The European Commission’s DG Translation (DGT) fulfils an important role as language services provider in the EU’s multilingual context, and will continue to do so in the future. As translation technology progresses and the DGT’s role and mix of resources change, so the competence profiles of its translation staff will need to be updated.
In this presentation, you will hear about current reflections on new, future-oriented competence profiles for translation staff of the different EU institutions. These will be based both on the current translator profile and on a comprehensive mapping and description of the current and future functions, roles, tasks, competencies and profiles of EU translation staff.
It goes without saying that technological developments – in particular that of machine translation – will require high-level human and linguistic competencies and that the EU institutions will continue to need highly skilled professional translators. For these reasons, the DGT collaborates with a network of MA programmes in Translation (the EMT network) in order to work towards improving the quality of training and helping young graduates to integrate smoothly into the translation job market.
Emma Hartkamp works as a Language Officer for the Representation of the European Commission in The Hague. Previously, she worked as a translator and advisor at the Directorate for Translation of the European Parliament. She began her career as a freelance interpreter and translator in Paris.
The story of how translations over the centuries produced the Bible in English that we have today is, at one and the same time, the story of English itself. The English language develops gradually throughout this long stretch of history from Old English part versions of the Books of the Bible through Middle English versions. But then the English Renaissance – influenced by humanism, the scholarship of Erasmus, the Devotio Moderna and the development of the printing press in Germany, England and Holland – resulted in the Early Modern English jewel that is the Authorised Version (King James Version) of the Bible, a work that has had, and continues to have, an impact on the history of English prose as fundamental as that of William Shakespeare.
And as change normally does, it all came at a cost – in Reformation times, translating the Bible became a matter of life and death. Even today, importing Bibles into certain countries is not allowed and could land you in prison.
As editors and translators we need to be aware of this whole area that saw such a fundamental change in attitude and that led gradually to the spread of a standardized form of English throughout the world. SENSE members, and others, should have some understanding of this specialised field that is of crucial importance to all wordsmiths working in the English language, as it forms an integral part of the story of English.
From winning a prize for Religious Knowledge at the Palmer Church of England Primary School, Wokingham, Berkshire to becoming a choirboy at Christchurch Priory Church, Dorset and then a Master of Theology from Innsbruck University, John Hynd has always been attracted to the world of belief and more especially Christian belief. Unable to become an ordained priest due to personal circumstances another door opened, namely, that of legal interpreting, translating and editing. That too was based on his theological studies and more especially Canon Law that he got a taste for when attending Jesuit Prof Johannes Muehlsteiger's lectures in Innsbruck, so much so in fact that instead of the required two-semester course, John went on to attend no less than six semesters of Canon Law! This was later accepted as a basis for entry into the Register of Official Translators and Interpreters (RBTV) in the Netherlands, since when he has never been without work.
We don’t sell bananas or coffee beans. We don’t outsource translations to child labour in the Third World. So why do I describe Interlex Language Services as a ‘Fair Trade Translation Company’? The answer is as simple as the concept: treating translators and clients honestly and with openness means they will be loyal to you; and working with integrity helps to improve the image of a sometimes tarnished profession. Interlex is a business not a charity, but that does not mean it is solely profit-motivated. In this short presentation-cum-case study, I attempt to demonstrate how Interlex is fair to its translators and its clients but can still make a decent living by doing a decent job. And that also means being fair to oneself, because we all like to think we are doing things the right way – and we all like appreciation, however experienced we are.
Nigel Saych is the founder and owner of a creative translation company based in Nuenen, near Eindhoven. No longer responsible for the daily administration, he is still very much involved as an active translator. For several years his company has implemented a Fair Trade policy, something initially treated with caution by others in the profession, now a hot topic.
Research funding is major international business and applications need to be submitted in clear, concise English to have the best chance of being awarded. Only 5 per cent of applications to many funding calls are successful, so editors or writers need to know what works best in this specific type of text. Applications will often require substantive editing and pointers on formatting.
An editor can ensure that a funding application answers these basic questions clearly: Why should this work be done? What are the direct or indirect deliverables? How will it be performed? Why do it now? Why should this particular applicant be awarded funds? Researchers often provide too much scientific detail and may omit an overview of their field or a socio-economic motivation for their project (valorisation). The research project must be described in a way that can be understood by a multidisciplinary assessment committee. Funding applications differ from research papers or reports in that researchers have to sell themselves as well as their ideas – and many find this difference challenging. An editor can help them to present their research papers, curricula vitae and personal web pages most effectively. I will also look at several categories of funding, including those to individuals and consortiums and those offered by large international bodies or smaller organisations with a very specific purpose. Each type of application needs to meet different content criteria.
Funding awards are important in advancing researchers’ careers, so providing editorial help at this crucial step is an expanding and profitable market for language professionals. And universities are increasingly willing to pay for such help because they, too, gain prestige from top awards.
