MET workshops 2018

MET medley of talks in Milan


The comma: to pause or to parse?

Alan Lounds, Barcelona, Spain

The humble comma has been the object of heated discussion over the years. It is the mark that generally takes up most space in punctuation guides and the list of recommended uses is long – as is the list of exceptions. Alan will consider how its function has changed from a prosodic to a more syntax-based one over the centuries. He will review the main uses (and abuses) of the comma paying special attention to discretional and controversial cases. He will then observe how the comma is used by contemporary writers in fields ranging from literature to science. Are there different rules (or levels of rigour) for different text types? Should we use the serial comma? Does the comma aid clarity and remove ambiguity in the same way for all audiences? Familiarity with the rules will help us make decisions more confidently in our work.

Alan Lounds is head of the Language Advisory Unit at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, where he manages the translation of institutional and academic documents and the creation of language support resources. He has 25 years’ experience as a freelance editor and translator and also teaches academic writing. He is a founder member, former chair and the current CPD chair of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.


False friends and fantasy friends

Marije de Jager, Rovereto, Italy

Complexively, the results had improved by the end of the study.” Something often seen by English editors who correct texts by authors having a different first language than English is interference by the author’s mother tongue. It can affect various levels of the language including syntax, idiom, style and lexicon. In this session we will look at mother-tongue interference on a lexical level in the form of false friends, English words that resemble words in Italian but do not have the same meaning. I will present a collection of surprising specimens including not only false friends but also fantasy friends: made-up words that have no actual meaning in English and may therefore be difficult to correct for an editor who isn’t familiar with Italian. Whether such lexical pitfalls make knowledge of the author’s first language a necessity for good editing is one of the questions we shall try to answer during this session.
Marije de Jager received her NL-EN-IT translator’s training at the University of Amsterdam. She spent a few years in London before moving to Italy and embarking on a career as a freelance translator and editor. She has translated books and articles in a variety of fields ranging from literature to biomedicine, and currently works as a copy editor and authors’ editor mainly in biomedicine. She is a longtime member of the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI) and vice-chair of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.


Transcreation: when simple translation is not enough

Michael Farrell, Mortara, Italy

According to Wikipedia, “Transcreation is a relatively new term and its precise meaning is still being defined.” One of the aims of this presentation is to overcome this shortcoming. Michael Farrell sets about establishing what transcreation actually involves by analysing how it differs from other language services, such as localization and traditional translation, and provides a little background and history of the term. He then goes on to perform a Gedankenexperiment to look at what the layman, including potential clients, might think transcreation actually is. Primarily, however, the main purpose of the presentation is to unmask the closet transcreators among the attendees through a group therapy approach and encourage them to admit publicly to their repressed true nature in the interest of their health, well-being, and possibly even their bank balances. The talk is aimed at translators, interpreters, localizers, editors and other language professionals who occasionally deal with or intend to move into the more creative areas of our profession.

Michael Farrell is primarily a freelance translator and transcreator. Over the years he has acquired experience in the cultural tourism field and in transcreating advertising copy and press releases, chiefly for the promotion of technology products. Besides this, he is also an untenured lecturer in post-editing, machine translation and computer tools for translators at the International University of Languages and Media (IULM), Milan, Italy, the developer of the terminology search tool IntelliWebSearch, a qualified member of the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI) and a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.