By in Personal

I volunteered at my local library and didn't shelve 1 book!

For those of you that don't know, I have a major in German. I started my German language training in high school, all four years. Then when I went to college, I took a German class every semester for five years. I don't know that I ever felt 'fluent' but I could probably survive if I was dropped off in a German speaking country with only my wits.

Today, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw something that caught my eye. My local library had posted a picture of the front page of a very old German book. The reference librarian was translating it for a patron and was open to anyone that could help. Initially, I just glanced at it then went about my internet-business. The next thing I knew, I had half a dozen internet tabs open including my old fallback online German dictionary. It took a little bit of Google-magic but I ended up with about half the page translated and scribbled onto notebook paper. The hardest part was trying to read the Old English type font. Instead of calling or emailing, I hopped in my car and drove the five blocks.

She and I sat down in her office and hashed out what I had found. She was thrilled and we both had a lot of fun putting the puzzle together. We didn't get everything translated but we got a good feel about what the book contained. For the curious persons, the book was Johann Friedrich Stark's Tägliches Handbuch in guten und bösen Tagen, für Gesunde, Betrübte, Kranke und Sterbende , or 'Daily Handbook in good and bad days, for Health, Sadness, Illness and Death.'

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valmnz wrote on January 29, 2015, 5:51 PM

I can imagine how pleased the librarian must have been and your own sense of achievement in being able to help. Well done.

GayleStorm wrote on January 29, 2015, 6:14 PM

Thank you. I actually used to work there too so it was nice to catch up as well.

lionpaw wrote on January 29, 2015, 7:49 PM

That is one interesting sounding book. I have a few old steins my grandmother received as gifts from her late husband who served in the wars. I tried an online translator to figure out what they said and ended up emailing a company that sold them. They supplied translations that read a lot nicer and make much better sense than my online translator attempts!

zabelle51 wrote on January 29, 2015, 9:17 PM

Well that title is certainly a mouthful I am trying to imagine what it actually is about. :)

BarbRad wrote on January 30, 2015, 1:31 AM

i haven't used my German for a long time. I'd have to have a dictionary in my hand to do much translating now, even though I was a German minor in college. Had we had the internet back then, I might have been able to get more practice using my German on social sites.

GayleStorm wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:03 AM

I wouldn't have even thought of contacting the company. It's so great they did that for you and you can enjoy those gifts just a little bit more.

GayleStorm wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:07 AM

From the rest of the title page, I can say there were lots of prayers for multiple situations and some illustrations.

GayleStorm wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:08 AM

That's a really good idea! I just don't think I have enough self-confidence in my skills to try conversing with native speakers, even though it's an excellent way to learn.

seren3 wrote on January 30, 2015, 1:15 PM

It is quite wonderful what life will bring us sometimes!

AliCanary wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:07 AM

Well done! I took one summer course in German between seventh and eighth grade, so I got just the basics. I got about five or six of those words in the title, which wouldn't be much help. My sister speaks pretty fluent German, but I went on to study French, instead. Oh, well!