Technical Translation

Technical Translation

S Systems, Inc. is an established digital signal processing consulting firm founded by John Strawn, Ph.D. specializing in software, especially hand-coded assembler for DSP chips, mostly in the audio and music industries.

I am functionally bilingual in German, and have various degrees of reading/speaking ability in French, Dutch, Japanese, Latin, Italian, and Spanish. I have been involved in the following translation projects. You can also download this list of projects as an Adobe Acrobat file here.

Written translations

All of these are translations from German to English except for one English-German, one Dutch-English and one French-English, which are labeled separately.

Translations completed while at Revox, summer 1972:

“Neue Einsatzmöglichkeiten drahtloser Mikrophonanlagen” (“New possibilities for introducing wireless microphone systems”). Fernseh- und Kinotechnik 25(9):310-313, 1971.

“Dynamische Mikrofone in der Praxis” (“Real-world use of dynamic microphones”). Funkschau 1972.

“Messung der Störstrahlung am `transistophone’-Empfänger ME 84/3” (“Measurement of disruptive radiation emanating from the ‘transistophone’ receiver ME 84/3”). Internal technical report, Beyer Microphones.

“Neuer 12-Kanalempfänger für drahtlose Mikrofonanlagen” (“New 12-channel receiver for wireless microphone systems”). Radio Mentor Electronic November 1971.

“Stereo bandrekorders: II” (“Stereo tape recorders, part II”). Test: 130-144, 1972 (Dutch to English).

Hehn, M., K. W. Rüdiger, K. J. Wischgoll. “Betriebsführungen — problemloser mit drahtlosen Führungsanlagen” (“Company tours — easier with wireless touring systems”). Funkschau 1972.

Reinecke, Hans-Peter. “Über die Problematik des Testens musikalischer Fähigkeiten” (“On the problems in testing musical ability”). Translated for the author, Berlin, 1974.

Reinecke, Hans-Peter. “Fachübergreifender Musikunterricht — ein neuer integrativer Ansatz.” My English translation read by Dr. Reinecke at the Eleventh International Conference, International Society of Music Education, Perth, Australia, 1974, and published in the ISME Proceedings as “Subject Overlapping Music Instruction: A New Integrated Approach.”

EMS Sequencer 256: User’s Manual. Translated into German for Hans-Peter Haller, Experimental music studio of the Heinrich-Strobel Foundation, Südwestfunk radio station, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 1975: PDF of English original and typewritten (!) German translation.

Haller, Hans-Peter. “Live-Elektronik im Konzertsaal” (“Live electronics in the concert hall”). Translated for the Freiburg studio (see above), 1975.

Kropfinger, Klaus. “Verschmähtes Erbe” (“A heritage scorned”). Melos/Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 1(6):442-445, November 1975. Translated for the author, Berlin, 1976.

Weber, Reinhard. Untersuchungen von monauralen Phaseneffekten in Zwei- und Dreitonkomplexen mit Pulsationsschwellen (Investigations of monaural phase effects in two- and three-tone complexes with pulsation thresholds). Ph. D. Thesis, Göttingen, Germany, 1976. Translated (rough translation) for Dr. Earl Schubert, Stanford, 1976.

Greussay, Patrick. “Software Musical: Descriptions et Abstractions de Generations et de Mixage.” Translated as “Musical Software: Descriptions and Abstractions of Sound Generation and Mixing.” (French to English). Computer Music Journal 4(1):40-47, 1980 (with H.-L. Bull).

Publication in German

A condensed version of my bachelor’s thesis from Oberlin (1973) was published in German in 1975, and in English in 1979. Of course the editor of Melos edited my German, but I wrote the text:

“Raum und Klangmasse in Varèses Intégrales.” Melos/Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 1(6):446-455, November 1975. “The Intégrales of Edgard Varèse: Space, Mass, Element, and Form.” Perspectives of New Music 17(1):138-160, 1979.

Translation consulting work

In 2003 the highly regarded translation company Language Scientific  (known at the time as RIC International Precision Translation Services) hired me to proof-read and correct translations that were written by other professional translators.

Live translation

Although I am not trained as a simultaneous translator I did work as audio technician, which often involved German/English translation duties, at the Meta-Musik Festival, Berlin, October 1974 (two concerts per day for a month; program). In addition I was audio technician at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1974 and 1975 for a week-long series of concerts involving American musicians and German technicians. Finally, I served as assistant to the organizer of, and German/English translator for, a week-long colloquium on computer music held in Berlin, September 1975, where my future Ph.D. advisor and his colleagues, who spoke no German, gave talks in English.

Foreign language formal training and related experience

1964-1968 Xenia High School, Xenia, Ohio Latin, 4 years. Included written translation of first six books of Vergil’s Aeneid. German, self-taught starting in junior high. Extensive involvement with German and Latin due to interest in classical music.
1968-1973 Oberlin Introductory and advanced German language classes. Upper-level German literature classes. I had enough German credits to be a German major. Two years residence in German-speaking dormitory.
1971 Iserlohn, Germany Coursework leading to certificate (Mittelstufe II) of the Goethe Institute, February 1971. This qualified me to take German university courses.
1971 University of Hamburg, Germany Exchange Student, April-August 1971: undergraduate- and graduate-level course work in medieval, baroque, and modern German literature, and psychology. Lived with German students in a dormitory. Travel to Yugoslavia, Holland, Austria, Italy.
1973-1975 Technical University, Berlin Attended university for two years, taking graduate-level courses all in German. Coursework in written Japanese, 2 years (I learned Japanese in German). Two and a half years’ residence in Berlin, living on my own in an urban neighborhood. Travel to Holland, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Switzerland.
1976 Tokyo Lived in Tokyo and Yokohama, performing music and meeting Japanese musicians, April-August.
1979 Stanford Summer French intensive course
1987-1991 Larkspur, CA While working for Yamaha, I made many trips to Hamamatsu, Japan; taught American employees appropriate ways of dealing with Japanese colleagues; learned as much Japanese as I could.

Ongoing experience

In my consulting work and activities at the Audio Engineering Society I regularly deal with German and other foreign languages. I read the German website Spiegel Online several times per week. I maintain contact with personal friends and colleagues in Holland and Germany, and often have occasion to read and write letters in German or to make telephone calls in German.

For more information on my background, see my on-line resume. If you would like more information about how I can help you with translation, contact me (John Strawn).