High-level writing, rhythm and flow, Mike Hannay

Professional editors, writers and translators often comment that the core of their work revolves around playing with the flow of sentences. Yes, lexical and grammatical choices need to be correct and appropriate, and all genre and disciplinary conventions need to be applied consistently, but a lot of the added value that language professionals provide comes from each sentence in the text feeling good, sounding good. The rhythm must be right, and there needs to be balance.

Mike has been thinking about this notion of flow. We can tell when a sentence does not have it, and we will have a whole repertoire of devices for improving flow, but who has sat down and drawn up a categorized list of the most common flow problems encountered in texts written by, say, Dutch-speaking authors or produced by machine translation? Mike does not have such a list, but thinks it would be nice to have one.

He will start the session by presenting some ideas on what he sees as essential elements of flow and what might be useful elements of an editor’s checklist [something you could also rework as the section on flow in a ‘clear writing’ guide]. The idea would then be to see if we can pool our experiences and together take some initial steps towards a categorization in linguistic terms of things to look out for. Mike will bring some example sentences with him, and invite participants to do so too. He would also be glad to hear in advance from anyone who knows of publications which deal with flow or related notions like rhythm in an analytical fashion.

About the presenter

Mike Hannay is emeritus professor of English language and linguistics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and chairman of the Nationaal Platform voor de Talen.

Copywriting: what is it and could you do it? Cathy Scott

Copywriting is the art of creating concepts and writing words that sell. You may be selling goods, services, brands or ideas: anything from a pot of face cream to a supermarket promotion, a medical device, a new way of working or even a political party. Copywriting normally includes communicating the positive benefits of whatever you are selling, while conveniently neglecting to mention any negatives. This lack of balance (also common to PR) distinguishes it from journalism. During her presentation, she'll be explaining the basics of copywriting, including how copywriters work: 

  • For advertising agencies and direct clients
  • In all sorts of traditional and new media (from print & TV ads to direct emails & Facebook blogs)
  • At any or all stages of the communication path, from creating concepts (headline, visual, strapline) to crafting the web copy
  • On different communications directed towards different target groups within each advertising campaign

Cathy will also outline some of the practicalities:

  • Who you might be working with in a team/agency
  • Why they might want your linguistic and/or creative skills
  • The difference between an in-house and a freelance copywriter
  • Which skills you should have as a minimum (Word, pdf, Excel, PPT)
  • What you might be asked to do (including the boring stuff, e.g. corporate newsletters, packaging materials…)
  • How people work (brief, phone, etc.)
  • What you should do to add value (be honest, but maybe not too much so)
  • How you should behave (proactive, engaged, respectful, honest)
  • How to set up and attract clients
  • Background reading (ad books)
  • Useful sayings (to bear in mind, but perhaps not say out loud)

About the presenter

Cathy Scott is a British copywriter who has been in the advertising business for almost as long as the Dulux dog.

After working on many consumer, B2B and healthcare accounts for London ad agencies, she went freelance before setting up shop in the Netherlands. She now operates as a copywriter, translator and editor – often on the same unsuspecting piece of text.

Cathy is a stickler for accuracy, which is why she recently attended a client’s conference in Disneyland Paris so that she could report on it from a position of knowledge. As Welfare Officer of the Dutch branch of the National Union of Journalists, she also takes a keen interest in the underside of the writing profession, and will often be found expressing solidarity with those refusing to join the race to the bottom.

Translating in architecture, Dianna Beaufort

There is no ‘virgin’ land any more, certainly not in the Netherlands. Every spot has a history, has been surveyed and has zoning. These are the constraints within which every planner and architect must work. Dianna Beaufort will explain some of the jargon in Dutch ruimtelijke ordening and talk about the importance of the written word for architects and planners. They employ a specific language to persuade and justify their proposed designs to the many actors involved in the building industry, from bureaucrats and politicians to clients and contractors. She will discuss the process of architecture, highlight some specifically Dutch practices and cover some of the different kinds of writing that serve this specialized field.

About the presenter

Dianna Beaufort has a background in architectural conservation and heritage planning, and works as a translator and editor in these fields.

