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Translator of Winnetou I and II – Victor Epp

March 29th, 2011


Victor Epp will act a consultant on his translation of Winnetou I and Winnetou II.

Victor was born in the dead of winter of 1935, he spent the first seven years of his life in the country north of Winnipeg, Canada. Though it seems like a short time over a long lifespan, the sounds and smells of that place never left him. To this day a piece of his heart remains there among the rustling poplar trees and the sweet aroma of the warm summer soil.

Most of Victor’s working life was spent in various aspects of the construction business, ending up with a long career in real estate brokerage. All of this was fertile ground in which to observe the lives of many people, serving as fodder for many the stories that were to follow.

Storytelling for Victor already began with the onset of family life. Bedtime stories were an absolute must in the Epp household and it wasn’t long before he discovered his penchant for creating them, as much for his own gratification as for the entertainment of the children. For the time being though, storytelling had to take a back seat to the business of making a living and so, like his love of the country, the love of storytelling lay quietly within for many years. It was not until the impending approach of retirement that it began to blossom again. A lifetime accumulation of observations, thoughts and ideas was just waiting to surface. Even the early boyhood schooling in the German language returned with some practice, making translation work possible.

As time became available, short, mostly humorous stories began to appear, eventually turning into a collection titled “Honest to God and Other Whoppers”. Translation work included several personal diaries and a series of essays called “The Arkadak Papers” which is a chronicled account of the birth, life, and death of a Mennonite colony in South Russia. And of course the translation of Karl May’s Winnetou I and II were major undertakings. “TruthSeeker” also became an important book of parables for young and old alike, as did “The Lost letters”, a collection of old letters describing one man’s journey into the Siberian wilderness, and loosely based on the seven sacred teachings of the Ojibway First Nation.

But storytelling took another unexpected turn. With the evolution of technology, it became possible to narrate these books and stories into audio books. And so another phase was born. It wasn’t long before “The English Voice of Karl May” became familiar and the entire Winnetou series was made into English language audio books. Now with the help of his associates, Victor is exploring new ways to make these stories available to a whole host of people with reading, vision and hearing disabilities, as well as providing teaching aids for school programs. Thus both the story and the storyteller continue to evolve to bring pleasure and learning to audiences everywhere. Thus, in ways he couldn’t possibly imagine, the legacy of Karl May lives on.