Bootstrapping: Challenges of translating Camino book from English to German

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“It’s an idiomatic phrase that we don’t really have in German,” explained Thomas with a frown. I couldn’t really SEE his frown, but I could HEAR it. I was sitting in my car in Flagstaff, Arizona, talking on WhatsApp to the linguistic expert who is translating my first Camino book from English to German. The young Deutscher just moved to Brisbane, Australia, last month so it is somewhat difficult to set an appointment where our time zones don’t collide. It was 5 pm my time and 10 am his time. I’d just completed my last meeting of the day and could give my full attention to the international call.

“You say in your book that you ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.’ We don’t really say that in German,” Thomas continued. Bootstrapping may just be a purely American thing. “We do say that we pull ourselves up by our hair,” he added.

“That would work,” I replied, and thought, “This guy is GOOD! I am so blessed to have met him in Paris.” Thomas and I had accidentally, or perhaps with divine intervention, met in Paris, France, when we walked a pilgrimage from the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Chartres Cathedral 100 km away. The Christian Paris to Chartres pilgrimage that takes place every year during Pentecost has roots in the Middle Ages. The pilgrimage is called Notre-Dame de Chrétienté in French.

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Even though I was older than Thomas’ mother, we had walked together joking and laughing much of the way. (When we weren’t lamenting blisters, sleep deprivation or exhaustion.) In three days filled with challenges and joy, Thomas and I got to know each other well. When I learned that he was a professional translator, I asked the twenty-eight-year-old about interpreting my first book, Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago. Since publication, many Germans have recommended that I translate the text into their language.

“I could work on it in September, after I move to Australia,” he smiled. “I’ll have time then.” Since Pentecost was in mid-May, I had plenty of time to prepare my manuscript and raise funds to pay for his services.

But last night Thomas wasn’t laughing or joking too much. This translation was serious business for the young scholar and he approached me with the respect due a valued client. “Maybe I am being too German here, but I want to discuss each of these changes with you. You have laid your heart out in this book. And you’ve been very true to the Bible scriptures that you quote. I don’t want to change the words [imagery] without your approval,” he said sternly.

The impossible task of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is analogous to the achievement of getting out of difficult situations through your own efforts. The German version uses “Schopf,” an archaic word for “hair” or “head of hair” and is used in this context because it is from an old proverb. Today’s use of “schopf” means “swamp.”

The excerpt from my Camino devotional that uses the bootstrapping idiomatic phrase:

Seven years ago, during a self-imposed weekend retreat, I heard the Lord whisper, “Walk El Camino de Santiago.” El Camino hadn’t crossed my mind for over a decade; and, in fact, I really didn’t know much about the ancient pilgrimage route. Yet I felt the Lord’s call to take a spiritual journey. The obedient act of walking would teach me to shift my emphasis from trust in a busy calendar to trust in God’s provision. I had to let go of the belief that if only I had enough sales appointments, won enough sales contests, (fill in the blank with your own if only,) then I would be perfectly happy. I thought of myself as self-made, and relished the image of me – a working woman – pulling myself up by my own bootstraps, or in my case, by my own Bandolino Italian leather pumps.

The German translation of that excerpt:

Vor sieben Jahren dann, während eines Einkehrwochenendes, hörte ich den Herrn zu mir sagen: „Begib dich auf den Jakobsweg.“ Der Jakobsweg war mir damals schon über ein Jahrzehnt nicht mehr in den Sinn gekommen und ich wusste auch nicht allzu viel über diese historische Route. Allerdings fühlte ich einen starken Ruf, mich auf eine spirituelle Reise zu begeben. Laufen hat etwas von Demut und ich hoffte, dass mir eine Pilgerreise dabei helfen würde, mein Vertrauen in Gottes Plan anstatt in einen vollen Terminplaner zu setzen. Ich musste loskommen von dem Gedanken, dass ich eigentlich nur genug Verträge brauchte; eigentlich nur genügend Wettbewerbe gewinnen müsste, um endlich glücklich zu sein. Jeder hat irgendwo ein „eigentlich nur“, eine Bedingung für das Glück. Mein Selbstbild war das einer eigenständigen, erfolgreichen Frau, die sich in schwierigen Situation am eigenen Schopf aus dem Sumpf zieht. In meinem Fall an einem aufwändig frisierten Schopf.

