How not to get trapped by a translation app

Please welcome Christine Camm, an expert French-English translator whom I met recently via social media. Despite my being bilingual English-French myself I’ve often wondered how the hell professional translators manage to sleep at night, given the ridiculous differences between these two lingos.

And … how English speakers, in particular, manage to destroy whatever co-comprehension there might remain considering that the Brits still feel the French will understand their English provided that they shout it loudly enough, and the French think anyone living from the White Cliffs of Dover northwards is a totally unhinged rosbif who probably needs not only French lessons but also to stop shouting and get a life.
 article about english to french translation

Christine takes up the story with a charming anecdote … 

A young London couple, Carol and Simon, start planning their next short holiday

“Let’s go to Paris,” suggests Simon.

Carol raises one eyebrow and instantly pictures the two of them on a boat, gently floating along the Seine past Notre Dame, sipping champagne and grabbing that all important click of the sun setting behind the Eiffel Tower against the deep blue Parisian sky. The air is warm and accordion music is gently playing. [Read more…]

How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

[Read more…]

Diary of a self-isolator: is coronavirus effecting or affecting things?

Not sure if it’s because of coronavirus or if it’s just me, but reading social media recently I keep spotting these two evil, deceitful little b*stard words – effect and affect – used wrongly. And it’s not surprising because they are so cleverly intertwined that it’s hard to remember which one to use.

https://howtowritebetter.net
Strict grammarians would shout at me, but let’s keep it simple: [Read more…]

Diary of a social distancer: a bitchy email answer that felt GOOD

You know how much I loathe these shysters who write essays for students to cheat with? Here’s an approach I got today (yesterday by the time you see it!), along with the reply I sent.

From: Erin Milligan <erin.millligan@gmail.com>
Sent: 25 March 2020 16:55
To: Suze <suze@suzanstmaur.com>
Subject: Resource Update For Your Website

Hello,
My name is Erin Milligan and I just came across your website and noticed that my service can be useful for your audience.

You know how much I ‘love’ these sleaze-bag companies that help students cheat…

I work with EssayOnTime Company… [Read more…]

Tricky, tricky spelling quiz: can you crack it?

I can’t afford to offer a trip for two to Las Vegas as a prize, but this quiz could keep you busy during quiet moments in the next few days. Answers at the bottom. (No cheating – look later!)

spelling mistakes

What do you feel are the most common wrongly spelled words in English?

And what really is infuriating is the way that simple spelling mistakes tend to creep in only because our own ‘word blindness’ – especially when we are writing extensively for business or other occupations – is largely to blame for our errors.

(That, and the fact that the English language has fewer rules to help us than a dog has when choosing which tree to pee on.)

Never mind: let’s have a laugh with the following:

Find the spelling mistake (or two, or none!) in the following:

[Read more…]

Grammar: do you write ESTs when they should be ERs?

It’s not exactly the end of the world, but did you know if you only have two children you don’t have an ‘oldest’ or ‘eldest?’

writing tips
(Or a ‘youngest,’ for that matter.) Everyone today seems to forget that the suffix ‘est’ should only be used when writing/talking about more than two items, people, etc. If it’s just two, the suffix is ‘er.’ And by the way…

‘Elder-eldest’ or ‘older-oldest?’
According to Merriam Webster, ‘elder’ and ‘eldest’ are only
used to refer to persons, whereas ‘older’ and ‘oldest’ are
used to refer to both persons and things.
More on the
detail of that here if you’re interested! [Read more…]

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