Displaying items by tag: workshops

Dealing with language interference in texts

Joy Burrough-Boenisch, the Netherlands

After a brief recap on features of language interference, we’ll explore different forms of language interference in a variety of text extracts from a range of genres and discover and discuss ways of dealing with them. All the texts considered will be in English, but the ‘interfering’ language won’t always be Dutch: we’ll also look at English influenced by other languages and their writing conventions. So, expect to have to venture beyond your gezellig linguistic comfort zone but also to find that identifying and dealing with the often subtle linguistic influences and writing conventions from other languages that crop up in written English is intellectually satisfying and fun.

This 2½-hour workshop is limited to 16 participants. All will be sent a short homework assignment beforehand, which we will discuss during the workshop.

Register here.

About the presenter

Joy Burrough Boenisch

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.

Mailing banner 2020

We're putting together an exciting programme of online workshops for the autumn to round off our 2020 jubilee year.

Click here for the programme and fees.

Click here for an overview of the abstracts.

 

Blog writing

Write a blog post about the new EU payment service directive and make it entertaining, said my client. Before I could even think about the entertaining bit, I spent hours trawling through articles that all said such different things about the directive that I ended up reading the bloomin’ thing itself, or at least parts of it. If only I’d attended Stephen Johnston’s workshop ‘The impossible blog: how to write a readable blog from unreadable material’ beforehand. It was held in Den Bosch on 8 June, the day before the SENSE 2018 conference.

Make the complicated sound simple

So how do you write a readable blog about a less than thrilling topic? Well, said Stephen, it’s about the tone. That's what makes a blog a blog. Write as though you’re talking to someone, but without the ums and ers. Avoid jargon, and if you must use it, explain it. Make the complicated sound simple. Avoid words you wouldn’t use in regular speech.

Know your reader

It’s also important, said Stephen, to know who your reader is and why you’re writing for them. What do you (or your client) want the reader to do when they have read the blog? Buy your product? Find out more about your company? Contact you? Keep this in mind while researching and writing the blog.

This brought us on to the structure. Stephen had brought along some materials about a new product, ranging from a very technical proof of concept document to marketing slides. Our job was to scan the material and find three main messages, without forgetting the reader and aim of the blog. He explained that once you have these three messages you can present these together followed by the supporting material. Or you can present them as: main message, supporting material, main message, supporting material and so on.

How to start and finish

We also looked at what to say in the introduction, which is where you explain why you’re writing the blog. Then Stephen talked about ending with a ‘call to action’. This is what you want the reader to do when they finish the blog. Stephen also talked about using headings to make the post easier to scan.

A blog about writing blogs. How meta! So – I began the piece by explaining what it’s about, am writing as I talk, have made the subject matter sound simple and have three main messages followed by supporting material. All that's left now is the call to action. What do I want you the reader to do? Why not improve your blog writing skills by writing for the SENSE blog? We're always looking for new input and it's a great way to spread the word about your business. Contact me if you're interested. For upcoming workshops see the SENSE events page.

MarianneOrchardMarianne Orchard is on the SENSE Executive Committee and an editor and writer for the SENSE blog and newsletter. She is a freelance translator (Dutch to English), editor and writer who specializes in creative texts.

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