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Film Text and Script Translations by Brenda Benthien

I translate German film treatments and scripts into American English for German filmmakers and producers. Specializing in German film of the early twentieth century, I have translated two classics of  film theory into English. I also work at international film festivals and as a film journalist.

I studied German at Smith College and at the University of Hamburg, then film theory and criticism at New York University and UCLA.

Now I'm based in Hamburg, and I'd be delighted to help you with your film text translations, or English editing projects. At the bottom of this page you can read testimonials from a few of my satisfied clients. I look forward to hearing from you!


Translations of classic film theory:

  • Rudolf Kurtz‘s 1926 Expressionismus und Film, in collaboration with the University of Zürich. Available now as Expressionism and Film, distributed by Indiana University Press for John Libbey Publishing, London
  • Rudolf Arnheim's Kritiken und Aufsätze zum Film, published by the University of Wisconsin Press as Film Essays and Criticism

Freelance Translations for Film and Television:

  • Subtitling for SUBS, Hamburg
  • Film and TV scripts
  • Proofreading, editing
  • Script coverage and treatments for German-language filmmakers, production companies, and agencies

International Film Festival Organization

  • Cleveland International Film Festival; Director of Guest Relations and festival catalogue synopses
  • Nordic Film Days Lübeck; guest management and program guide translations
  • Assistance of foreign guests, Hof Film Days
  • American Film Institute Exhibitions Department; assistant programmer for AFI Fest in  Los Angeles and the AFI Theater in Washington, D.C.
  • Editor of festival catalogues and brochures for AFI Fest

Reviews, Journalism

  • Film reviews for KinoCritics, Cinema Scandinavia, and Film International
  • Book reviews for the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
  • Publication of Hamburg Review website
  • Foreign correspondent in Tokyo for the German trade publication FilmEcho/Filmwoche
  • Film critic at the monthly city magazine Tokyo Today
  • Freelance theater reviews for Variety
  • Writer at the daily Journal of the Berlin Film Festival

Nils Dünker

CEO and Producer, Lailaps Pictures GmbH

"Brenda has completed a number of projects for Lailaps Pictures, among them German-English translations of film treatments, scripts, and even a book -- as well as script coverage in English. Without exception, her work was of high quality and delivered in a timely manner. Our collaboration has always been friendly and uncomplicated. I can highly recommend her!"

Christian Modersbach

Managing Director, Nordic Film Days Lübeck

"In Brenda Benthien, the Nordic Film Days Lübeck have found an extremely competent, fast, and reliable colleague for the yearly creation of our catalogue!"

PD Dr. Ulrich Johannes Beil and Prof. Dr. Christian Kiening

University of Zürich

"With the translation of Expressionism and Film by Rudolf Kurtz, Brenda Benthien undertook the particular challenge of conveying an essayistic, expressionistic 1920s text to a contemporary readership. She solved this problem, as well as the translation of the academic afterword to this edition, confidently and stylishly. Her work is characterized by accuracy, precision, and love of the subject."

NCCR Mediality, University of Zürich

Sigrid Narjes

Managing Director, Above the Line

"I've known Brenda for many years. Her very good knowledge of German film helps her to translate works using the right 'tone.' Although she's an American, you might think she comes from Hamburg - she combines both cultures extremely well. Brenda is very reliable, and I can recommend her wholeheartedly."

Above the Line

Volker Schlöndorff

Film director

"Among other translations, transcriptions and small texts, Brenda Benthien translated selected chapters of my autobiography, about 150 out of 400 pages from German into English. Her writing is elegant, very knowledgeable about the subject, transatlantic culture and post-WWII history, literature and film, and reads like American, not a language in translation."

Volker Schlöndorff

May I translate something for you? Or do you require texts in English?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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