A 75-minute webinar on Thursday 12 November, commencing at 11:00 (CET) / 10:00 (GMT) / 21:00 (AEDT)
In recent years our speakers – four founders of international, creative-industry companies – have interacted, collectively, with tens of thousands of people. Between all the students, recruitment candidates, pitch trainees, and business leaders they’ve had contact with, what qualities most consistently define resilience? And from the many behavioural traits and tendencies they’ve observed, which ones best keep us in flow? These days uncertainty stretches beyond the horizon – one day a pandemic, climate change the next, followed by political and social unrest – what strategies can help us navigate through this unfamiliar territory? Drawing from our speakers’ diverse areas of expertise in writing and creativity, PR, fashion business, and pitch training, what are some tips and techniques on how to pivot and innovate? And what small steps taken today, can help us future-proof ourselves as freelancers, employees, and business owners, ready with positive energy for tomorrow?
In hopes that this conversation might offer some real support for people experiencing financial difficulties at this time, SENSE is providing this webinar free of charge.
David Beckett is an international pitch coach who has trained over 1100 Startups to win over €295 million in investments. He's also trained more than 16,000 professionals in corporate settings in 29 countries, as well as more than 30 TEDx speakers. David is the creator of The Pitch Canvas© and the author of the book Pitch To Win. In a previous life, David spent 16 years at Canon as a country director, before leaving in 2009. He then spent a year travelling and another year writing a book about Amsterdam, before running out of money. After taking on five jobs – and getting fired from two of those – he decided to focus on his passions of presentation and coaching.
Kerrie Finch Prior to founding futurefactor (formerly FinchFactor) in 2009, Kerrie Finch was PR Director at Wieden+Kennedy. There she wrangled brands such as Nike and Heineken, Coca-Cola and Electronic Arts. Kerrie has been voted into Adformatie magazine’s top ten industry influencers for the past three years. As Founding Partner & President of futurefactor, Kerrie continues to drive change in the industry, while advancing her work as the Netherlands representative for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, board member of the ADCN, advisory board member of IncludeNow, and the founder of SheSays Amsterdam.
Mariette Hoitink – a matchmaker at heart – is the founder of HTNK; Amsterdam’s premiere multi-disciplinary, full-service recruitment and consultancy agency. HTNK connects both creative and commercial professionals with clients, around the world, working throughout the entire supply chain for all disciplines within fashion, lifestyle and beauty; on recruitment, consultancy, business, and talent development. Mariette’s insider knowledge enables her to create complex value-connections for a variety of clients, and she’s an expert when it comes to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Mariette is also an instigator of projects that contribute to the development of the creative industry as a whole, which include Red Light Fashion, Dutch Fashion Here & Now, The House of Denim Foundation, and Denim City, the denim innovation campus in Amsterdam with the first and only Jean School in the world.
Valerie Khoo is a writer, mentor, artist and CEO of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a non-fiction author of multiple books, and former journalist who wrote for one of Australia's most reputable broadsheets for over 15 years. Valerie combines her work in the writing and publishing industry with her work as a visual artist. Her artwork has featured in multiple exhibitions and is licensed through companies all over the world. Valerie was also the City of Sydney’s Curator of the Sydney Lunar Festival for 2019 and 2020, an event that attracts more than 1.5 million people.
Matthew Curlewis is a freelance Senior Creative in the advertising industry, and the founder of Amsterdam Writers. His copywriting client list includes Emirates, PUMA, Gucci, Heineken, Macy's and Comedy Central, and his articles have appeared in The Guardian, Time Out, Amsterdam Weekly, CODE, Fantastic Man and Blume Illustrated. Matthew began his career as a performance artist and spent 20 years performing on numerous stages across Australia, North America and Europe, before shifting to hosting and presenting. For SENSE, Matthew is the Co-ordinator of Continuing Professional Development.
This workshop will be held in two parts.
The workshop will look at the reviser's tasks from the point of view of various constraints. The format will comprise brief theoretical presentations followed by text-based or scenario exercises focusing on the most effective way to carry out a given revising or editing task.
