Author Archives: Oliver Lawrence

The Back Translation Slam

As readers of the ITI Bulletin will know, I recently set myself a little CPD exercise that was part back translation, part translation slam. The aim was to learn from others, to help overcome the independent freelancer’s default disconnect, and to ward off any incipient bad habits.

I took an Italian text and translated it; Miriam Hurley translated it independently; Anna George revised my translation (comparing it to the source); and Helen Oclee-Brown reviewed my translation (without the source). But the Italian was itself a translation, by Lucia Pettinati, so I added the English original into the mix, too, as this graphic (hopefully) explains. Continue reading

Clear Writing, Clear Benefits

If you can’t write clearly, then you’re missing a trick.

And the people you write for – your clients and their clients, too – are missing out, as well.

Unclear writing wastes money, wastes time, creates a bad impression, and impresses no one. Maybe some of your old schoolteachers or uni lecturers thought it was clever to produce long, complex, convoluted sentences. But the people who have to read them don’t – because they don’t have the time for that sort of nonsense. It’s a pain.

When you’re reading the small print on your insurance policy, the booking conditions for your holiday hotel, or the guidance notes for your tax form, what do you want? Continue reading

Want to know how your UK market sees you? See for yourself.

You’re trying to organise your holiday.

You’ve been looking for a hotel abroad. Many of them don’t have a website in English; you can’t even understand them, let alone make a booking – so naturally you won’t be staying there.

Some websites do have an English version, but they look like they’ve been translated by a machine (or a monkey). The text is so hard to understand that you get frustrated and give up. After a full day’s work and putting the kids to bed, you just haven’t got the energy; if they can’t make it easy to read, you’re not interested. Continue reading

Reflections on the 2015 ITI Conference

A few weeks back, when looking ahead to the ITI conference, I wrote that it was the who not the what that counted, that the person delivering a presentation mattered more than the specific content (as you can learn plenty from an interesting speaker, whatever they are talking about). But I also agreed with Betti’s comment that “you can never tell what your best take-away from a conference will be; it may be something from a presentation or just a throwaway comment from a one-minute conversation with a delegate”.

So I was ready, ready for a spot of serendipity and to come away with a stack of useful notes.

Or so I thought. Continue reading

Travel translation CPD resources

If you went to the ITI Media Arts and Tourism translation workshop at London Imperial on March 14th, you’ll know that I ran a survey last year entitled “Best Practices in Translating for the Travel and Tourism Industry”. The aim was to collate ideas from a pool of expert fellow translators who specialise in this sector. Continue reading