The German Chronicle
This year 35 years have passed since a commemorative book of Mikuleč (German Nikl)—including three settlements that formerly belonged to Mikuleč, namely Kukle (Kukelle), Starý Valdek (Altwaldek) and Nový Valdek (Neuwaldek)—was published under the name of Die Gemeindechronik von Nikl, Kukelle sowie Alt- und Neuwaldek im Schönhengstgau by displaced German countrymen. The whole book was written without access to relevant documents located on the Czech territory, so almost entirely from the memory of its authors. Although often historically inaccurate, it is the most comprehensive work dealing with the history of Mikuleč.
That’s why it emerges repeatedly on various occasions such as in 1997 during the celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the first written mention of Mikuleč. For the purposes of the celebrations, the first quick translation was created, but remained in a kind of rough state, which makes it more difficult to read. And mainly for this reason, new translation comes now—about 10 years later. It partly builds on the translation efforts of Lubomír Nepivoda, who made the previous translation.
The current version has nevertheless developed significantly longer. The work on it, of course intermittent, started a year and a half ago. And from it—about two months before its final completion—we present you a small preview in an attached PDF-file.
Robert Kabát, Jr.
Answers to frequently asked and even not-asked questions
1. So, when it will be finished?
As mentioned above, the new translation should be completely finished within three months (i.e. in about the first half of November), or until the early December at the latest.
2. Why does it take so long?
Firstly, the work on the translation is not—at least not so far ;-)—paid (as a typical translation is) and also for this reason, nobody is working on it full time, but rather intermittently and in spurts. Secondly, the progress of the translation is being made more difficult by the fact that—even though the original work was written only 35 years ago—it was written by already an older generation in often pretty outdated language, including words and phrases, which cannot be found in any dictionary. Thirdly, there’s an effort to translate the chronicle so that the outcome will be the most authentic and readable.
3. What’s already done and what still remains to be done?
Like in shaping of a sculpture one hefty cut into a rock is not enough, but it needs time to be shaped into a desirable form, in translating it is necessary to read and edit a translation again and again to achieve a quality result. In the words of the foregoing simile, the first hefty cut is carried out. Now it’s necessary to give the stone separated from the rock the final shape through fine-tuning.
4. What will be new in the “new version”?
Besides translation itself, the new version should contain a glossary, which will explain words that are foreign, outdated or used in unusual meanings. It will also include a new Czech preface, which should introduce the work. We cannot even forget graphical and technical arrangement of the final “book”.
5. Who’s all working on the chronicle?
For understandable reasons, there is not only one person working on the translation, but it is the result of many consultations with more people, and thus also of their work and reflection. The activities carried out by individual collaborators can be divided into two groups: (a) those associated with translation from German (especially proofreading of translation from German into Czech) and (b) those associated with the final Czech form (such as Czech proofreading and so-called lay reading, i.e. reading by laymen). Each individual who participates in the translation carries out only one of these activities. So there are several collaborators and their number is not yet closed. Therefore their names will be specified after the completion of the translation of the chronicle.
6. Why is the chronicle so “pro-German”?
Maybe because it is written by the displaced Germans for the displaced Germans, whose view, especially of the events, say, of the first half of 20th century, but by extension, of the whole common history of Czechs and Germans is different than is usual in the Czech environment?! A question put this way is primarily a consequence of living “on the Czech side of the border” and of reading Czech literature, which not only the displaced Germans would most likely term “pro-Czech”. The chronicle brings a so-called view from the other side—other than we are accustomed to when viewing things from our side.
7. Will the new version be accompanied by notes similarly as in the previous translation?
NO! The only notes, which should be in the text, will be of a purely factual nature—nothing what would disturb authenticity of the translation. Everything, what was secured by notes in the previous translation, should be replaced by the new preface.
8. Is there a sample of the actually final version of the translation in the attached file?
Well, ±. It is a sample of the current state of the translation, which may differ from the final version more or less in various parts. The changes shouldn’t be radical, but they are likely to occur, therefore so-called advance printing of initial pages that would be later supplemented with subsequent pages from the final version is not advisable.
9. OK and when will there be a next preview?
The next preview, as has been mentioned above as the response to the first question, should appear on the web in about the middle of November through December. There is no other planned.