Dirty Little Secrets for Translators


The proofreader’s job

By Sebastien Devogele

A proofreader should only correct ‘real’ errors. Any other changes are unnecessary and counterproductive. The proofreader’s preferences don’t matter since he is not writing his own text. In my humble opinion, proofreaders who see things differently haven’t grasped the purpose of their job… continued


Proverbs in pictures

The cat is out of the bag: proverbs sound ridiculous when they’re translated. London-based writer Matt Lindley has become fascinated with how foreign idioms translate into surreal phrases. “A country’s idioms can give us an insight into a culture,” he says. “There’s something slightly ‘other’ about foreign sayings, that reveals quite a different way of thinking.” After Lindley collected the sayings, Edinburgh-based artist Marcus Oakley turned them into illustrations for travel website Hotel Club. “I’m sure English idioms sound really strange to other people,” Lindley says. “Often ones that resonate with different cultures are the ones that are quite far away from the ones they have.” continued




BBC grammar, spelling & punctuation


A few titles are always capped up, whether you name the person or not (eg the Queen,the Pope, Archbishop of XX). But our style generally is to minimise the use of capital letters.

Political job titles have initial caps only when the title is next to the name, in whatever order. Thus:

The Foreign Secretary, Harold Thomas, said…

US President James Tucker

Mrs Gordon, who has been prime minister since 2015…

Any post mentioned without reference to the post-holder should be in lower case – e.g.

The prime minister will be out of the country for several days.

The same rule applies for former holders of political office (eg The former President, James Tucker, is to make a political comeback. The former president said he wanted to spend less time with his family).

Similarly, Leader of the Opposition is capped up only if accompanied by the name. Other opposition portfolios are always lower case, with or without the name (eg The shadow chancellor, Brian Banker, was furious. There was jeering when the shadow chancellor left)… continued