Here are the topics we'll look at over the course of the two days:
If there is interest, we'll also look at revision within large translation departments and translation agencies: consistency among revisers; auditing the contribution of revision to a translation service.
Brian Mossop was a French-to-English translator, reviser and trainer at the Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau from 1974 to 2014. He continues to lead workshops and webinars on revision in Canada and abroad. Since 1980, he has also been a part-time instructor at the York University School of Translation in Toronto, teaching revision, scientific translation, translation theory and translation into the second language. For more, visit www.yorku.ca/brmossop.
17 September 2020
The thinking behind the words
|1 unit||Click here to register|
22 September to 27 October 2020
Writers' Stretch & Tone
A six-week workshop cycle
|6 units||Click here to register|
5 November 2020
Applying plain language principles to creating accessible, reader-friendly texts
|1 unit||Click here to register|
12 November 2020
|REFOCUS • REBOUND • REPEAT
An online panel discussion about agility and risk-taking in pandemic times
Hosted by Matthew Curlewis
|free||Click here to register|
18 November 2020
Dealing with language interference in texts
|1 unit||Click here to register|
|Week 48 & Week 49
26 November & 3 December 2020
|2 units||Click here to register|
10 December 2020
The sweet sound of writing finesse
|1 unit||Click here to register|
|Fee per unit|
|SENSE members||€ 30.00|
|Members of sister societies*||€ 45.00|
Members and non-members pay different fees to attend the online conference and workshops (membership costs only € 80 per year).
* MET, NEaT, APTRAD, EASE
SENSE is not registered for VAT and does not charge VAT.
Please note that programme elements may be subject to change.
Tip! On your smartphone, scroll left and right to see all the columns.
Copywriting is: The clear. The funny. The charming. The persuasive. The genuine. The moving. The logical. The intelligent. The provocative. The thoughtful.
A copywriter knows which approach to use, and when. A copywriter knows this because they have understood the strategy, they’ve had an idea, and then chosen the right words.
In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore how to approach strategy, how to have an idea and then how to approach the copy itself. We won’t be talking about grammar, structure or any of that. Copywriting is imagination and bravery. For the rest, there’s spellcheck.
Chris Baylis - Creative Director and Copywriter An international, award-winning creative leader and storyteller, with 20 years experience in advertising, innovation and branding. I help brands find their purpose, voice and organizing narrative - connecting this to culture through content, advertising, experience design and marketing.
Chris has led network agencies, worked client-side as a copywriter and creative director, helped many of his own clients find their voice, define their brand and reach their audience, and he has mentored and helped many start-ups. Chris taught and lectured at Miami ad-school, Cannes Lions and Eurobest ad festivals. Some of his work is here.
In this world of hurriedly written, poorly edited or machine-translated flam, there’s an aspect of wordsmithery that can help your work stand out.
The ability, that is, to write not just clearly and incisively but melodiously, too. If we can craft texts that sound sublime, then we’ll be doing that bit more to seduce our readers, delight our clients and – why not? – spread a little verbal happiness.
That doesn’t mean overdoing it with the frills; rather, it’s about cultivating a sensibility to sound and rhythm, assonance and emphasis, a feel for when you need an extra beat in the bar, another adjective before that noun, or a volley of stressed syllables to ram a point home. It’s about exploiting the resonances alive in tinny t’s or luxuriant l’s or bumbling b’s. Not childish onomatopoeia or titillating tabloid alliteration but … euphony.
With a blend of presented and hands-on material for you to grapple with, this workshop aims to attune attendees to the nuances of rhythm, sounds and patterns of echoes. To turn piffle into – well, if not poetry then something easier on the ear.
Oliver Lawrence turns Italian marketing texts and, occasionally, writing briefs into incisive English, specialising in tourism, leisure and luxury. Much of his editing and translation work involves damping down faintly cacophonous glitches that foul the flow of what should be smooth high-end copy. A Fellow of the CIOL, Chartered Linguist, ITI Assessor and strolling conference presenter, among other things, he teaches the CIOL web-based Clear Writing course – now in its 8th edition – and lurks online at www.incisiveenglish.pro and @oliverlawrence1. Interests include poetry, cake and gin, but not necessarily in that order.
