Category: Blog articles

Mind the lexical gap!

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)

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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Who needs the natives? (Revisited)

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

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

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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