Old Script







Old Script




Carolin Sommer
German Language Specialist

Hello, I'm Carolin

Are you looking for a translator with a proven track record to deliver a high-quality German translation that reads just like an original?

I am a professionally trained, experienced translator with a passion for language. Having lived in a number of different countries, I have experienced first-hand the importance of bridging cultures, and in my translations I aim to deliver just that: a bridge between cultures.

Born and brought up in Germany, I took a gap year in the USA before embarking on a European language degree course that took me to universities in Cologne, Aix-en-Provence and London. After graduating in 1997, I moved permanently to the UK where I started working as an in-house translator for a German IT consultancy.

My career then took me away from translating and into IT and marketing until I took a career break to raise my family. When my youngest child started school in 2011, I decided to go back to what I have always loved best: translating. I was honoured to translate and self-publish the memoirs of the great German entrepreneur Ignaz Bing. Since then I have translated further non-fiction books into English and have gathered experience and expertise in additional areas, such as proofreading, editing and the transcription of old German script (known as Sütterlin).

I have an Honours degree in translation and am a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the Translators Association.

Please get in touch – I look forward to hearing from you.

Dipl.-Übers. (FH) Carolin Sommer BA CL MCIL


German Translation

As a native German speaker who has lived in English-speaking countries for over 20 years, I am virtually bilingual and feel as much at home with the English language as I do with German.

Throughout my career I have worked with texts of many different forms, covering a variety of subject areas.

My experience includes:

  • historical non-fiction
  • personal memoirs
  • recipes and cookbooks
  • websites
  • personal documents
  • diaries
  • personal letters
  • news articles
  • marketing material
  • children's non-fiction
  • classical music (lyrics)
  • reader's reports

I specialise in:

  • history
  • Judaism
  • food & cooking
  • food psychology

I also love working in:

  • travel and tourism
  • fiction
  • photography
  • environmentalism
  • astronomy

Old German Script

Letters, postcards, diaries and other personal documents are an invaluable resource for anyone looking into their family history, but more often than not they appear to be just illegible scribbles. This is because they are probably written in Sütterlin, an old script taught in German schools between 1915 and 1941. This is where I can help. I have several years' experience deciphering Sütterlin (and its predecessor Kurrent), and I have helped unlock numerous discoveries in such documents for my clients.

Feel free to send me a photo or scan of your handwritten documents to find out more.




Published Translations


In Search of Common Ground:
Inspiring True Stories of Overcoming Hate in a Divided World

by Bastian Berbner (The Experiment, 2022)

An essential book for this moment – inspiring stories of people who have built meaningful relationships despite initial deep-seated prejudice, revealing how we can mend our fiercest divides. Berbner's intensively reported and compelling accounts are interwoven with expert insight from Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, psychologist Peter Coleman of Columbia University and others. This uplifting book vividly shows that we can overcome prejudice and find common ground.

Read more on Amazon.com

A Field Guide to Clean Drinking Water:
How to Find, Assess, Treat, and Store It

by Joe Vogel (The Experiment, 2019)

A potentially lifesaving guide on how to find and prepare safe drinking water in extreme situations, ranging from backpacking treks to natural disasters. Biologist, survival expert, and author Joe Vogel's scientifically backed, practical and easy-to-understand handbook offers life-saving advice on how to find, assess, treat and store safe drinking water in the most extreme places, ranging from hurricane-ravaged cities to remote deserts. Small enough for hikers to take with them on treks but broad enough to cover all relevant options for finding and purifying water, Vogel's book is a vital manual for anyone hitting the trail or otherwise unable to take clean water for granted.

Read more on Amazon.com



My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me:
A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair (The Experiment [US] / Hodder [UK], 2015)

When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognising photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List – a man known and reviled the world over.

Read more on Amazon.co.uk


Tales From My Life:
Memoirs of a merchant and cave explorer in Germany 1840–1918

by Ignaz Bing (Lulu, 2014)

Ignaz Bing, founder of one of the world's largest toy manufacturing companies in the 19th century, wrote his captivating memoirs during the dark days of World War I to distract himself from the "horrors of these times". He had time to fill three volumes, all included in this book, focusing on his career, his family and friends, and finally his travels. They give a wonderful and very personal insight into the life of a Jewish family in 19th-century Germany.

