Archive for the 'Writing' Category

It seems Birmingham isn’t the only city having bother with place name apostrophes, as shown by the Londonist website’s post on Should King’s Cross Have An Apostrophe?. Unlike Birmingham City Council, however, the various London authorities haven’t reached a unanimous decision. The simple truth is that there is no ‘official’ stance on the name. Or, […]

UK local authorities seem to have a fraught relationship with punctuation and spelling. Birmingham City Council decided in January 2009 to remove the possessive apostrophe from its place names — presumably the issue was too contentious to resolve otherwise. St Paul’s Square, King’s Norton and Druid’s Heath have thus become St. Pauls Square, Kings Norton and […]

I wrote on 21 July about quote-marks — how to decide whether you should be using curly (smart) or straight quotes and, once you’ve decided, how to type them using keyboard shortcuts where necessary. Translators, however, need to decide not just which quote marks to use but whether or not to “translate” them. For example, […]

Keyboard shortcuts are a great timesaver when you’re spending hours typing away on your computer. I’ve just learned a couple of new ones, for inserting smart (curly) quotes in text where autoformat functions, such as Word’s, don’t work, and for doing the opposite: inserting straight quotes when you’re working in AutoFormat mode. I discovered these tips […]

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve had a speech-flavoured working week. Translating a speech is a good opportunity for translators to provide added value for their clients. Not only should our translated text read fluently and naturally, it should also be easy for non-native-speaking clients to read aloud (and for their audience to […]

If you haven’t got round to making any business resolutions yet for 2011, or are stuck or ideas, here are some belated suggestions. Resolution 1 Raise your fees, if you haven’t already, especially if you live in the UK. See my own Resolution no. 1. If you’re a translator, check out Kevin Lossner’s post on the […]

If one of your New Year resolutions is to improve your writing style (are you reading this, clients? you know who you are) this musical style guide might help you. Good news: clarity’s a-coming! It was produced by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation (DGT): We are leading a campaign to encourage Commission officials […]

My post on Tuesday (26 October) was about how to type an ellipsis; this one goes into a wee bit more detail about when you should do so. I’ve lifted the following straight from Wikipedia, mainly to save time but also because I love the following phrase: “the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of […]

Here’s a quick tip  that comes in handy for computer-typing in general and Twitter in particular (it saves you two characters). When you’re typing an ellipsis (three dots indicating an omission), instead of typing all three dots, type it as a single character by using the following keyboard shortcuts: Mac OS ellipsis: OPTION + semicolon […]

To those of you still fretting over the Oxford Comma dilemma (and who don’t read the Comments – tsk, tsk!), the “august journal” Speculative Grammarian offers the following solution: Since the OC appears to present more problems of CrossPondian translation than any other form of punctuation, a solution must be found which satisfies users on both […]