Order the English version by clicking here: Amazon.com

German version now available at https://www.amazon.de

Spiritual & Walking Guides releases new book: Lourdes to St Jean Pied de Port

Spiritual & Walking Guides just released its latest book: Spiritual & Walking Guide: Lourdes to St Jean Pied de Port. The Camino guide book is today’s most comprehensive spiritual guide for walking from Lourdes to St Jean de Pied Port in France. Order at Amazon by clicking here: http://amzn.to/2cTM0Xt

Many modern pilgrims desire to walk the primitive pilgrimage route from Lourdes to St Jean Pied de Port, France, and beyond onto the Camino Frances. But, until now, few guides have been published in the English language for the Voie du Piémont Pyrénéen sections of the Camino walk.

Spiritual and Walking Guide front-coverThe three-in-one book incorporates daily devotionals, Bible verses and way guides that will help prepare your heart for a closer walk with God.
Included in the book: 
• Maps for wayfinding
• Daily scripture readings – no need to carry a heavy Bible
• Meditations that help you hear God’s direction for your life
• Questions for reflection to make the most of your pilgrimage
• Details about where to sleep, daily distances walked and essential websites
• Insider travel tips
• How to procure a Pilgrim Credential
Here then is a guide ideally suited to you, the pilgrim, who is seeking both spiritual and terrestrial direction while walking the Camino route from Lourdes to St Jean Pied de Port in France.With space to journal thoughts and revelations about your Lourdes pilgrimage, you’ll hold onto this book as a keepsake f
or many years to come.
About the Author
Stacey Wittig is a Spirit-led Christian, who was transformed by the Camino de Santiago experience and now writes about hiking and pilgrimage.
About Spiritual & Walking Guide: Lourdes to St Jean Pied de Port:
List Price: $24.99
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Full Color on White paper
106 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1537021508
ISBN-10: 1537021508
BISAC: Travel / Special Interest / Religious
Order on Amazon by clicking here: http://amzn.to/2cTM0Xt

A Table on the Road: Saugues, France

Joseph.Jacob.crop.800Correspondence from the Way on April 30, 2016. Le Puy du Velay (Via Podiensis) to Santiago. Reprinted from Pinewood News.

Today I saw a beautiful young Italian woman laughing at the weather with snowflakes clinging to her dark eyelashes. The flakes were large and falling slowly until the intermittent wind drove them fast into our faces. It’s the last day of April near Le Puy, France, and I didn’t expect snow.

Everytime I’ve brought lightweight gloves to France or Spain to walk one of the ancient pilgrimage routes known best in the US as the Camino de Santiago, I haven’t needed them, so I left them behind. Today I would have loved to have a pair. I kept  telling myself that I really couldn’t get frostbite in 20F-degree weather, but it still didn’t help my numbing fingers.

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Today I also saw hundreds of yellow daffodils decorating a carpet of grass through which a small, meandering stream flowed. I’d never seen daffodils, called jonquils here in France, in the wild before and the contrast  between the yellow and the green stopped me in my tracks. That was before the snow started on Les Chemins de St Jacques.

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Later, after the falling snow subsided for awhile, I saw four men in the forest standing, talking and laughing next to a gate in our pathway. It seemed a good spot to stop and talk to the pilgrims who were catching up with us from behind, what with another field of jonquils within sight, this time with their cheery faces turned down towards a bed of snow. Evidently this place had inspired others before us, because scrawled across an otherwise wordless yield sign nearby were the words, “I love mi lyfe.”

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“Would you like a banana?” Pierre offered to each of the other three men and me. It was an awefully big bunch of very long bananas — too much for one man to be carrying in his backpack. “Please, have a banana,” he offered again after each of us had politely declined.

“Well, if we can help you out,” Joseph, the Belgian laughed. Each pilgrim took one and in unison peeled their bananas and took a bite.
“I have to take a picture of this,” I said taking my camera out. They all hammed it up for me and I thought, “What a beautiful and healthful Camino family I have found here in France. If I were taking this photo in Spain, the guys would be lifting their beers, not their bananas.”

07-DAY THREE Sauges to Le Sauvage (17)800

Later at lunch, Joseph showed me a wooden, hand-carved shell the size of a small snail. The scallop shell, the symbol of St James, held a special story for Joseph. “Yesterday, it was hot and I wanted something to drink, and I saw a sign that read ‘NENE.’ After walking to the sign, I saw a man whose clothes were so dirty. He needed a haircut. Normally I would not stop and speak to such a man. But I wanted something to drink.”

