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Donais Calder finds a German translator

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Marie Donais Calder holds a copy of The Other Side of Commitment, the most recent release in her Other Side book series. She recently found out that one of her books is being translated into German. (File photo)

15-3-LN-Marie Calder w pic


Donais Calder finds a German translator

By David Willberg


Caption: Marie Donais Calder holds a copy of The Other Side of Commitment, the most recent release in her Other Side book series. She recently found out that one of her books is being translated into German.  (File photo)


Page 2 headline: Local helped with translation process


Marie Donais Calder is about to reach even more people through her Other Side historical fiction series.

The local author recently announced that the process has started to have The Other Side of War – the first book in the Other Side series – translated into German. War was released in July of 2010.

Twelve more books have since been published. The series shares the experiences of Donais Calder's father, Ed Donais, when he was a Canadian peacekeeper in Leer, Germany, following the Second World War.

It chronicles the interactions between Ed Donais and the other members of the Canadian peacekeeping force, and the close bond that he formed with a German family in Leer.

Donais Calder told Lifestyles that she spoke to people in Saskatchewan about finding a translator. Meanwhile, Katharina Ulbrich, the president of the Estevan German Freundschaft Society, made some inquiries to the public library in Leer.

“The public librarian became very interested in the work that I'm doing,” Donais Calder said. “They have a group there called Friends of the Library, and in discussions with people in that group – I did not know this – but someone volunteered to translate the first book (The Other Side of War) into German.”

Donais Calder had already sent some copies of the first book to Germany. The volunteer translator, who is a retired English teacher, was given some of the books.

“All of a sudden, I got an e-mail (from the volunteer) saying 'I'm on Page 40, and I have a couple of questions,'” said Donais Calder.

Her publisher, Borealis Press, has been a strong supporter of translating Donais Calder's books, and is fully behind the project. Once War is translated, Borealis will go to the German Embassy in Ottawa, and ask them for recommendations on publishers and marketing firms in Germany.

Borealis will then work with the publishers.

“From there, we hope that the people who don't speak English, and can't read the English version, will have the opportunity to at least know that their voices are being heard,” said Donais Calder.

Many people who lived in Germany in the Second World War did not support Hitler, she said, including the family that her father befriended. If they spoke their mind, they would have been executed.

They still aren't being heard, she said.

“We want them to know that someone is trying to tell their side of the story, to represent them,” said Donais Calder. “At this time, I think we are still unaware of what I would call the average person in Germany, the person, who … did not support Hitler.”

Donais Calder is hopeful that the translation of War will be finished in May. From there, it will have to be edited, and then go through a similar publishing process to North America.

If it works out, other books in the series will be translated. 

Ulbrich said she is a big fan of Donais Calder's books, and was pleased to offer her assistance. She connected Donais Calder with people in Leer, and Ulbrich talked to a woman in Leer's archives department. That woman supplied pictures and a map from 1945 – the year in which Ed Donais was deployed to Leer.

She also helped Donais Calder connect with the support group.

“Marie came into contact with different people, the library suggested to have her books there to lend them to the public, as they have a small English book department in this library,” said Ulbrich. “So then went sent books 1 and 2 for them to lend it to the public.”

War was also sent to the mayor of Leer, and distributed to students at a German school in the midst of a peace project.

Ulbrich said the Other Side series is terrific, as Germans will realize that people who live outside of the country empathize with what the German people went through during the war.


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