Something Like Home #humanity #languages @duolingo

Dear friends and readers,

Duolingo is a learning platform I discovered when starting to learn Swedish. Learning languages with Duolingo is fun, I receive their newsletter, and this time they surprised me with the following documentary.

We started Duolingo to make education free and accessible to all.
In time for World Refugee Day, we’re honoring our commitment by releasing Something Like Home, a documentary about the impact of language on the lives of Syrian refugees.

One of the reasons I was eagerly learning languages in school was to not feel left out, and to understand others while travelling. Today, I am still eager to learn languages, to show that I care, to connect. I have to admit that these are currently limited to Indo-European and Romance languages. I do not know which language I am going to tackle next; after scanning the possibilities, reflecting, the right language will present itself. It will most certainly be one of the languages that is urgently needed in these times.

Here’s to more humanity.

Peace, hope, and home, my friends.


The Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 and 2016


A little history of The Goodreads Choice Awards – Parts 7 & 8

The 7th winner’s page:

The 8th winner’s page:


There are some interesting facts:


 The Goodreads Choice Awards


 20 categories  20
 14 Goodreads authors among the winners  13
 39.55 % highest winning percentage  40.55 %
3,007,748 votes cast  3,563,105

There are some interesting 2015 choices/winners we should not miss:


There are some interesting 2016 choices/winners we should not miss:


Do you remember your favourite books in 2015 and 2016? Which books would you have chosen? Or are your 2015 and 2016 favourites already displayed in this list? Thrill me! 🙂



The power of translation


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


You are a writer. You have written an awesome book, published it. Your readers love it. This doesn’t only sound great – it is a real achievement. People love it, write about it and suddenly you are in need of a translation.

Your next step is obviously to start looking for a translator…

Not every university graduate in linguistics is the right one for your book; not every non-graduate translator is the wrong one for your book.

This is important:

  • How much and what has your translator done so far, do the subjects fit? If the translator’s work up to now consisted of translating articles on economy, this might not do for your epic story.
  • Does your translator know about your topics and/or genre(s)? A medical translator might not be right for your young adult series.
  • Is your translator open-minded and creative, without changing your style? A translator isn’t there to rewrite your book in another language.
  • Is your translator aware of the responsibility? A bad translation doesn’t sell and can be the source of bad reviews.
  • Are there references for your translator’s translation qualities? A translator needs to be as safe as houses in both languages, the original and the mother tongue.

As a university graduate in Germany, there were lots of different topics to cover – not only for the exam:

  • A third language as a sideline.
  • Translations in both directions – general.
  • Translations in both directions – special topics.
  • Culture and society of both countries.
  • Writing essays in both languages, focusing on different types of readers and topics. (to also graduate as technical author)
  • Debating on general and special topics in both languages.
  • Interpreting in both directions.

On graduating, I (personally) swore an oath to always translate with utmost care.

A hint was given to us in one of our last semesters: ‘Do not read translations, do not trust anyone else’s translation.’ We were shocked.

I respect this hint and read originals (English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese). In case of other languages, I read the English version. Throughout the years, I was very disappointed in how some translators ruined a book title. The English translations (once from Swedish to English, once from French to English) were correct, the German versions lacked sense and/or accuracy. Some potential readers refrained from reading the books as they were repelled by the titles. The translation from Swedish to German showed a lack of knowledge of German culture and society. Very sad.  😦

There is a very positive example I’d like to mention here:

I just finished reading ‘O Próximo Alvo’ by Marcel Trigueiro. An awesome book – my review is coming in March. You may ask yourselves, why I do not publish my review right now. I glimpsed at the translation, and liked what I saw. Therefore, I decided to read the English version translated by Leiah Cooper as well. I already started, am thrilled about the fine quality of this translation. I need to read and review some other books first, however.

Marcel Trigueiro and Leiah Cooper: Please accept my standing ovations!  ⭐


Did you know? Henning Mankell

Henning _Mankell


Date of birth:  February 3, 1948

Location of birth:  Stockholm, Sweden

His parents divorced when he was one year old; for most of his childhood he lived with his father and an older sister. His father was a district judge. Mankell’s grandfather, also named Henning Mankell, was a composer. At the age of 20 he had already started his career as an author and assistant director at the Riksteater in Stockholm, he collaborated with several theatres in Sweden.

Henning Mankell is married to Eva Bergman, movie director Ingmar Bergman’s daughter.

After living in Zambia and other African countries, Mankell was invited to become the artistic director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. He spends half of his time in Maputo with theatre work and writing. He has his own publishing house (Leopard Förlag) to support young talents from Africa and Sweden.

In 2007, Henning Mankell donated about 1.5 million euros) to SOS Children’s Villages for a village in Chimoio in western Mozambique. He has also donated vast amounts of money to charitable organizations like SOS Children’s Villages and Hand in Hand.

On June 12, 2008, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the St Andrews University in Scotland.

Mankell even developped two original stories for the German police series Tatort. German actor Axel Milberg, playing the role of Inspector Klaus Borowski, had asked Mankell to contribute to the show.

Mankell is said to work on a screenplay about his father-in-law.

In January 2014, Mankell confessed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. In May, stated that the treatments had worked well and he was on the mend.

His works include

  • Crime fiction (Kurt Wallander series, Linda Wallander, etc.)
  • Other fiction
  • Children’s books (Sofia, Joel Gustafsson series, etc.)
  • Film & TV
  • Plays

Awards and honours he received

  • 1991 – Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy, Best Swedish Crime Novel Award for Faceless Killers
  • 1991 – The Nils Holgersson Prize for A Bridge to the Stars
  • 1992 – The Glass Key Award For Best Nordic Crime Novel: Faceless Killers
  • 1993 – Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for A Bridge to the Stars
  • 1995 – Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy, Best Swedish Crime Novel Award for Sidetracked
  • 1996 – Swedish Astrid Lindgren Prize
  • 2001 – Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year: Sidetracked
  • 2001 – Corine Literature Prize for One Step behind
  • 2005 – Gumshoe Award for Best European Crime Novel: The Return of the Dancing Master
  • 2008 – Corine Literature Prize for the German Audiobook The Man from Beijing


Impressive – as you may certainly agree.

What do you like most about Henning Mankell?


The Goodreads Choice Awards 2014


A little history of The Goodreads Choice Awards – Part 6

The sixth winner’s page in 2014 ( is pretty interesting.


There are some interesting facts:

20  categories
12  Goodreads authors
38.7 %  highest winning percentage
3,317,504  votes cast


There are some interesting choices/winners we should not miss:












Do you remember your favourite books in 2014? Which books would you have chosen? Or is your 2014 favourite already displayed in this list? Thrill me! 🙂