“He sat at a table on the road. On the same table that he had a red wine bottle, glass half drunk, bread, cheese, he also collected machine parts, old oil cans, petrol cans and rusty tools. The table was dark and dirty and behind it, he sat in a wheelchair.”

“But the guy was so happy that in a few moments we were exchanging about our families and lives. I spent 20 minutes with the man. He told me that he had a job to install high electric cable all over the world. But then he had an accident and fell.

So he came back here, to his parents’ house in this small village. He told me that it is his pleasure and his life to stay and invite pilgrims for something to drink and talk to them during their pilgrimage.”
“He gave me this shell,” Joseph said fingering it lovingly. I asked him, ‘How much do you want?’ ‘No, it is a gift,’ the man said. It was my first unordinary happening on the Camino.”

“When I finally walked away, within 200 yards of leaving his place I had tears in my eyes. ‘Joseph, do you now understand why you are walking Compostela?’ I heard. This guy opened my eyes. I was wondering why I was on this way. It (the reason) is for exchanging with others. I’m not only walking the Camino for myself but for the community that I find here. I am part of what is making this man’s happiness and he is part of mine.”

08-DAY FOUR Le Sauvage to Aumont-Aubrac (18)800

‘The author is a trustworthy guide,’ says Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition review

Presbyterian-Outlook-2016_Page_1“The author is a trustworthy guide,” announced the review of Spiritual and Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago on the El Camino by Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition released this month. Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition included ‘Spiritual & Walking Guide’ on page seventeen of their annual spring book review publication. The book recommendations and reviews are compiled by Roy W. Howard, Outlook book editor.

“The author has walked the Camino de Santiago several times and provides a devotional guide for pilgrims walking the portion from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compostela,” states Howard.

Link to Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition

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To learn more about the Camino devotional written by Stacey Wittig, go to Amazon.com. The Camino guide includes scriptures for The Way, recommendations for places to sleep, questions for reflection and pages to journal thoughts.

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The Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition review reads:

Spiritual and Walking Guide:

Leon to Santiago on the El Camino

Stacey Wittig

Spiritual Walking Guides, 104 pages

The author has walked the Camino de Santiago several times and provides a devotional guide for pilgrims walking the portion from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. The guide includes daily Scripture readings, mediations and questions for personal reflection. There are details about where to sleep and how to navigate your way without maps. The author is a trustworthy guide.

‘Spiritual & Walking Guide’ to be included in Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition

PresybterianOutlookSpiritual & Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago is to be included in Presbyterian Outlook’s Spring Books Edition. We received that news today from their book editor. Look for the review next month at http://pres-outlook.org/category/faith-culture/reviews/book-reviews. The spiritual and walking guide book for people walking the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route through northern Spain is available in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com.

The daily devotional and walking guide helps Camino pilgrims to:

  • prepare their hearts for the pilgrimage,
  • meditate on Bible scriptures appropriate for the terrain,
  • find their way, and
  • debrief after the walk and assimilate what they’ve found on The Way into their lives back home.

To learn more about the Camino devotional written by Stacey Wittig, go to Amazon.com. The Camino guide includes scriptures for The Way, recommendations for places to sleep, questions for reflection and pages to journal thoughts.

From the Presbyterian Outlook website:

The Presbyterian Outlook is an independent biweekly magazine on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Our mission is to equip, nurture and inspire church leaders within the Reformed tradition to be faithful servants in a dynamic, changing and challenging time. For nearly 200 years we have been a trusted source of news, commentary and resources.

Best Camino Christmas Gift Ever: 3 Reasons Why

Camino-Christmas-TreeLooking for the perfect Christmas gift for your Camino pilgrim? Whether your pilgrim has already walked the Camino de Santiago through northern Spain or is planning on doing so, this book makes for the perfect holiday present. Spiritual & Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago is a daily devotional for pilgrims trekking along the ancient way.

Three Reasons Why this Camino book is the Best Camino Christmas Gift Ever:

The gift of this book expresses your thoughtfulness of acknowledging and honoring their Camino adventure. The daily guide includes short stories found along the way and scripture verses that go along with them.

