Your Questions

Before deciding to hire me, you’ll probably have a few questions. You’ll find my answers to some frequent questions on this page. But if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me.

Do you make any changes to words and sentences while transliterating old script?

As a basic rule, I don’t change anything, but only transliterate word by word, and letter by letter. Even if there are spelling and grammar mistakes in the original text, I will transliterate them exactly as they are and not “correct” anything, because that might have a distorting effect.

In some cases, spelling mistakes might even play an important role – e.g. if the spelling of surnames changed over time because someone spelled it wrong on an official document. In other cases, the original writing style just gives you a better picture of the writer. When I look at the mistakes my great-great-grandfather made when he wrote a letter, it helps me see him as a real person.

Can you really read everything? What happens when there’s something you can’t read? 

Despite a lot of practice, there are some handwritings even I can’t read. I’m glad this only happens rarely. A more common problem is when there are a few words or abbreviations in an otherwise legible text that I can’t decipher. In that case I will mark these words in my transliteration.

What do I need to know about your English translations?

My native language is German, and professional translators usually translate into their native languages. This is because, no matter how hard you’ve studied a foreign language, you won’t be perfect at it. Therefore, for larger amounts of text, I would rather give you a summary of the contents than a word-for-word translation. For simpler documents, such as birth certificates, church records, or shorter letters and postcards, word-for-word translations are usually not a problem. But please note that my English is not perfect.

How do you calculate the price for transcriptions and translations?

The price is simply based on the number of words (or, for longer documents, pages) in the original document. My basic price is 0,12 € per word for only transcription, and 0,16 € per word for transcription plus English translation, but I reserve the right to set a higher price for especially complicated, difficult-to-read documents. On the other hand, I’ll happily give discount for simple or long texts. Especially for longer documents, like diaries or collections of letters, I prefer setting an individual price per page – usually between 7 € and 12 €. For further clarification, just send me a message with a sample page and I’ll name a binding price for your documents.