Breathing, awareness, and style in translation

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When starting to practice yoga, breathing properly is hard to learn. You have to be aware of each inspiration, each expiration and whether you are practicing diaphragmic, clavicular or complete yogic breathing.

As you master increasingly difficult positions, proper breathing becomes automatic: you are no longer consciously engaged in leading your body’s inspiration-expiration dance.

Writing workshop

Ros Schwartz and Chris Durban’s writing workshop for translators, Style Matters I, held in Paris February 5th, was an immersion in writing translations for publication.

It offered valuable advice and techniques for those wishing to hone their craft and invited a return to consciousness for those used to leveraging their writing skills to serve their clients’ interests.

Writers and translators rely on proficiency of language to craft high impact texts. They also use their senses and their instinct, just as painters and musicians do to give life to colors and notes. With experience, techniques learned and practiced merge with creative intuition, words flowing together in an artful dance as if graced with a life of their own.

Conscious choreography

Working in a group spurs conscious engagement.

Why did we choose a word rather than another? What awkwardness in this turn of phrase tickled your pen to change it? What effect do you think this change has on the balance of the text or on the message it is to carry? What solutions did colleagues find to transform gibberish into music?

Chris asked me whether I’d found the course useful.

The answer is a resounding yes, for several reasons. It spurred a return to the consciousness of doing, and the satisfaction and enrichment this brings. Watching how colleagues approach a text and hearing the solutions proposed can boost your own creativity. And developing relationships with others who work in similar areas broadens opportunities, as a team, to take on complex projects for demanding clients.

And I learned that, in UK English, an m-dash is an n-dash and it takes a space before and after it.

So, when is Style II coming to town?


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Comments: 3

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  • Lakshmi

    Nice one! I like your yoga analogy – “Style Matters” spurring a return to consciousness.
    The workshop was brilliant – beautifully organised in a lovely setting, with a pleasant group of people and a good all-round vibe. Plus of course some great tips, delivered with easygoing humour. What really hit home with me was Ros’s advice to “shed the humble servant mindset” and *take charge of the translation*.
    I found working in a group a bit unsettling at the start, to be honest, but once I’d got used to the idea it was great fun.

  • I’m going to the same workshop next week in London, and your post got me really excited! In addition to revitalizing my creativity, I am hoping to take away some tips on how to convince clients of the importance of well-written translations.

  • I also found that workshop very useful and inspiring. As translators, we need a take a step back from the originals, and translate as English speakers. This training session was also a reminder that expatriates must constantly brush up on their English skills and read in English as much as possible. On a recent trip to Canada, I realized that the word ‘showcase’ is used all the time. Showcase your talent, showcase your goods, showcase your home… I forgot about that word and am now hoping for a translation assignment which calls for it.