We have made a German to English Interlinear translation of the book "The Metamorphosis" written by the prominent German novelist Franz Kafka.
A German classic. An unearthly story of Gregor Samsa's metamorphosis. Entirely in Interlinear.
The translation includes:
We have based this Interlinear translation on certain principles.
Interlinear translations attempt to translate words one by one and literally. However, there is an exception to this rule: where a literal translation would impair understanding. If it would, understanding is prioritized.
For example, even though the more usual translation would be "what's happened with me?" we have opted for a more literal translation as it is still understandable, especially since the reader is supposed to have at least some prior knowledge of how German works:
But try reading this translation if it were literal:
As you can see, in such instances, if translated literally, understanding would suffer. Thus we have chosen a more understandable version:
In summary, we have made our translations to be literal, even if slightly clumsy. Unless such clumsiness hinders understanding, in which case we have opted for understanding.
Yet, it remains to be said that due to the similarities between German and English, the vast part of the translation is both literal and understandable - even if verbs sometimes follow at the end of the sentence in German.
Our Interlinear translation makes use of the fact that German and English are both Germanic languages: we use cognates where possible in order to help you remember words.
For example, the original text includes the word "freiwillig." Dictionary and most ordinary translations translate this word as "voluntarily." But if you look closely at the word "freiwillig," you can see easily identify its two Germanic roots: "frei (free) + willig (willing)". So, "freewilingly." And that's indeed how we translate the word in our translation:
Similarly, we have translated the German word "Verlorenheit" as "forlorness" instead of the more ordinary "loneliness," "Hindernis" as "hindrance" instead of its more usual translation "obstacle," etc.
"The Metamorphosis" is known as one of the most famous works of Modern literature, and a seminal piece of literature written in German.
Franz Kafka was an early 20th century German-speaking writer known for his simple, enigmatic and often absurdly comic writing. He has influenced multiple authors after him, including the existentialists Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, given a new word - "Kafkaesque" - to the English language, and is also known for his ambiguous, widely interpretable and careful use of language.
"The Metamorphosis" tells the story of Gregor Samsa's sudden and mysterious transformation to an Ungeziefer - a kind of a monstrous vermin, and the aftermath of this transformation. Written in plain and general language, it has been described as perhaps the most widely interpreted story in all of Modern literature.