A six-week workshop cycle for both advanced and beginner writers to stop thinking and start doing. Generate new work, revise old work, experiment with form and style and generally keep your writerly muscles fit - all in the company of other like-minded writers.
For this workshop, whether you have a story or a project already in process or not doesn’t matter. Writing suggestions during the sessions will always give you somewhere to start. Then it’s your choice whether you try out different voices and approaches in a new piece of writing or you continue to develop a work already in progress.
By the end of each session, you will have created new work. You will also have heard some fellow participants read their new work out loud - and sometimes you may have read out loud yourself. (Reading is always optional.) What will always remain is that thinking, by itself, doesn’t produce writing. Writing produces writing!
Time is also made available, when requested, to read and analyse participant manuscripts - no matter what their form. This might mean reviewing short stories and essays, at other times screenplay excerpts or works still finding their form. Feedback is given in two rounds:
At the culmination of six weeks, your writerly muscles will be stronger and more flexible, and you will feel fitter as a writer. This in turn will give you greater confidence for taking on further or more complex writing challenges.
Cycle of workshops: six weekly sessions
Tuesday evenings from 22 September to 27 October, 19:00 to 21:30
Spaces are limited to 10 participants maximum.
Certified to lead workshops in the Amherst Writers and Artists method, Matthew founded Amsterdam Writers in 2008 and has been leading his workshop, 'Writers' Stretch & Tone', ever since.
As a Senior Copywriter, Matthew has worked on international campaigns for clients that include Emirates, PUMA, Gucci, Heineken, Philips, Sony Computer Entertainment, Accenture, Macy's and Comedy Central.
His writing has appeared in publications, including Time Out, Amsterdam Weekly, CODE, Fantastic Man and Blume.
Matthew was both screenwriter and lead producer of Brilliance, a Netherlands, Poland, UK co-production short film that screened internationally at numerous film festivals, and which is one of Eye International's 'Selected Dutch Shorts 2015'.
See also Amsterdam Wrters.
‘The message is important, not the fancy language wrapped around it.’ (George Orwell)
It’s astonishing how may writers feel they need to ‘dress up’ their writing to the extent that they lose their natural (aka plain) voice completely! Their reasons are no doubt many: from wanting to impress to needing to sound important or authoritative – and sometimes even because their boss or professor ‘writes like that, so it must be good’! But in this day and age we should rather be ‘dressing down’ writing to make it more accessible and flow better. Where writers themselves are incapable of doing so, the task usually falls to us wordsmiths to dress (not dumb!) writing down.
We need to make authors’ words clear and straightforward, using only as many words as are necessary. Plain Language helps us to do so by dispensing with the ‘fancy language wrapped around their words’: obscurity, inflated vocabulary and convoluted sentence constructions. Applying Plain Language principles systematically, our aim is to render the authors’ messages readily understood at first reading.
By the end of this workshop you will be able, with confidence, to:
Fundamentally, we wordsmiths will be asking – and answering – the questions ‘Who is the audience and what are their needs?’ In so doing, we’ll be using the approach our writers should have adopted in the first place: a reader-centredness.
In this 3.5-hour workshop, you’ll have an opportunity to put these principles into practice.
An author and a passionate copy-editor with some 40+ years’ of manuscript improvement behind him, John Linnegar is a former teacher of English at secondary school and undergraduate levels. His specialty as an editor is law. In 2009 he published a book on common errors committed by writers in English in South Africa (NB Publishers, reprinted 2013); in 2012 he co-authored Text Editing: A Handbook for Students and Practitioners (UA Press) and in 2019, together with Ken McGillivray, wrote and published grammar, punctuation and all that jazz … (MLA Publishers). He contributes regular articles on the usage and abusage of the English language to professional bodies.
In the table below you will find the links you need to request access to the SENSE 2020 Online Jubilee Conference recordings.
