We have both taught English for 40 years. Our strength is in our background: Hanna is a walking dictionary in Danish-English with a native Danish knowledge combined with her university education and lengthy experience – a cultural marking which when applied to translating gives an invaluable insight into the etymology and meaning of words. Edward is the mirror-image of Hanna, with English as his native language. We complement each other in our joint work, where the concurring nuances represent the red thread that runs through all our lives. We not only manage many assignments; each time we offer in-depth solutions to find just the right nuance for the sender’s message and the recipient’s understanding.
– It began in 1975, when B & O asked Edward to do a voice-over for their new marketing video. Then came LEGO, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation Grundfos and others, all needing translations and voice-overs for their slide and video presentations. Next came the Danish universities with doctorates and high level lectures. All that not to mention our own production! Today the work has branched out in various directions; into business life (presentations, voice-overs), theological and church assignments, lectures, courses, and not least the mediation of art, literature, and culture. Edward relates one of the highspots:
”With a few hours warning LEGO called me in to do a video to persuade Windsor Town Council that the first Legoland outside Denmark should be built in Windsor. Like a TV weatherman I stood in front of a map that I couldn’t see at all and had to sell the goods for LEGO to Windsor. We were not only successful; there are also a couple of figures in the park in England who are using my voice!”
”Language is such an important part of communicating the message,” say the couple. “A single nuance can be crucial. Our work for the courts demands absolute precision, while a translation of one of Grundtvig’s best-loved hymns must enthuse an English singer.”
… and Zulu
”I once led a study-trip to South Africa with a group of Danish teachers of English. One evening we were sitting together with some Zulu English teachers,” says Hanna. ”What is your culture?” one of them asked. All was quiet for a moment in the Danish group, until someone responded, ”We have Hans Christian Andersen”. But they were more interested in family patterns, marriage celebrations, sports and games and hobbies. ”We managed that alright,” says Hanna, ”and then they danced the most amazing Zulu dance for us. We had to respond in similar fashion, but it was embarrassing that we couldn’t dance or even sing a song all the way through. Fortunately there was a teacher who knew all six verses of Roselil and her Mother, and then we got the Zulus to join in on each chorus with ’Ha, ha, ha! Now you be careful!’ It was a great evening!”
The anecdote illustrates the importance of insight into the correct use of language and cultural understanding. Our work is therefore in constant movement between cultural meetings and messages between foreign language speakers.
We have worked for 40 years in St. Clemens Church, Randers, especially with children, where we have done pioneering work in musicals on biblical narratives or Christian-based subjects. Edward runs 1-day courses in the composition and production of such musicals.
Hanna first became a member of the parish council in 1984 and has been chair since 1996. She is also a member of Randers South deanery and of the Aarhus diocesan council. She served on the presiding of Danish Church Days in Viborg in 2010. As chair of the Interchurch Council of the Danish Lutheran Church Hanna signed the Porvoo Declaration in 2010 bringing the Danish Lutheran Church into greater collaboration with other Lutheran churches and with the Anglican church. She travels widely to church conferences and celebrations as well as leading travel groups to, for example England, South Africa, and New England. She has linked St. Clemens to the Melkite Church in Jerusalem and has worked with both Muslim and Christian refugees in Randers. In all her church work Hanna endeavours to create open, free, responsible and dynamic forums both for our congregation and for the councils she is involved in.
We see it as a great advantage that we run our business without any other staff from our home in Randers as a base. Overheads are low, which makes for a relatively low price offer. In the teaching sector budgets are often limited, but at the same time the demands, especially at the higher teaching levels, are high. Here we have the capacity to deliver the right product at the right price. In business life we have experienced how internet profiles have replaced or supplemented previous presentation forms, yet here again we are used to working under pressure. “We keep all deadlines, and we don’t end an assignment until the customer is fully satisfied. As our name hints, we are bridge-builders between Danish and English. And it’s a double lane in each direction!”