KPMG: first in Philadelphia, then Washington, D.C., then Frankfurt.  Shortly after returning to the United States in December of 2011, I decided to set out on my own again and to apply all I have learned in a diversified business. 
 
I have been going full cycle: From exploring the German music world to exploring the music world in the United States to exploring the business world in the United States to plunging into the German business world.  Good for me - but how would this make me a better translator?  Many things that I have done before included meticulous dealing with the German as well as the English language, acquiring specialized vocabulary, and developing sensitivity for style and meaning of language.

Radio
The highlight of my journalism career was my time as a freelancer from 1993 to 2001.  During that time, I interviewed classical musicians like Van Cliburn, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman and jazz artists like Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, and Bobby McFerrin.  I anchored live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York for direct broadcasts to Germany, and I served an audience of more than one million radio listeners in all parts of Germany.  I often provided my U.S. contacts with English translations of my stories. 

Now that I am on my own again, I am starting a comeback as radio journalist, adding legal topics to cultural topics.  When I reached out to the German radio stations in 2011, I was pleased to find out that I was still well-remembered after my sabbatical of more than ten years. 

My work as a journalist is described here - a bilingual website which includes summaries of my radio stories; the texts in English and German are mine.  Stay tuned for regular updates, as I am back in the business!

 
Novel
While working for KPMG, I assisted taxpayers, preparing spreadsheets, memoranda, transfer pricing documentation and other deliverables, and I also published several articles on transfer pricing issues.  Although I always strived for a lively and reader-friendly language, I had to adopt a more sober style than I had cultivated as a music journalist (but see this one, which is a bit lighter, written shortly before I joined KPMG).  However, while I was working for KPMG Frankfurt in 2010 and 2011, I also made an old dream happen: I wrote a novel.  Inventing the story of a quirky individual dealing with the lure of the forbidden, comical failures, his struggle for self-improvement and his quest for love allowed me to write in an even more personable style than I had been able to as a journalist.  "Smoking Fetish - the Temptations of Well-behaved Franz Lis(z)t" (translation of the original title) shows what can happen to a guy in an environment changing from smoker-friendly to anti-smoking when his attitude towards smoking is as ambivalent as his ideas of what kind of woman he would like to have in his life!  
Agenda Verlag in Münster published the novel in 2011 as e-book; I am hoping for a paperback version in the foreseeable future.  I have also translated my novel into English, and I am now looking for a suitable publisher or literary agent in the United States, the motherland of anti-smoking movement and smoking fetish subculture. 
 
If you know German and want some leisurly reading after a long work day, take a look at the first chapter, or - if you already have an e-book reader - you can order the novel.
 
Karate
About the same time I started law school - in 2001 - I also began studying Seichou karate.  Lucky me!  Training several times per week kept me sane and healthy throughout my demanding studies at law school and also during my tenure at KPMG.  While working for KPMG in Philadelphia, I often drove back to the dojo in Alexandria, VA, to attend classes.  
 
The day after I returned from my 2-year assignment to Frankfurt, I found an apartment across the street from the dojo, which has become my second home.  Now I am an assistant instructor, and I hope to win over as many people as possible for the Seichou Karate Dojo, which brings together students from all walks of life who share their devotion to martial arts, intellectual prowess and career success.  Seichou Karate students also have plenty opportunities to learn more about Japanese culture and language.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of Alexandria, VA, then check Seichou Karate out; or click here if you are just curious what your tax law translator looks like in a dogi!
 
 

 Piano

In case you checked out what I look like when wearing a dogi (see above), then you already know a bit about my piano playing.  It may not be obvious, but I think that karate and piano go together really well, because both demand focus and practice, and both allow the performer to express him- or herself.  
 
I started playing the piano at age 5 and have played ever since - sometimes more, sometimes less, but over the years, I have always discovered new approaches.  As a very young kid, it was most important for me to impress others with dexterity.  As a teenager, I participated in a couple of competitions and found out that I was good, but not good enough for a pianistic career.  So I continued my piano studies as a young adult in a curriculum for music teachers.  As a music journalist, I had the pleasure of meeting and inverviewing giant pianists - on one hand, a humbling experience, but on the other hand, inspiring and even encouraging.  Once, when interviewing pianist György Sándor (1912-2005), we discussed how I could better manage Bartok's "Allegro Barbaro," and he showed me a few valuable tricks on how to make life easier for myself in the most demanding passages. 

As mentioned before, I played in competitions.  I also played at my high school prom, in a nursing home, in a noisy and crowded bar (when the rock'n'roll musician, a friend of mine, took a break), I have played at events at Seichou Karate, and I play for friends and family.  I also stepped in the shoes of the hero of my novel, Franz List, to promote the novel on YouTube.  Pianists can meet interesting folks!