Read more on Amazon.co.uk


How We Eat with Our Eyes and Think with Our Stomach:
The Hidden Influences That Shape Your Eating Habits

by Melanie Mühl and Diana von Kopp (The Experiment, 2017)

Through over 40 compelling questions, this book explores how our eating decisions tread the line between conscious and subconscious, and enables us to be more intelligent about food. With expert insights that draw from psychology, neuroscience, popular culture, and more, learn to see the innumerable influences behind your diet and cravings—from the size and color of your plate, to the placement of products in a supermarket, to the order in which you sit when out with friends.

Read more on Amazon.com


Sweet Life

by Fabian Sänger (Chocolate Culinary, 2017)

Fabian Sänger is one of Switzerland's most well-known and respected chocolatiers and patissiers. “Sweet Life” is his latest publication, a collection of more than 90 mouth-watering recipes. His creations cover a wide range of eye-opening flavour combinations, from pear and saffron cake to cherry and green tea desserts and cheesecake in a glass. All recipes are complemented by stunning photographs, taken by the author himself.

Read more on Amazon.co.uk


Refugee Diaries Series

by Anthony Robinson
(German translation to be published)

Four children, four stories, four books – Gervelie, Hamzat, Mohammed and Meltem may have grown up in very different countries, but they all had to flee their homes to escape the war and violence around them. The books in this series describe their perilous journeys and their experiences once they reach the safety of England.

Read more on Amazon.co.uk


I couldn't be happier with Carolin's work. She is fast, detail-oriented, and an absolute pleasure to work with. I enlisted her services for both transcription (of Sütterlin) and translation work; the transcriptions were precise and thorough, and the translation eloquent and accurate. I recommend her in the strongest possible terms.

Shane Ewegen, Professor, Trinity College, Connecticut, USA

From the very beginning of the translation process, and at every point along the way, Carolin favorably impressed me. She was absolutely committed to translating the book accurately and precisely as well as idiomatically and readably; and to capturing the two authors' distinct voices and styles. Carolin was highly receptive (and responded promptly) to comments, queries, and edits throughout the translation review process, and she met all agreed-upon deadlines. I recommend Carolin unequivocally as a translator, and I hope my colleagues and I will soon find another German-language book we will want to publish in English, and that we will be able to retain Carolin to translate it.

Matthew Lore, President and Publisher, The Experiment

Thank you very much indeed for all of the work that you have done. The results have exceeded my expectations because I imagined that you would find much more of the material indecipherable despite your skills. It has really astonished me that you have managed to decipher so much. I feared that it might have been too much of a challenge but plainly I under-estimated both the clarity of my grandparents' script and your skill as a translator.

Cameron Woodrow

Carolin translated our website from English to German with a fantastic eye to detail. She had a great understanding of the content that we were trying to deliver so that it seemed like it was written in the target language. She provided a very professional but friendly service and kept to the aggressive time frames that we gave her. We would thoroughly recommend.

Adam, Tofuture

Carolin has worked with some very challenging material with me as a volunteer translator for The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, and has always done a fantastic job. Her concern to render the most accurate and authentic translation possible of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust has always shone through. In addition, the Library often needs volunteers who can work on transcription and translation of difficult handwritten texts, an area in which Carolin excels. Recently we prepared a translation and transcription of a letter by Max Liebermann for an exhibition and Carolin effectively led a small team to successfully decipher the manuscript with great success, adding significantly to the rich array of original material shown.

Toby Simpson, The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide

What a fantastic job you have done! The Preface, in addition to your translation of the flysheet, makes amazing reading. You have managed to capture Elias's 'unusual' style, which I appreciate cannot have been easy! And you certainly have not lost his 'unique voice' in your translation.

Jan Price

  The new translation has reached me and again it is of so much interest and delight. You have done a wonderful service for our family. You are very impressive.

Margaret Vane

I was hugely impressed by the translation service offered by Carolin. She produced a thorough German-English translation of a technical and difficult to decipher archival record, in a very short space of time. I highly recommend her to anyone seeking a German language translation service

Rob O'H, Suffolk

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