Upon learning that I had been appointed Ambassador in Islamabad, I ran into the next bookshop for literature about Pakistan and found a lovely book about the riches of Pakistani Poetry by such eminent writers as Allama Mohammad Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi, Habib Jalib, Fahmida Riaz, Hasina Gul and many more. I was, however, particularly struck by the editor Waqas Khwaja’s foreword, commenting on the essence of the translation process: “The function of the translator to my mind is to find approximations that do least violence to the original work, while preserving to the greatest possible extent its significations and design. Since it is not always possible to find such solutions, the translator must also be creative and be able to produce a recognizable flavour (rasa) where the taste of the original is not transferable.”
I thought imminently that‘s exactly what a good envoy also should try to achieve: find approximations, preserve original significations and designs, produce a recognizable flavour – back and forth, hence in both directions! That won‘t be easy, since even home countries are sometimes difficult to capture and all the more so a country like Pakistan, multi-layered, complex and unique – a fascinating country in a region of great importance and relevance.
It is because of all these attributes, that I am particularly honoured to represent the Federal Republic of Germany here in Pakistan, starting from August 2019. Together with my colleagues, I would like to invite you to regard the German Embassy as a service point for our German citizens in Pakistan and for all Pakistanis interested in Germany. We work in a country which has - not only in poetry - all kind of riches, which is vibrant and young, with myriads of resources, most importantly its people, but certainly also rich in challenges and trials.
The political, economic and cultural relations between Germany and Pakistan are longstanding, robust and reliable. That doesn’t mean our interests are identical at all times – they aren’t, and they shouldn’t have to be. Yet, to bring our interests together in a fair and mutual dialogue is one of the most important tasks of an Embassy. And that is exactly what we aim to achieve with our work here in Pakistan: to be a translator and make the flavour of our friendship recognisable.
Take our word for it!
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Islamabad
Bernhard Stephan Schlagheck was born on 3 September 1956 in Mönchengladbach. 1975 A-levels 1975 – 1984 Studies in Law and Economics 1985 – 1988 Junior Executive in Deutsche Bank,…