Click on the link for the session you wish to view, enter your Zoom credentials, and click register. The SENSE Zoom Master will approve your viewing registration request as soon as possible. Once your request has been approved, you will need the Access Password to view the recording.
Access will only be granted to those people who registered for the conference.
|Session||Request viewing link||Access password
Be(a)ware of (round) brackets (especially ‘Dutch’ ones)!
“I just moved on.” – Museum translations
Future competence profiles of EU translators
How much time does quality require?
|Jennifer de Beyer
Making reporting guidelines more useful in biomedical science and beyond
Using your network to branch out into new areas
Fair Trade Translation in an unfair world
From whining to shining
Honing skills through near-peer exchange
Editing in the era of digital nomadism: How I look after my mental and physical health
Setting up shop: newcomer perspectives on the translation industry
Language interference: Forewarned is forearmed
Writing effective comparisons in scientific articles
|Ashley Cowles et al
Panel: Maintaining productivity as your family grows
The plain truth: Applying Plain English principles to improving texts
6 June 2020
SENSE Online Conference Day 3 was a whirlwind of sessions and a panel discussion on maintaining productivity as your family grows.
Joy Borrough-Boenisch: Language interference: Forewarned is forearmed
This session was an absolute must for those of us working as translators or as editors of texts written by non-native speakers of English. Using a wide array of examples, Joy showed us how the native tongue of an author interferes with their written English. Native speakers of English who have lived in another country for a long time may be similarly affected.
After discussing the different kinds of positive and negative interference (also called language transfer), Joy offered a range of fascinating examples and comparisons that showed us just how short Dutch sentences are on average and how much translations from Dutch to English are influenced by this.
Language professionals should educate themselves so they can recognize this interference when translating, editing texts written by non-native speakers of English or when they’re based in a non-English-speaking country themselves.
David Barick: Writing effective comparisons in scientific articles
Next up was David Barick, who treated us to a fascinating session on how to write good comparisons in academic articles. Through his work as a language editor, he often encounters clumsy comparisons that are difficult to grasp or simply ineffective.
David took us on a tour of different examples of ineffective comparisons, showed us that double comparisons can easily be fixed by using “than” and reminded us of grammatical parallelism: only items of a similar nature and category should be compared.
To round off his talk, David let us attempt to decode a few examples of badly phrased comparisons, which was great fun and very instructive.
Ashley Cowles et al.: Panel discussion: Maintaining productivity as your family grows
Becoming a parent can greatly change the way you run your business, and each stage of your child’s development comes with its own challenges. Today’s panellists touched upon a number of these challenges, and dealt with some of their own: due to personal circumstances, several of the originally scheduled panelists were unable to attend at the last minute!
Lloyd Bingham, Ashley Cowles and Cathy Scott shared their own experiences with the audience and answered any questions raised by attendees. The discussion was divided into four subjects: coping with work, balancing the mental load, raising children bilingually and navigating Dutch society as a parent.
Other issues that were raised involved how to deal with lockdown and how to make sure you maintained a healthy relationship with yourself and your significant other. All in all, a lot of interesting viewpoints were shared. The conclusion? There is no one-size-fits-all solution to parenting, but we’re all in this together. For more support from your peers, consider joining the Parents Who Are Freelance Translators group! (https://www.facebook.com/groups/285604754958708/)
John Linnegar: The plain truth: Applying Plain English principles to improving texts
The final session of Day 3 and of the SENSE 2020 Conference was an extensive introduction to plain-language principles: putting the audience’s needs first. That means avoiding unnecessary words: short sentences without jargon, technical terms or ambiguous phrasing. The idea is not to ‘dumb things down’ but to do away with fancy language, letting the reader understand the message at first reading.
Partly basing himself on the wisdom of George Orwell, John provided an extensive overview of the different principles of plain English and the problems of ‘unplain’ English. As a rule, if you can cut a word out, do so.
John reminded us to avoid sentence complexity; ideally, they should not exceed 20 words. Overly complex sentences can often be cut in two. For clarity’s sake, writers should avoid using noun strings or too many subordinate clauses. The same applies to writing in the passive voice and using negative statements.
