In a rather rash move three days ago, I claimed my a Facebook page called Allison Wright Translations on which I still have not posted anything of interest. What better way to kick off a new start than by reviewing what has gone before?
I am aware that my scribblings from last year are scattered. While some enjoyed a wide readership at the time of publication, chiefly as guest blogs, others did not but perhaps should have. Each blog reflects something of what I cared to share of my preoccupations last year on aspects of our profession. Click on the subheadings in each case to take you to the blog in question.
I am grateful to translation colleagues for the cheerful interaction involved in producing some of these pieces. I am equally grateful to all my clients, for without the challenges their texts produce, I would not have much to write about at all.
Here are the blogs in chronological order:
07 Jan 2016 – Guest blog – Greatest Women in Translation: Allison Wright | Carol’s Adventures in Translation
Sabine Lammersdorf, whom I have met in the blogosphere and translations forums, nominated me for this interview because she likes the way I write. Somewhat perversely, I chose to write my responses as closely to my own natural style as possible, and did not attempt to shorten any sentences or simplify. The result is a long, dense text, with the nine questions asked functioning as subheadings and at least offering the reader some reprieve, albeit brief. The interview contains a discussion on my views on collaboration, membership of professional associations, plagiarism and copyright issues, and the merits of translators’ blogs.
I published this on the blog on my Allison Wright Translations website which makes the point that even translators do not expect their words to be translated, and friends do a double-take when they read in error the machine translation on social media of what you have written in your second language. Although it is nice to have a blog dedicated to translation matters only, I find the Weebly platform cumbersome, but will make an effort to write more of this sort of article there this year. That is not promising a lot. If I write two blogs there the entire year in 2017, I shall be able to claim a year-on-year improvement in blogging frequency of 100%.
Lucy Brooks of eCPD Webinars twisted my arm into trimming this post, already on my website blog , to suit. The little drawing appearing at the end of the article is a digitally doctored doodle I did with my favourite fountain pen when I wrote the original blog. I draw cups and ink bottles convincingly on occasion, that is all.
An introductory analysis of the trial version of Stylewriter 4, a tool to improve one’s written style. It makes disparaging references to the first guest blog of the year. Although I did not purchase the program, I have visions of subjecting the tool to a whole novel one day. The pedant in me disagrees with many of the underlying principles of tools such as these. I much prefer it when humans apply red ink to what I write. As translators and writers, we need to hone our craft constantly, whatever route we choose.
Apparently I disappeared from the blogging scene for three and a half months. Much of the content of this blog had been drafted on paper during what was a very hectic work period for me. I had to publish it before the following blog, hence its sudden appearance.
Most of this review of Steve Dyson’s self-published A French-English Glossary of Naval Technology had his approval prior to publication. Its publication coincided intentionally with our meeting in person for the first time at Aptrad’s first international translator’s conference. Now, in real life, we do some work together. If I could swallow Steve’s glossary whole, I would. Even so, I am not sure that it would necessarily make me a better translator.
The Aptrad translators’ conference in Porto was not just any old conference for me. It brought together a lifetime of ties and connections. I felt thoroughly at home. When I did return home, I felt changed for the better, somehow. I like the new landscape I see as a result. It is also the longest blog of the year, for which I make no apology.
Events in the real world (as opposed to ‘Translatorland’) do enter my consciousness daily, and sometimes incense me. You should have heard the spoken version of this piece before I set it in writing! It deals with a particular case of plagiarism which many will find hard to forget. If anything prompts me to rant, plagiarism will.
Nikki Graham of Tranix has to persuade me persistently over the course of a several months to draw together my views on this topic. I am so glad I did! I had enormous fun writing this very serious post. It was also the first time, as far as I can remember, that I have included a ‘rude joke’ in a blog. I had Simon Berrill, an esteemed blogging colleague, revise my blog before Nikki herself revised it prior to publication. This was helpful on three minor points, one of which was crucial; this in itself speaks volumes about the value of revision. Although this post was widely read thanks to Nikki’s assiduous tweeting and endless retweets, I am uncertain as to how many people have actually implemented translator-revisor pairs as part of their standard best practice. I would like to see much more discussion on this topic both in translator blogs and translation forums on social media. To get the translator-revisor pairs you need is a tricky, trial and error endeavour, but ultimately rewarding on many levels which are quite beyond the scope of this re-hash summary. If you do blog on this subject, please tag me in a tweet—@wrightbutton—or in a Facebook comment. Let’s get some meaningful discussion going on the practical aspects of this topic.
I discovered a treasure of a book on Kindle. In this post, I argue the need for solitary introspection. I find the writings of Saint Jerome (in this particular English translation) quite inspirational. Where they do not inspire, the prose itself delights me. This book has pride of place in my cave for the time being. I read random pages, and find it very relaxing.
This is a light-hearted summary of my experience of METM16, the conference held by Mediterranean Editors & Translators in Tarragona, Spain.
If anyone thinks blogging is a waste of time, remember that at a most basic level, it is merely practice for when you are invited to do real work with like-minded folk whose aggregated experience is mind-boggling and talent for honing in on weak spots finely tuned: I am referring to an interesting little project on the side; voluntary participation in a writing team for next year’s event. With only only two articles under our collective belt and a third in the pipeline, I have already learnt so much: a metanoia in its own right. Look it up.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me by reading what I write and commenting. I also extend a very special thank you to Catherine Christaki who does an excellent job each week with her Weekly translation favorites listing the many blogs of interest within the world of translation. Her tweeting activity is to be admired, as are her efforts to promote the exchange of ideas between translators.
I have plans this year to publish guest blogs in Portuguese on my website and invite colleagues to contact me with their contributions. The idea is that together with the writer of the original in Portuguese, I (or someone else) would craft a translation in English, and publish the two versions side by side in the hope that this will invite comparative analysis by readers and stimulate discussion in the blog comments. Please contact me if this idea appeals to you!
©2017 Allison Wright