A Burns Day round-up

Today is Burns Day, when Scots (here in Scotland and just about everywhere else in the world) celebrate the life and work of Robert (Rabbie) Burns. The celebrations often take the form of a Burns Supper at which the haggis takes pride of place, along with poetry and, of course, whisky.

Here’s a wee round-up of Burns-related stories.

Burns Night Treat Ends In Airport Alert As Ian Blake’s Haggis Is Mistaken For Plastic Explosives. The title of this article from the Huffington Post is self-explanatory. Don’t miss Ian’s poem at the bottom of the article: “On Being Hauled Out Of The Line By Security At Birmingham Airport ‘Because The Scan Shows You Have Plastic Explosive In Your Luggage, Sir’”.

Kate o Shanter’s Tale: the Tam o’Shanter story told from his wife Kate’s point of view. Tam is described in Wikepedia as “a farmer who often gets drunk with his friends in a public house in the Scottish town of Ayr, and his thoughtless ways, specifically towards his wife, who is waiting at home for him, angry”. Judging by Kate’s reaction in the poem, “angry” isn’t the half of it.

How to strengthen your voice – with Robert Burns! A blog post by Cordelia (aka Dilly) Ditton on how not to be a cow’rin, tim’rous beastie when you have to speak in public. Useful advice for anyone who gives talks or presentations.

Dilly’s post also features the beautiful “Ae Fond Kiss”, with a link to a BBC webpage about the poem. It’s sung in the video above by Rachel Sermanni, a Scottish singer whose grandfather came from Barga, in Tuscany. And here’s another Burns poem sung by an Italian-Scot, Paolo Nutini, whose family was also from Barga: A Man’s a Man for A’ That (what is it about Italian-Scots and Burns, I wonder?).

Other posts you might like:

“Dreich”: Scots, the Scots… or Scottish weather? 

The Caledonian Mercury: “Scotland’s first truly online newspaper”. Plus, Useful Scots Words.

When the poet died: on translating remembrance

And, last but certainly not least (watch your back Rabbie Burns!): The translators’ poet laureate (and rapper!)

By Marian Dougan





Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. My own Burns-related story: a few years ago here in Reunion a large multinational whisky company organised a Burns night for 500 people, and an appropriate amount of fresh haggis was flown in by courier. However January is the hottest time of year here and nobody had told DHL that fresh haggis needs to be kept refrigerated. The result was several hundred pounds of a stinking mess that all had to be thrown out…

    1. I don’t read a lot of poetry either, and I have to confess there’s a lot of Burns poetry I don’t understand (the Scots language, I mean). But I do like the songs.

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