Another year begins

Here we are almost two months into 2014 already and the blog has been neglected for a long, long time.


To be honest, it’s not the best moment to try to start again. I’m suffering from a severe lack of motivation. Work has dried up since Christmas and right now, I’m not very bothered. The famous ‘financial cushion’ is in place and I’ve lost interest in taking any kind of initiative to pull in new business. I’d rather sit down on the sofa and watch YouTube videos or go out on my bike.

In fact, I’m thinking about switching business altogether. I had a little life-changing experience last June, when I inadvertently discovered that eating foods with yeast in them gave me headaches and made me feel very tired. Given that for most of my life, lunch had consisted of a sandwich I had always thought that my 4pm energy slump was entirely normal. Since I stopped eating yeast, I’ve got more energy than I know what to do with and am spending more and more time on my bike. One thing has led to another, and now I’m thinking about designing sports clothing for women. I have a million ideas and the only thing that’s holdiing me back is a fear that I’ll be entirely absorbed by it.

Meanwhile, translating seems a pretty dull option. At the same time, I’m paralysed by wondering if this will be a passing fad or whether I should put some serious energy into a(nother) new project. For now, I don’t have an answer.



Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Where did  the last year go? I see my previous post was on 23rd June 2012. That’s more than a year ago. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Looks like I’m going to have some catching up to do 😦

It’s Over


The 12-16 hour daily schedule of the past two weeks or so is finally over. The heavy lifting is done, and the last batch of the big project was delivered yesterday. Four weeks’ work accomplished in two weeks. What a herculean effort!

The project that has taken up the vast majority of my time this week has been something a bit different. Usually I’m translating narrative texts – articles and papers that basically tell a story. This week I’ve been translating a web application – lots of single words, category names and headings. Together with a staggering amount of paraphrasing of legal texts. It’s very different to what I’m used to, and I think, probably much more like what a lot of translators do for a day job. It’s a very different approach. Accuracy and correct form is much more important than flow.

It’s been interesting to experience the difference and broaden my experience, but I’ll be pretty happy to get back to translating stories 🙂


I think the last time I worked so hard for so long was during my comp sci degree ten years ago. This is mad! The weather is really warming up here now, I suspect it’s due to my vastly increased brain activity 🙂

I’m back!

Canal du Midi in southern France

Canal du Midi in southern France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a long silence I know, but things have been happening.

We’re back from our visit to Toulouse, and… we have a new house. Even better, it’s FANTASTIC! Fifty percent bigger and much better than where we are now, and comes complete with a garden of 2500 square metres (yes we do have to mow it, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it). It faces the beautiful Canal du Midi and is surrounded by a wheat field. I can’t wait to move.

As for business, it’s also booming. The funny thing is that while we were away doing full-on house-hunting, I had no work coming in. The day we arrived back here, it started pouring in. As if it had been organised.

A Moan

Latex Fashion Show

Latex Fashion Show (Photo credit: tetradtx)

I’ve said it many times before, and I’m going to say it again – I hate editing. It’s so damn HARD. Thank the Lord I’m done with the Norwegians for the time being (there’ll be more, don’t think I’ve stopped complaining about that) but this week has brought more editing. As usual, trying to figure out what you think someone might be trying to say in their sentences that cover half a page, deploy vocabulary that is unusual to say the least and use syntax that leaves you wondering if they were sober when the piece was written,  is tough going. Once again, I have to concentrate so hard it quickly makes my head very heavy. This is even worse because it’s written in LaTeX.

When I started out, I was reluctant to work in LaTeX, but as I’m in a minority of folk who even knows what it is, never mind can work in it, it’s brought me some business I wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s made for engineers and mathematicians who need to format formulas and data. Trouble is, it really isn’t suited to editing. There’s no tracking changes, limited spell and grammar checking and no way to highlight the tricky bits so that I’ll remember to come back to them. But, worst of all, I can’t make the text nice and big and easy to read (I usually work at 130% magnification). It’s dense, difficult and tiny.

Once this is over, there should be some translation work coming in. Hallelujah!!

Eddie Izzard on Latin


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Eddie Izzard at The Lyric Theatre, 2nd Decembe...The other day I head Petula Clark being interviewed in French on French radio. If you’d asked me I wouldn’t have been completely sure she was still alive, but age 79 she is still cranking out the music. And she speaks French! Now that is really unexpected. Another unexpected French speaker is Eddy Izzard, who, I believe does his stand-up routine in French. He’s one of the few comedians I know who is really funny. If you haven’t seen his Death Star Routine, I highly recommend it. He often talks about language, and here’s his take on Latin and the English language (pick it up around the 56 minutes mark – the Romans).

French for French Speakers


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Traduction Edition Scientifique

My new logo

Every so often I survey the market of other translators’ websites. I check out how much they charge, how quickly they work, whether they’re offering something I’m not, etc. Usual stuff.

Each time, I’m surprised all over again by the fact that French to English translators almost always write their websites in English.  If you want to attract French speakers looking for a translation, doesn’t it make sense to address them in their native language? Maybe use both languages, just to demonstrate that you can write in English, but at least have some French in there.

What am I missing?

French Pronunciation


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I’ve posted before about how French speakers can identify a non-native speaker just from the one single word ‘bonjour’. One of my current quests in life is to perfect my pronunciation so that it will take a few more words than just ‘hello’ before someone detects that I’m a rosbif.

The other day I came across the very wonderful Cheryl A. Demharter (aka FrenchSounds) who looks like she may hold the key to the holy grail 🙂 Check out her fantastique YouTube vid.