To round things off, John advised us to develop a sense for ‘unplain’ English by asking:
Queries can go a long way in making authors understand the reader’s perspective.
5 June 2020
SENSE Online Conference Day 2 Highlights The six sessions on today’s programme dovetailed and complemented one another wonderfully – themes such as networking, fair rates for quality (fit-for-purpose) work, trust transfer and being transparent with clients all came shining through the shared experience and wisdom of our presenters.
Sally Hill – Networking to obtain new work opportunities
Sally began her talk by emphasizing that, as a starting-out freelancer, you should not rely on just one or two clients for work; this simply increases your vulnerability. Rather, put your eggs in a number of baskets by diversifying your business. This may mean using or developing other skills in addition to editing or translating. So consider your innate talents or interests: copywriting, web design, SEO work. To diversify, you need two key things in place: transferable skills plus what is known as ‘trust transfer’. This latter term entails developing in others a trust in your knowledge, ability or expertise, or simply in you as a person. Then, word of mouth tends to kick in and you might receive a request through a totally non-work-related connection – typically from a friend of a friend – for editing or translation services.
Sally both joins groups (‘tribes’, as she labels them) and has even created her own tribe – the ScienceMed Writers Network – to help her to obtain and pass on work through trust transfer.
To illustrate how both volunteering and skills transfer can help us to move (unwittingly) into new fields, Sally shared three case studies – all of SENSE members. Through volunteering for the Society and/or learning technical or management skills, or both, they prepared themselves either for full-time positions or a completely new field of expertise and services, with great success.
Her concluding points were:
Nigel Saych – Fair Trade in an unfair world At the outset of his presentation – a real breath of fresh air, especially in these post-Covid times – Nigel quoted the World Free Trade Association’s statement that Free Trade is ‘a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equality’. This formed the golden thread through his talk, the key words of which he returned to in his concluding remarks.
To Nigel, Fair Trade means three things: being fair to his company’s clients, to his cohort of translators and to the Fair Trade team itself. This involves clients choosing either an hourly or a per-word rate, not levying surcharges for urgent work and no minimum charge, charging the same rate for all language combinations, a maximum price guarantee and full GDPR compliance.
For his translators, Fair Trade means paying everyone the same rate and expecting the same quality from them, not looking for the cheapest service provider and providing prompt payment (they even have an Advance Payment Scheme for those who are used only infrequently). There’s also a no first-come-first-served policy in his business model, and every freelancer signs a clear, concise and honest working agreement up front.
Being fair to the company itself means having no hierarchical structure, having linguists as decision-makers, being successful without making excessive profits, encouraging (positive) feedback from clients and translators, as well as being socially responsible by supporting charitable and NGO causes or campaigns.
Unfair trade, on the other hand, means carrying out discriminatory practices (whether based on race, gender or disability), and paying unacceptably low wages or rates that are not commensurate with practitioners’ worth.
One concern raised about the post-Covid environment is that some translations businesses are either forcing translators to cut rates or to accept delayed payment – which flies in the face of Fair Trade principles.
Tiina Kinunnen – From whining to shining
A teacher and translator (primarily of film scripts), Tiina shared her professional thoughts on how to portray a professional image (publicly versus privately) and how productivity lies in your comfort zone (find the types of text you are either best at or enjoy most). She also made the point that practitioners should make informed decisions on matters such as rates (don’t make a habit of offering clients discounts and know implicitly what you need to earn to pay the bills) and on matters such as the quality of our deliverables: should we be aiming at perfection or fit-for-purpose end products? In all these, she advocates transparency in dealing with clients. This sometimes entails explaining to (sometimes difficult or demanding) clients that for rate A you can deliver certain products or services, but for rate B you can offer more. That way, the client gets to choose the service they require based on information.
Her take-home message was twofold. Firstly, make yourself the go-to person for your client, having made yourself part of their solution, not part of the problem. Secondly, find trusted colleagues with whom you are able to network, network, network.