  1. Affordable. The book is available for your budget, whether it be the paperback version or the even more reasonably priced e-version made for Kindle or other electronic devices on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book sellers throughout the world.
  2. Gift wrap? No problem, order the paperback book at Amazon and select the gift wrap option, and your Camino gift will be sent already wrapped in festive paper and ribbon to surprise your pilgrim friend or relative. No muss, no fuss.
  3. The Reason for the Season. Giving a book chock full of Christian scriptures included because they are metaphors for our walk with Christ reminds us of the Reason for the Season: the entry of Jesus Christ into our world. The best gift ever.

“Day by day, step by step the author takes us on the coveted journey that millions of people have walked, ridden donkeys and horses, or been carried to this most famous Christian pilgrimage site after Jerusalem and Rome. The time you take to reach the goal is up to you. Stacey Wittig just makes the process a whole lot easier with practical lodging suggestions, packing tips and walking times as well as some spiritual advice and meditations. This book is a complete “how to” guide taking you from your front door to your final step.” –Linda Kissam, Goodreads Review

Why wait? Order the book now at Amazon.

Stacey Wittig is an author based near Flagstaff, Arizona. She wrote Spiritual & Walking Guide: Leon to Santiago after hiking the Camino in 2005. She has since returned three additional times and plans to walk a section in France in 2016.

American Pilgrims on Camino adds ‘Spiritual and Walking Guide’ to Book List

The latest addition to the American Pilgrims on the Camino book list is Stacey Wittig’s Spiritual and Walking Guide: León to Santiago. American Pilgrims on Camino (APOC), a non-profit organization, provides information to pilgrims that includes links to online resources, book lists, CD and music lists and Camino essays. The APOC Camino reading list includes a wealth of books for pilgrims interested in walking El Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route in northern Spain.APOC-Camino-reading-list-Wittig

The mission of American Pilgrims on the Camino is to foster the enduring tradition of the Camino by supporting its infrastructure, by gathering pilgrims together, and by providing information and encouragement to past and future pilgrims. Their high-traffic website states:

The modern literature on the Camino and on pilgrimage encompasses not only many walker’s guides, but also cultural handbooks on art and architecture, personal narratives and reflections, novels and more.

The easy-to-use Camino book list is divided into the following categories:

  • Guide Books (in English)
  • Guide Books (Other than English)
  • Personal Accounts and Reflections
  • Fiction
  • Culture and History
  • Other Printed Material

Listed in the “Guide Books (In English)” category, Spiritual and Walking Guide: León to Santiago is included with other well-known Camino books such as John Brierley’s Pilgrim’s guides and maps to the Camino de Santiago and the Camino portugués, and Bethan Davies’ and Ben Cole’s Walking the Camino de Santiago.

“When I first walked El Camino in 2005, I used Bethan Davies’ guide,” explained Camino author Stacey Wittig. “So I am intimately familiar with her work. Back then, I originally looked for a route guide that also included Bible scriptures and daily devotionals. I didn’t want to carry a heavy Bible, a daily devotional and a route guide. I hoped that such a book would also include space to journal my own thoughts. Since I couldn’t find that sort of thing, I felt inspired to compile a guide that would lead readers spiritually as well as physically through the landscape. This inspirational Camino guide includes scriptures for The Way of St. James. It has been described as ‘The Way devotional.’

“I am very honored that American Pilgrims on the Camino includes my book on their Camino reading list,” continued the writing pilgrim. The Camino devotional is now listed on the reading lists of three of the world’s top Camino de Santiago websites.APOC-Camino-Book-List-Wittig

The APOC listing describes the book:

Author Stacey Wittig has written a spiritual guide for walking from León, Spain, to Santiago. What about pilgrimage helps you let go of fears and find peace that passes understanding? How can you be still and hear God’s voice as you trek the ancient pilgrimage route? How will you prepare your heart for a closer walk with God on the Camino? Find answers to these and other questions in this daily devotional and walking guide. Included in this book are daily scripture readings, meditations and questions for reflection to make the most of your pilgrimage and on the more practical side, details about where to sleep, daily distances walked and essential websites, insider travel tips, how to obtain a credential, how to follow the route without maps. The book contains space to journal thoughts and revelations.

Order Spiritual and Walking Guide: León to Santiago now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Slo6Rq