Jackie Senior worked as an editor/translator and webmaster for two international research departments (Department of Genetics, University of Groningen/UMCG and UMC Utrecht) for 24 years. She now works independently, mostly on biomedical and geoscience texts. She started as a geologist at Shell (The Hague), but later worked as an editor for Shell Research (Rijswijk) and for Rabo Securities (an international investment bank). She taught the SENSE/ITV (Hogeschool Tolken en Vertalen, Utrecht) Editing Course for five years. Her editing/translating career spans 45 years. She was a founder member of SENSE in 1990, has served twice on its executive committee, and was appointed an honorary member in 2010.
When I started working at the grant support office of the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) two years ago, I found myself confronted by a 70-page proposal full of scientific and EU jargon. In less than one week, I restructured, cut and deleted text. At that time, I was not aware of some unwritten rules that make a proposal successful: it needs to describe all those elements, to contain a good amount of jargon and to include specific sections and headings. European grants, especially consortium grants, are very competitive. All the more reason for researchers to respond to every issue described in the call text, to write a well-structured proposal and to highlight the societal impact of the scientific project.
To help researchers at the UMCG write their proposal, we first have a two-hour brainstorming session with them, using the so-called Logical Framework Approach, an exercise in objective-oriented project planning. During this session, we define together the problem, the purpose, the results and the impact of their project; all these elements need to be clearly described on the first page of the proposal. Starting from there, we build the whole proposal, composed of the research project, the wide societal impact and the implementation. Once the proposal is complete, we send it to editors for the final revision. During the presentation, I will share some of the reactions of our researchers when they receive their proposals back from the editors.
Laura Damiano received her PhD in cancer biology in 2009 from the University of Torino (Italy); then she moved to California for her post-doctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2013, she made the definitive jump into scientific editing, following a Professional Sequence on Editing at the UC Berkeley and becoming a freelance editor. After living in the Sunny State for five years, she moved to Groningen, where she opened her own editing activity. In February 2018 she joined the team of the UMCG Research BV as editor and project manager.
Carbon footprint – we’re hearing about it all the time. What options do we have in our industry to make a difference? After jetting around the world for pleasure and work for many years, I decided to stop flying for a year. Was it possible to sustain my lifestyle and not fly anywhere, and does it really make a difference? Often, the first response to telling people you have given up flying is an indignant ‘but trains and ferries are just as bad’. But are they? A Barcelona–Amsterdam flight, although short and convenient, emits 117.1 kg of CO2 compared to 18.99 kg CO2 when you take the train. With scientists and organisations such as the UN warning that we only have a few years left to save the planet, why are we still flying so much?
After undertaking a 46-hour trip to get from Barcelona to Split for the MET conference last autumn, I started to document ways to make a difference and what needs to improve in the non-airline travel sector. How do you avoid waste when travelling for that long (plastic water bottles, food packaging, etc)? How do you ensure that you can work in peace on a seven- to eight-hour train journey? And what are your rights when things go wrong? We all know about the EU directive when you fly, but what rights do train and ferry passengers have?
This is a short presentation about how to find the best way to get where you need to go at the least cost to the environment.
Justine Sherwood is a freelance legal translator currently based in Barcelona. Originally from England, where she never felt at home, she left for the more liberal climate of the Netherlands in 1989. She now lives in Spain and enjoys the best of both worlds – Mediterranean weather but working exclusively for Dutch clients. She has always been concerned about the environment and turned vegetarian when she was 13. In May 2019 she decided to trade in her carefree jet setting lifestyle and see if it was possible to live without flying in the 21st century.
When translating the work of a single author, part of what we do is develop their English-language voice. In this process, we are guided by any number of considerations: the genre and tone of the original text, its intended readership in the new language and the author’s own personal style. How should the author ‘sound’ in English? What sorts of words and expressions might they use if they were a native speaker? In all of this, of course, we are guided by our own natural idiom, which is in turn influenced by the language context in which it developed.
But many translations are also revised – by an editor or a second translator. What happens if the revisor’s idiom differs from that of the original translator? How does that affect the author’s voice in English? What criteria determine whose version ‘wins out’? Does the country of publication play a role? And what if the work is to be published in several English-speaking countries?
The two speakers come from either side of the AmE–BrE divide and have been revising each other’s translations for years. This process has made them more aware of the countless idiomatic differences between their variants of English. At the same time, however, they have come to realise that they seldom disagree on the essentials.
This presentation will explore the ‘gap’ between AmE and BrE in the context of revising translations. The speakers will share their experiences of revising across the gap and present examples for the audience to consider. They argue that their different language backgrounds can bring new insights, enriching the revision process.
Maria Sherwood Smith is a lecturer in Academic English at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences in Leiden and at VU University Amsterdam. She also works as a freelance translator and language editor, mainly for academic publications. From 2003–2018 she was an in-house translator for the Dutch police.
