Case study: Speak of the devil… – Angels and demons in art

Feb 1, 2017 | Business, Case studies, First Edition Translations, Language, Translation

Angels and demons 1One of the biggest projects we worked on recently was a book called Angelus & Diabolus. And when I say, big, I mean BIG. The book weighs about 12 kg, and its dimensions are 8 x 30 x 45 cm!

Although the size of it is awe-inspiring in itself, of course, this is not only why this project is so memorable for us.

The book has a very interesting subject matter: the representation of angels and devils in art. It features the amazing works of artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch and August Rodin and many more. It explores angels’ roles and duties, presents angelic choirs in heaven and shows suffering in deepest hell. Stunning illustrations and captivating text accompany and complete each other in the book.

First Edition was responsible for the translation, editing, typesetting and proofreading of the mega-book from German, and it was quite a challenging task. “The volume (144,000 German source words) meant this was always going to be a time-consuming project. Editing was slowed down because the client was still finalising the chapters after we had started on the translation so we had to go back over our text and make sure it still said what the German authors intended”, explains Isabelle, who looked after this extraordinary project. This is far from the typical set-up as we usually work with the final, approved source text from the start. However, we didn’t say no to the challenge but did our best to make sure we worked on the amendments in a timely manner and we are pleased to say that it all worked out well in the end!

The project took about 7 months from start to finish and now, a little later, we can finally hold the English book in our hands. It was an astonishing project to work on and we are happy to have been part of the whole process.

“With 800 pages, 1,100 illustrations and 11 3/8 x 17 1/4 in “Angelus & Diabolus” was literally one of our biggest projects in recent years. We are very proud that press and customers alike love this unique book, and would like to thank the First Edition team for the translation and excellent cooperation. They have contributed to the success of this stupendous undertaking.” Katharina Pferdmenges, Editor at h.f.ullmann

If you are looking to have your book on art history translated and are interested in working with us, just get in touch either by emailing us at or giving us a call on +44 (0) 1223 356 733.