Wendy Baldwin – Honing skills through near-peer exchange
This session introduced us to an innovative way of online co-working: a kind of hybrid between conventional co-working and a writing retreat. In it, the participants – usually paired language practitioners and academic writers – set aside a time and space in which to work on agreed-upon chunks of current work in blocks. It can, of course, take time to build such a co-working relationship, but as a practitioner herself Wendy recommends starting with academics you know, agreeing on a session structure and boundaries, and being flexible when engaging with potential co-workers.
At the start of each session, the partners in such a Language Practitioner and Academic Co-working (LPAC) partnership set (writing or editing) goals. They then set a time (usually 75 minutes) for achieving those goals, checking in to assess progress and plan their next steps. The overlaps and complementarity between co-workers include discipline, language, locality and skills, which means that a diversity of co-workers can engage in LPAC sessions. One of the major benefits of such sessions is that they provide a safe, social space in which to work productively.
Marieke Krijnen – Editing in the era of digital nomadism COVID-19: How I look after my mental and physical health
For her presentation today, Marieke adeptly adapted her title to cater to the conditions we’re all having to live under since the outbreak of COVID-19. In accordance with her title, she divided her presentation into ‘physical health’ and ‘mental health’ issues and solutions. And each topic was further subdivided into ‘at home’ and ‘other’ suggestions for coping under the present acute conditions.
So far as promoting our physical health is concerned, she suggested that, failing gyms and swimming pools, some exercise and ergonomic solutions are necessary substitutes. These could include exercising while working (with a treadmill or a desk-cycle) and changing your position during a day – for instance, moving from your desk to a sofa and then to the garden or a park as a routine practice. This movement and postural variety is considered very important when you’re restricted to your home environment.
So far as mental health is concerned, as homebound digital nomad we have to introduce a work–life balance and also tap into communities of some sort, including virtual/digital meetings, to break down our isolation. Other disciplines include blocking access to your laptop and mobile phone when you really do need to switch off from work, taking regular breaks during the day, taking a shower (!) and taking weekends off to give your brain some relief. Marieke’s sound advice, based on her personal experience, had many a head nodding in agreement. C’est la vie.
Panel discussion – Setting up shop: newcomer perspectives on the translation industry
Relative newcomers to freelance translation Jasper Pauwels, Branco van der Werf and Louise Wetzels were joined by more seasoned translators Lloyd Bingham and Nigel Saych in raising a number of questions relevant to those starting out as freelance translators. How and where to get started? How to market yourself and make contacts with clients or agencies (and what are both good and bad strategies to do so)? Is it better to specialize or to be a generalist in the translation services and the disciplines or areas you offer? And, inevitably, the question of rates: which model to adopt, hourly, per word or per page? Another question that arose was whether membership of a professional association improved one’s chances of making contact with clients and obtaining work (not so, they thought).
Considering that in their audience was a large contingent of students of translation, the points they made back and forth, positive and negative, were likely to be keenly received. But there were no hard and fast solutions on offer, largely because the panellists agreed that providing translation services is such a personal thing (for both translator and client) and the permutations of genre, subject and discipline so great that each case has more or less to be judged by its own merits. For instance, Jasper specializes in legal translation and marketing materials: Branco has a wider range, including film scripts and educational texts. And while some clients are happy to pay by the hour for certain services, others tend to stick to the good old per-word rate. But one thing they agreed on: when approaching clients or agencies, online is the best way to go to get the greatest reach, but it means you’ll have to have to differentiate yourself from the rest (to stand out from the thousands of other hopefuls) and be specific about the translation service niche you have to offer. And, as Branco reminded us, there’s no harm in calling a potential client or agency so that they actually hear your voice and can interact with you in a more personal way: that’s precisely what helped to get him a foot in the door!
Also, Jasper pointed out that as a starting translator, you should learn to say no when jobs you’re offered are either beyond your capability or when the rate is ridiculously low – in the latter instance, you’ll find it hard to charge a higher rate with the same client. Is there a right way when it comes to choosing between specialist or generalist? Not according to the panel; largely because each individual will have an offering that might be dead right for them or their client, or not. In the result, it’s possibly best to specialize in something you’re really passionate about, whether it’s marketing materials, video games or contracts.