Erica Moore is the language girl, and provides non-fiction translation and translation editing, as well as a matchmaking service for authors and translators, and newsletter content and strategy for Dutch authors and public-interest organisations. She chooses natural language over strict grammar rules, always. And yet: is an Oxford comma diehard. (It’s complicated.) Rediscovered reading thanks to smartphones. Twitter lurker. Bike infrastructure enthusiast. A graduate of the Plan II liberal arts program at UT Austin, Erica’s lived in Amsterdam now for 10 years.
Punctuation marks aren’t always used with the same frequency or in the same way in different languages. Take round brackets (in UK English, simply ‘brackets’): in Dutch- authored texts they’re often used in contexts and registers in which in English they would be used sparingly, if at all. Although some authorities on punctuation in English say that removing brackets enclosing a word or phrase from a sentence will leave a sentence that still makes sense, if you do this to a Dutch-authored sentence, you usually end up with a grammatically correct sentence that does not mean what the author intended.
Simply removing embedded brackets (brackets enclosing part of a word, as in the title of SENSE Conference2020: ‘(Re)Vision’) certainly isn’t advisable either – yet, strangely, there’s a lack of authoritative advice about using such brackets and about their purpose(s) in English. Small wonder that interpreting and using brackets vexes most language professionals translating Dutch or working with Dutch English. Drawing on my extensive collection of regular and quirky examples, I will therefore explain, compare and contrast ways that brackets are used by Dutch authors and by English native speakers uncontaminated by Dutch usage. My aim is to make language professionals more confident about bracket usage in English.
Although the presentation is intended primarily for language professionals whose exposure to ‘Dutch’ brackets has affected their interpretation and use of brackets in English, it will be an eye opener to anyone unaware of what can happen when a punctuation mark’s conventions and practices are transferred from one language to another.
Joy Burrough-Boenisch (MITI) is a founder member and past chair of SENSE with a long career as a freelance authors’ editor and translator for Dutch academics and scientists. She has taught scientific English to graduate students and has presented webinars. She has given workshops for language professionals on editing non-native English in various European countries and for the European Commission. Her conference presentations include two in 2018 as an invited speaker at ATA’s New Orleans conference. Originally a geographer, she learnt to edit in Borneo and Australia before moving to the Netherlands, where her interest in second language interference and non-native English resulted in a PhD thesis on Dutch scientific English. As well as being the author of Righting English that’s gone Dutch (3rd ed 2013), she has various scholarly and professional publications on editing and non-native English to her name.
MS Word is one of the essential tools of our trade and mastering it will give you more time to focus on and enjoy creating beautiful language. But in order to deliver ready-to-use documents, editors and translators often have to tidy up the client’s draft first. Tackling this can be a quick-and-easy way to impress, but many language professionals lack the finer points of MS Word, so they pass up this opportunity.
Besides picking up many productivity tips, you’ll learn and practise how to tidy up a document by:
If you want to focus on your clients’ message rather than on what MS Word does when you’re not looking, then this one’s for you! Focusing as it does on the practical aspects of tidying up a document rather than on the individual word features, this workshop is ideal for any language professional who wants to use MS Word more efficiently and effectively. Participants should bring their own laptop to the workshop.
Jenny Zonneveld has a business background. Before she became a freelance translator, copywriter, and editor over 20 years ago, she spent more than 15 years at a firm of management consultants and worked in the UK, USA, Belgium, and the Netherlands. At the start of her freelance career Jenny compiled and prepared a series of reports stretching to hundreds of pages and including many tables and images, all in MS Word. In 2002 she developed a two-day hands-on MS Word workshop for SENSE, which was presented several times. From 2004 to 2006 it was offered to translation students as part of the Editing Minor run by SENSE and the ITV School of Interpreters & Translators.
An increasing number of authors are having to write in English as their SL or FL. This places the onus on copy-editors and revisors to improve authors' writing so as to render it accessible to readers. Sometimes, in order to do so optimally, grammar skills need to be honed further. The incorrect or inappropriate use of connectors (either verbal connectors or punctuation marks) is a particularly troublesome aspect of much writing that requires editorial intervention.
This workshop will focus on the devices that can be used in written texts to ensure a smooth flow and logical connections between the parts of sentences, and even between sentences themselves. Skilled use of the appropriate connectors ultimately leads to texts that convey an author’s intended meaning most effectively. Such texts are also more accessible to readers.
We will be investigating ways of using (and ‘abusing’) both verbal connectors – conjunctions, relative pronouns, sentence adverbials – and punctuation marks – in particular the comma, the semicolon, the colon, the dash, parentheses – not only correctly but also to achieve the author's intended effect or meaning.
The participants will ‘learn by doing’ by engaging with a selection of substandard texts and considering ways of making them flow more smoothly and logically, using any or all of these devices. What will emerge from this workshop is a better grasp of how to use each of these connective devices to best effect.
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.