Confessions of a word-tamer

A blog about writing, translation, language and life

A pied piper leading customers to the king’s palace with SEO content
Cinderella in einer glitzernden neuen Kutsche, die durch den Zauberstab des Übersetzers entstanden ist

Mind the lexical gap!

August 8, 2023 | By Ian Winick
One of the joys of translating from German is coming across a word you’ve never seen before and, on Googling it, realising that no one else in living memory has used it either. And then having to come up with a translation for it. When reading Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue recently – yes, it’s been […]
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How do you du? (Or: Long time, no Sie)

May 22, 2023 | By Ian Winick
I remember the very first time I felt drawn to the dark art of translation. When I was thirteen years old, a schoolfriend showed me a script of a French play. A spectacularly dull play, if memory serves, but with one saving grace: the original French was on the left-hand page and an English translation […]
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Tourists asking each other the way to the beach in bad English

Who needs the natives? (Revisited)

April 10, 2023 | By Ian Winick
Having English as your native language is something of a mixed blessing. There’s no doubt that speaking the world’s lingua franca from birth is a great advantage. But at the same time, watching as your richly complex mother tongue descends into a kind of makeshift Esperanto is a little like having your vintage Aston Martin […]
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Dining at the Grammar Table

March 5, 2023 | By Ian Winick
When Twitter finally implodes like a neutron star, one of the things I will miss most is having lively discussions about grammar with an online community of fellow language enthusiasts. After twenty years as a freelance translator and copywriter, the lines between a grammatical usage that is actually wrong and one that merely annoys the […]
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Human and robot enjoying the same SEO book

A new beginning of sorts (or: How I learned to stop worrying and love my website)

February 5, 2023 | By Ian Winick
I’ve never had much luck with websites. Back in the days when fax machines ruled the Earth, I set up my stall as a freelance translator. Having spent the best part of three years working as a project manager in the English department of a translation agency here in Cologne, I’d had my fill of […]
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A few words from my customers
  • Ian has been one of my most trusted partners for English translations since 2008. With his strong business and financial background, he is always an ideal choice when it comes to translating reports, contracts, presentations and minutes for my main interpreting customers.
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    Angela Sanchez
  • As we serve customers all over the world, we decided to hire a copywriter to write all of our press releases and new website content in English directly. Ian came highly recommended – and sees to all our translation needs as well!
    Jan Lepold
    Orchestral Tools
  • Whenever I add new products to my range, I get Ian to write the descriptions. His writing has a lightness of touch that fits perfectly with my range of personalised gifts.
    Ruth Wallington
  • We are well aware of the importance of clear, compelling communication in our international social media and public relations activities. This is why we send all our content to Ian for translation and revision.
    Dr Ina Werxhausen
    Director Sustainability & Corporate Communication
  • Ever since I first worked with Ian in 2019, he has been my translator of choice for everything I publish in English. As well as taking great care and precision in his work, he is well attuned to the nuances and subtleties that are the hallmarks of a superior art translation.
    Photo of the face of Dr. Anne Schloen
    Dr Anne Schloen
    Author and art historian
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