An April Fool's joke?

This text has been doing the rounds amongst translators for a while now. It is attributed to a nameless 5-star hotel in Beijing.

Once you've finished laughing - consider the implications of using a non-native speaker or an on-line translation programme for your translations. A small investment in professional translation will save your reputation and prevent your company from becoming a laughing stock around the world.

"Getting There:
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.

The hotel:
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.

The Restaurant:
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.

Your Room:
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.

Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.

Above all:
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it."

Survey for linguists

Lucinda Brooks of eCPD and Marta Stelmaszak of Want Words have set up a survey to investigate the gap in business training for translators and interpreters. All linguists are invited to take part before 1 p.m. GMT on Thursday 13 February.

It only takes a couple of minutes to complete - and you will be helping them with a major project to be announced in due course.

The link to the survey is here.

Free Conference in Cardiff

A two-day interdisciplinary symposium to be held 24-25 May 2014 has been designed to bridge the often glaring gap between words and music.  It will bring together international scholars from the fields of Translation Studies, language (Welsh, German, French, Italian, Spanish and English) and musicology with practitioners who deal with musico-linguistic challenges on a regular basis, such as composers, singers, translators, and opera subtitlers.

For more information visit the website.

Foreign languages and music - what could be nicer?

Christmas present from TranslationWorks

As a little Christmas present, TranslationWorks is offering a discount for clients wishing to improve their German or English next year.

Buy a course of 10 lessons by 4 pm on 20 December and receive 10th lesson free. Quote ref no: X10TW13

Five days to go until offer closes!

Improve your German or start from scratch. At a time to suit you. Tailored to your needs. (Bath only)


English conversation practice via Skype. Have fun practising with a TEFL-qualified native speaker (me!) and learn some grammar too!

Contact me on info[at]

I look forward to hearing from you.

....And don't forget the 10% discount is available until 4 p.m. on 20 December!

Translation event in Bristol

If you are in need of a break from purchasing presents, carefully crafting custom-written cards and munching on mince pies, then you may welcome the prospect of an afternoon of translation events at Bristol University on Monday, 17 December.

For more details click this link.

And have fun!

Translation technology

Translation technology is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or hate it.  Until recently, I was relatively uninspired by it. However, that all changed when I invested in a new programme and now I feel quite enthusiastic about CAT tools.

Kevin Lossner, a German to English translator based in the Berlin area, and one who knows a lot about the various tools available and their pros and cons, is running a two-question survey on his blog.

If you use a CAT tool - or even if you don't! -  you might be interested in answering the two questions. You have 20 days before the survey closes. It can be found here on the left-hand side of the page.

Freelance Italian translators sought for jobs in Bath

Readers who specialise in English to Italian translation and would like interesting-sounding work from a publishing company in Bath might be interested in this advertisement in The Guardian.

Disclaimer: I do not have anything to do with Future Publishing or The Guardian. I merely know of the advertiser because I live in the same city as it is based.

German Culture in Bath

Bath German Society's programme is getting into full swing for the season. We are always happy to welcome visitors and new members with a knowledge of German who wish to join in our activities.

Here is what's happening:

17 October: Rehearsal for singing at Bath Christmas Market in December. All singers welcome. Help with German pronunciation will be given if you don't speak German (yet!).

24 October: "Niemands Welt. Nachrichten aus Mitteleuropa." A talk and reading by Jörg Bernig, writer and poet. The event is funded by the DAAD and the University of Swansea.

21 November: Rehearsal for singing at Bath Christmas Market followed by "Freie Republik Schwarzenberg - Geschichte und Legende" by Dr Melina Freitag, University of Bath

12 December: Singing at Bath Christmas Market in aid of Julian House, shelter for the homeless. Followed by an Adventsabend with Glühwein and Stollen.

The Stammtisch meets every Wednesday lunchtime from 12:15 - 13:30 upstairs in Café Retro where coffee and Strudel can be ordered, as well as other items on the daily menu.

For further details, venues, etc. see Bath German Society and don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Quality in translation

It is no secret that professional translators strive for the highest quality in their translations. Errare humanum est, it's true, but all the translators I know can spend hours researching one obscure word in order to find exactly the right expression for the context of the document.

Bristol University's Festival of the Arts and Humanities is tackling the subject of
Translating poetry: the impossible art?

A plenary lecture for scholars, translators and poets is to be held on 16 November 2013 at 3.30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 3, 17 Woodland Road, University of Bristol, BS8 1 TB and this will be followed by a public debate on the same subject at the Watershed, 1 Canon's Road, BS1 5TX at 6.30 p.m. the same day.

For more details about the lecture, click here and for the debate, click here.
No doubt there will be a discussion of whether a poem's quality is improved or ruined by the translator's choice of words!

And if that is not enough challenge for you, you might consider the following Call for Papers for publication in the volume entitled "Interpreting Quality: A look around and ahead" in "Transkulturalität - Translation -Transfer (Frank & Timme, Berlin). Submissions accepted in English or German. For more details, click here.

Discount for new clients

To mark the beginning of a new academic year, and International Translation Day yesterday, I am offering a 5% discount for the first 5 new clients who sign up in October for a course of English conversation lessons (available via Skype) or for German lessons in Bath or via Skype  - or who commission me to do their translation project.

Language beginners can benefit from my Coffee Break lessons on Skype. These are 15 or 30 minutes in length. The idea is that these lessons take place several times a week to help the student build up fluency with regular practice.

More advanced students will find that lessons of 30 minutes to an hour allow time for practising pronunciation and a variety of phrases. We will discuss grammar points and have time for spontaneous and natural conversation.

Language learners: contact me via my contact page on the website. Please include information about how much English (or German) you already know and what you think you need to learn.

Translation clients: please use the contact page on the website and include information about your project (the length, the subject area, and the language combination).

Please quote the following code DIS13OC5. And remember: this offer is open for the first 5 new clients.

 I look forward to working with you!