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Translator Profile: Hans-Christian Oeser


Hans-Christian Oeser was born on the 12th of June 1950 in Wiesbaden, Germany. He studied German and politics at the Philipps-Universitat Marburg and the Freie Universitat Berlin from 1971 to 1977 and completed his M.A. in 1980. He was also awarded a
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English in 1978 and an ITI Diploma in Translation in 1989.

      Oeser currently lives in Killiney, Co. Dublin, and has lived in Ireland for over twenty years. He first came to Dublin in 1980 to teach language, literature and Landeskunde at University College Dublin. After three years lecturing in UCD, he took up a one-year post as a lecturer at the National Institute for Higher Education Dublin
(now Dublin City University).

      Oeser then went back to UCD to work as a senior tutor and then assistant lecturer at University College Dublin for a further five years. He also gave language, literature and translation classes at the Goethe Institute in Dublin from 1984 to 2000. Hans-Christian Oeser
has been working as a translator for about twenty years, specialising in literary translation.

      He initially found it a quite difficult profession to get into, translating various books, sending them to publishers, and generally having them rejected. However, his sister worked in a publishing house in Germany, and asked him to present himself to the editor there, who subsequently gave Hans-Christian Oeser his first commission. Since then he has translated well over fifty books,
including Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, Brendan Behan’s After the Wake, and Christopher Nolan's Under the Eye of the
Clock
.

      His most successful translation to date has been Der Schlächterbursche, his translation of Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher
Boy
, which was first published by Lesezeichen Verlag in 1993. His translation reached number seven in the SWF bestseller list in April 1995 and won him the Aristeion Prize for Translation in 1997.

      Hans-Christian Oeser is one of the most prolific German translators of Irish literature. To date he has translated in the
region of thirty Irish novels. In addition to his translation work, he also writes himself, edits, and writes translation reviews. He is active in the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association and was named an
honorary member for life in 2003.

      Oeser is also a member of P.E.N. Germany, the Varnhagen Society and the Irish Writers’ Union.

(Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University, Newsletter, Nr. 1, März 2004, S. 2)

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