From Lada to Lamborghini: tips for gaining and retaining valuable repeat clients, Jenny Zonneveld

Freelance writers, editors and translators are under increasing pressure from agencies driving rates downwards. As freelancers, we need to stand out from the crowd, adapt our working practices, and grow as professionals to ensure we enjoy what we do if we want to continue making a good living. Drawing on more than 20 years’ experience, Jenny will give ideas and tips for professionalising your business that will help you to move out of the bulk market and thus enable you to raise your rates.

About the presenter

Jenny Zonneveld has a business background. Before she became a freelance translator, copywriter, and editor, about 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. She specialised in managing IT and Logistics projects. In her current work, her clients appreciate Jenny for her insight into language matters as well as all things technical. Jenny has built up long-term relationships with her clients, who keep her very busy!

What not to forget in your quotation, John Linnegar & Jenny Zonneveld

Most manuscripts are like Pandora’s box: open them up and – surprise, surprise – any number of gremlins can (and probably will) fly out at you! And that despite the client believing their text needs only a ‘light touch’. As a result, when quoting for editing or translation work, we must first lift the lid on the text supplied. We have to scan the entire manuscript (or a representative sample) to uncover its many elements: 

  • Does it contain figures and tables or spreadsheets (fiddly work, often) or finicky footnotes/endnotes?
  • Will the headings, subheadings and captions require styling in addition to editing or translation?
  • Is the structure logical?
  • Often, the supplied table of contents doesn’t tally with the structure of the manuscript, so, despite the client's claims to the contrary, that task will require your attention too.

Next, we must evaluate all of the elements we uncover (including the quality of the writing) to determine what needs to be done and how long each task will take. This will require a close read of randomly selected passages or chapters as an essential step towards drawing up a quotation based on the page count, the number of words and/or the estimated time it will take you to complete the job to the client’s satisfaction.

John (copy-editor) and Jenny (translator) will share their experiences with clients and quoting during this plenary session at the PDD.

About the presenters

As a freelancer since 1984, John Linnegar has had to prepare many quotations for editing work. In his experience, all jobs need a unique cost-estimate approach. John works with some useful checklists and handy tools to guide him. Besides volunteering for SENSE, John has also been active in several professional societies of editors, including the Professional Editors’ Guild in South Africa (he served as Chair for several years), the Canberra Society of Editors, SfEP, MET and NEaT.

Jenny Zonneveld has a business background. Before she became a freelance translator, copywriter and editor more than 20 years ago, she spent almost as long working for a firm of management consultants. Over the years, Jenny has drawn up many project quotes, often for substantial translation projects involving multiple files and thousands of words. In her current work, Jenny has built long-term relationships with her clients, who still like to know what to expect on the invoice in advance! Besides being a long-standing member of SENSE and serving on the EC, Jenny is a member of MET, ITI (MITI) and NEaT.

An introduction to Cornwall and its languages, Anita van Adelsbergen

The Cornish are often overlooked when it comes down to English language, culture and society. However, Cornish culture is very rich and the Cornish people have definitely made their mark on societies around the world. As experts in their field, the Cornish miners travelled out to several continents to transfer their knowledge, including Australia and the United States of America. Many of them actually ended up in politics, such as the Penn family of Penn-sylvania. This presentation discusses Cornish culture, history and the Cornish languages, i.e. the Cornish dialect and the Cornish (Celtic) language revival. A short introduction to the Cornish language will be provided!

About the presenter

Anita van Adelsbergen MA CL is a Chartered Linguist in the UK and sworn translator in the Netherlands. During her English MA degree, she studied Celtic and American Studies at Utrecht University. She finalised her MA research project on Cornish-Americans there as well. After her studies, she continued researching the Cornish and their (Celtic) history, as well as the Cornish and Welsh languages.

The diverse skills and roles for language professionals in academia and science, Jackie Senior & Kate McIntyre

Academic researchers need to publish at the highest level of impact, which puts non-native speakers of English at a major disadvantage. They can employ language professionals (LP, editors/translators) to help level the playing field. We will discuss the skills and attitudes needed for working on specialized tasks for different stakeholders, and present concrete and anecdotal evidence of LPs’ added value.

