Archive for January, 2013

Panamerican Peaks Presentation

Starting the presentation

Last weekend I gave a public presentation in Salzburg, Austria about the Panamerican Peaks project. It was my first overseas presentation in German language.

Poster of presentation

The event was well advertised. The venue was a large theater called “Die Bachschmiede”, which featured my presentation on their online event calendar. Two newspaper articles had been published a week and a day prior to the event, based on a phone interview with the editors and my free sample book. The talk had been included in the catalogue for this venue several weeks in advance. There were even some posters printed and distributed. I had notified family and friends – those who could make it got to sit in the front row.

The event was well prepared. Over a period of about 6 weeks in December and January I had translated my book and published the German version in the Apple bookstore. In addition, I translated my keynote presentation, some of the voice-over of my videos and added some Salzburg specific anecdotes to my presentation materials. I also visited the venue the day before the event to test the iPad connection and familiarize myself with the stage and the general facility layout. Again, presenting from the iPad with the iPod Touch as a remote control worked very well and it’s very convenient for travel.

Media Test at presentation venue

Last but not least, the event was also well attended. About 125 people in the audience listened to two segments on cycling and climbing, with an intermission and lots of Q&A in both segments. I enjoyed the fact that there were lots of questions from the audience and almost all stayed to the end for a good 2.5 hours.

Audience at Bachschmiede

At some level I am surprised that it is still a lot easier to get people to pay for an event than to pay for the book on the iPad. Wouldn’t you rather get the book with all the details?

Add comment January 25th, 2013

German version of Panamerican Peaks now available

Today Apple published my German version of the Panamerican Peaks eBook in the iBookstore here. The book has the same title in German.

Die deutsche Buch-Version ist jetzt im Apple Buchladen erhältlich.

Die deutsche Buch-Version ist jetzt im Apple Buchladen erhältlich.

It took about 5-6 weeks of intense work to get this book translated. Here is a screenshot with some statistics right out of the (free) iBooks Author tool I used to create the eBook on my MacBook.


Structure and media content (~300 photos, 12 videos) remain the same as in the original English version. I changed the voice-over in the 2 min introduction video, but otherwise the videos are the same as before (and as on YouTube).

I realized that a good translation requires time and effort. You can’t just translate word for word, but you need to find proper expressions conveying the same story as used by a native speaker. Units need to be adjusted, such as °C into °F, $ into €, ft into m, or miles into km. Dates and numbers are written slightly differently etc.

On average, I managed to translate only about 2 pages per hour. The good news is that in the process of doing so I also optimized the original. Whenever I noticed typos, redundant or missing aspects of a story I also changed the original.

Page flow, hyphenation, page and column breaks, initial table contents, landscape vs. portrait orientation – all needed to be tested and fine-tuned. At the end I also created a free Sample version of the German book, which now includes the entire Preface. This 67 page free sample book is also available in PDF format on the Book page of the website here.

iBooks Author turned out to be a very capable and useful tool for this task. I had both the English and German version in two windows open side-by-side on my large 27″ monitor. I had only minor issues with it. German hyphenation rules are a bit tricky and don’t seem to be supported 100%. I didn’t have some special characters on the US-English Mac keyboard (such as ä, ö, ü, or ß), so it was tedious to insert them.

The Find & Replace command is not quite as powerful as that in Word. For example, to replace numbers (say 15,000 into 15000), it would have been great to have had a pattern matching mechanism with wildcards etc.


My biggest complaint is that I don’t seem to be able to change the built-in layout descriptors (section, chapter, map, gallery, video) to German. They are automatically created and hence manual changes in the text are overwritten by the tool. There is also a bug which mangles the Section titles in Portrait orientation.

But all told, I am quite happy to have finished this translation project. It gave me new appreciation for the amount of work involved. I hope, (some of) the 100 million German speaking folks in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will enjoy the book.

Add comment January 8th, 2013


January 2013

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