Tip #1: Determine the Font
|The initial "P" and "kk" in this word are difficult to read.|
While many of the letters in this German newspaper article were easy to recognize, some were more challenging. For example, the above word looks like "Barffonzerte." The initial letter "P" and the "kk" do not look like are English P and kk. This word, "Parkkonzerte," translates to park concerts.
|This font is calles Mars Fraktur Normal|
After struggling trying to read the article, I finally found a font that helped me transcribed some difficult letters: Mars Fraktur. Again, the "s" at the end of Mars and the "k" in Fraktur do not look like our English letters. However, after printing out a copy of this font, I was able to transcribe the article letter by letter.
|The Mars Fraktur font I printed off, though I cannot find the site now|
Tip #2: Look on the Page for Related Articles
After finding the article that you are interested, look at the rest of the page. In fact, this tip doesn't just apply to German articles, as I have had success with this tip using English newspapers, too.
In this case, before I found the Mars Fraktur font, I was working on the article that mentioned Jerome Kaechle but I was having trouble decoding some of the letters. I decided to try to read some of the other headlines and create a letter by letter key. The article right above the article mentioning Jerome and the fire had this headline: "Driven from their beds by fire." At that point, I realized the article I had been translating, which even had its own heading, was just a part of a longer article! Reading the entire article gave me more details of this fire that my relative experienced.
Tip #3: Look for a Related Story in English Newspapers
|50 Persons Flee for Safety in Big Fire, Lansing State Journal,|
Lansing, Michigan, 4 August 1916, page 5, column 5,
digital image, newspapers.com, (http://newspapers.com)
accessed 7 April 2017.
With such a large fire, I assumed there would have been an article in English newspapers. Using newspapers.com, I did not find an article by searching for Kaechle. However, I did find an article by narrowing the year to 1916 and searching for one of the addresses mentioned in the article: 512 Ashland. Although this article had less information, it did include facts that were not in the German article. For instance, this article stated that "None waited to don their clothes, but began fleeing into the street in scant attire." And, "Many jumped from windows when they saw the stairway in flames."
Tip #4: Use the PDF Option and Paste Into Google Translate
This tip comes from my dad. When using Chronicling America, use the "pdf" option. After clicking on "pdf," copy and paste into Google Translate. You will need to make some corrections, but this is a wonderful start to getting an article translated. And, it will save a lot of time!
Tip #5: Ask for Help on Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" Group
Facebook's "Genealogy Translations" group has wonderful members who are always ready to help. And, they're fast! If you choose to post to the group, make sure you read the "rules for posting" first.