Natalie Schachar at Tablet has one of those oddball translation stories I love, Yiddish-Speaking Wizards and Dragons Invade the Shire in ‘Der Hobit’“:
For one of his first translation projects after his retirement, Barry Goldstein, a former computer programmer, found an empty table at his local Starbucks in Boston and settled in to work on the “Treebeard” chapter from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. But Goldstein soon realized that he needed something more sizable to occupy his time: 95,022 words later, he had translated the entire text of The Hobbit, the prequel to the Ring series, into Yiddish. […]
While Goldstein grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home—his father’s roots were in Lithuania, and his mother was born in Kaminets-Podolsk—he never took to the language as a child. In fact, he vividly remembers the time that he escaped through a window in order to cut class at the Jewish school where he learned Yiddish. Years later though, he started taking Yiddish classes and soon found himself as J.R.R. Tolkien’s foremost and only Yiddish-language translator.
Sales are in the low three figures, but you don’t translate into Yiddish to make the big bucks. Also, Schachar links to Yale UP’s New Yiddish Library Series, a worthy project I hadn’t been familiar with (or had forgotten). Thanks, Paul!