2019 workshops

Pisa, 8 June 2019

MET jetted into Italy for the second instalment of our 2019 workshop season. Our home for the day was the Palazzo della Carovana, the main building of the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.

Before we got down to work on Saturday, a lucky gang spent a few glorious hours delving into the Normale’s wondrous history – it’s even mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Thank you to our guide, Mario Ventrelli, pictured below with MET workshop participants. (Group photo: Scuola Normale Superiore)

Normale tour
Palazzo della Carovana


On Saturday morning, our hard graft began with two parallel workshops: Corpus building and mining with Sketch Engine with Anne Murray and Getting to grips with post-editing machine translation with Michael Farrell.

Anne explained how she uses corpora in her everyday work. Then it was over to attendees to create their own domain-specific corpora in Sketch Engine – with Anne on hand to help. Back in the office after Pisa, several attendees have already put their newly acquired skills into practice!

Anne Murray Corpora
Michael Farrell PEMT


Elsewhere, Michael introduced his group to post-editing methods and discussed when and why people might use MT in practice. Using entertaining and alarming examples, Michael looked at typical MT errors and alerted participants to some of the pitfalls of MT, specifically lexical impoverishment.

After a restorative lunch in the university canteen, we were back at our desks for the afternoon sessions: grammar pathway minisessions, Phrasal verbs: “Bring ’em on!” and Modal verbs: “Might you be in the mood?”, with John Linnegar and Advanced Word skills for editors and translators with Jenny Zonneveld.

Afternoon coffee
Welcome desk


Grammar geeks were in their element in John’s two minisessions, examining the subtleties of phrasal verbs and modal verbs in English. The mix of native and non-native speakers in the group enriched discussions and added valuable insight for those who work with ESL or EFL authors.

In Jenny’s parallel session, the focus was Word, not words. Attendees got to play with many lesser-known features in a workshop packed with practical exercises designed to help Word users save time and smarten up their documents.

After an intense day’s training, reward came in the shape of our final group dinner. And in what is becoming a tradition, on Sunday morning, attendees who’d stayed on joined forces for a walk around the heart of the old town and along a section of the medieval walls. (Dinner photo: Melanie Rockenhaus; walk photo: Wendy Baldwin)

Group dinner
Group walk


We are grateful to the Scuola Normale Superiore for kindly letting us use its rooms. Our heartfelt thanks go to MET member and organizer Melanie Rockenhaus for welcoming us to Pisa. And last, we doff our caps to our workshop facilitators and, of course, to our powerhouse CPD chair, Marije de Jager, for crafting another inspiring day of hands-on training.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by Valerie Matarese.