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Style and Secret Santa at the January 2019 LKTeam Day

Our first team day of 2019 focused on the topic of writing style. As language professionals, we are always looking to enhance the quality of our writing and there are always new things to learn, whether you’re a new starter or an experienced translator. Language use is constantly evolving, and – despite the reputation that linguists have for being sticklers! – it’s important to adapt our writing style to reflect current usage. We often update our in-house style guide to take account of new linguistic developments, so the style workshop was the perfect opportunity to discuss how things have changed since we last addressed this topic. Lead Translator Siobhan presented the workshop, using a diverse range of texts – from a New Scientist article to a beer advert! – to illustrate a number of style issues and encourage us to think about examples of “good” vs. “bad” style. Along with familiar points such as favouring the active voice over the passive and verbs over nouns when translating into English, we also looked at the topical issue of gender-neutral language and discussed differences between English and grammatically gendered languages such as German. We even got an insight into the situation in Dutch – thanks Hollie!

In the second session, we enjoyed another of our regular translation slams, this time led by Jenny, one of our Senior Translators. We each produced a draft of a short marketing text and then all got together to share our translations and discuss the approaches that we took. In this case, there were a lot of translated texts (of varying quality) on the same subject available online, so it was useful to talk about what we thought of the reference material and how we made use of it. And it gave us the chance to discuss one of our “favourite” German phrases – the ever-present translation bugbear “X überzeugt durch…”!

As this was the first opportunity we’d had to get together for some time, there was one more important item on the agenda: exchanging our Secret Santa presents! Post-Christmas celebrations have become a bit of a tradition for us and it was the perfect way to bring a bit of festive cheer to a dull January. From Strictly and Hamilton to cookbooks, jigsaws and origami sets, the presents definitely reflected the wide range of hobbies we have here in the team and showed that everyone had put a lot of thought into their gifts.

We might have to wait a year for the next LKT Christmas but the next team day will be along before we know it – we’re looking to find a date in April as we speak. Watch this space!