LPs working for researchers and academic departments may perform editing, translation, copywriting, teaching and website maintenance. Being available to comment at each step of the research process – from idea to proposal, from presentation to publication – enables the LPs to help train PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

For specific editorial services, LPs will need to keep up with the formatting, style guidelines, and content required by leading academic journals and funding bodies. They must ensure that the English in a text is correct and comprehensible to a global audience, but also that the content is fit for purpose and of sufficiently high standard to give it the best chance of being published or funded.

LPs should be interested in academic work and scientifically literate. And they need to be calm, friendly and service-minded, flexible in their working hours, and able to cope with the stress of impossible demands and tight deadlines.

About the presenters

Jackie Senior worked as editor/webmaster for the Dept. of Genetics, University of Groningen/University Medical Centre Groningen, the Netherlands, from 20072018. Kate McIntyre has taken over this position. Jackie Senior works primarily on biomedical and earth science texts. She started as a geologist working for Shell but joined the UMC Utrecht’s genetics group in 1995. She has been editing/translating for more than 40 years. She was a founder member of SENSE in 1990, served twice on its Executive Committee and is an honorary member.

Kate McIntyre did post-doctoral research in geochemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara and at CALTECH. After moving to the Netherlands, she started freelance editing in 2010 and has led workshops on academic writing for graduate students. She has also published one children’s book in Dutch, De knikkelares.

Translating for fun and profit, Peter Smethurst

This session will concentrate on working smarter rather than harder and on ideas and methods to ensure a good night’s sleep. It will use an imaginary job to look at the entire process from beginning to end, including all the boring but essential stuff that helps things go as smoothly as possible. Many translators waste a lot of time and lose a lot of sleep because they have not planned their work properly, spend time firefighting and clearing up, are not sure where they are with billing, who has paid them, or what to do when the BTW or income tax bills arrive. I will draw on my experience of running my own business and previously in finance to offer tips and ideas that have served me well.

About the presenter

After qualifying as a chartered accountant, Peter moved to the Netherlands in 1981. Following jobs in finance and the computer industry, he began as a professional translator 25 years ago, first as an employee and after 18 months as a zzp’er. He specialises in financial and other commercial work.

Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation, Francis Cox

How do you write online content that’s optimised for search engines so that it drives traffic to your client’s website or your own? Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most misunderstood (and fear-inducing) subjects when it comes to online communication. This presentation aims to demystify SEO by explaining the following: 

  • What is SEO?
  • What is SEO copywriting? 
  • Researching keywords 
  • Using keywords in copy 
  • How to use links 
  • Other tips

By the end of this presentation, attendees will have a basic understanding of SEO so that they can put it into practice for themselves.

About the presenter

After over 20 years as a freelance English copywriter, Francis Cox has done it all. OEM, automotive, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, logistics, marine engineering, financial services, food, animal nutrition, recruitment, chemicals, non-profit and more. As a result, he has extensive experience writing a wide range of marketing materials: blogs, social media, webpages, interactive online presentations, ads, press releases, customer case studies, videos, direct marketing materials, brochures, product presentations, articles, plus internal and external newsletters.

SENSE Conferences and PDDs

SENSE organizes conferences every two years and professional development days in alternate years.

The 2015 conference was held in Utrecht on 14 November 2015. It consisted of two plenary sessions, two elective sessions (with ten topics to choose from), a panel discussion, and lots of networking opportunities.

The 2018 conference was held in ’s Hertogenbosch on 9-10 June 2018. It featured two plenary sessions and five elective sessions (with 25 topics to choose from).

The 2020 conference was originally planned for Maastricht, but due to lockdown and the coronavirus it was moved online and took place over three days on 3-5 June 2020.  Attendees were treated to 15 separate workshops, as well as ample networking opportunities.  An additional 7 workshops were offered as an autumn jubilee during the same year.

The professional development days (PDD) are mini-conferences aimed primaily at SENSE members themselves.  The 2019 PDD was a one-day event in Amersfoort on 21 September 2019. It consisted of two plenary sessions and four elective sessions (with eight topics to choose from).

The 2021 PDD will be a two-day event online, on 18 and 25 September 2021.  It features two plenary sessions, three panel discussions, six elective sessions available on both days and 9 additional sessions to choose from, not to mention networking opportunities during specific times on Zoom and all day long on Wonder.

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