On March 6, there will be optional workshops held at University College London from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. They will be in rooms B04 and B05 in Drayton House, Gordon Street (on the corner of Euston Road).

There will be three sets of sessions, and you can attend one workshop in each set. The sessions are limited to 20 participants each, so please sign up early to avoid being disappointed. Each of the workshops is one hour, except for 3B, which will be closer to two hours.

The first two parallel sets are:

1A. Computer tools for translators

1B. Contrastive linguistics and translation studies with a focus on Swedish and Danish

The second two parallel sets are:

2A.Tips of the trade

2B. Poetry and its Translation: Forms of Form

The third session is:

3A. Translating Swedish song texts into English with a view to performance

3B. Language up to date – How to stay in touch with the Scandinavian languages

Computer Tools for Translators

Workshop held by Peter Linton, who has been a translator for five years, after having worked in journalism and IT. Because of his IT background, he has a particular interest in computer tools for translators, particularly how to handle PDF files.

A review of computer tools -- hardware and software -- of all kinds that can boost a translator's productivity, improving both quantity and quality. Covers electronic dictionaries, speech recognition, CAT tools, project management, editing tools, and tools for handling PDF files.

My talk is basically a survey of the computer hardware and software that I find useful for improving translation productivity, and in rough order of precedence:

1. Hardware. Like many translators these days, I have a powerful PC with 2 large screens. This gives a double width desktop, which makes it possible to have several windows open and visible at the same time. I find this a significant productivity boost (though admittedly not cheap). I also use a programmable keyboard which allows me to record multiple keystrokes in one key, for example my email address.

2. Software (in order of preference) :

2a.  Reference (electronic dictionaries, encyclopaedias etc), particularly the Swedish product WordFinder (which is now trying to market itself internationally -- see http://www.wordfinder.com/

2b.  Speech recognition.

2c.  CAT tools

2d.  Business tools (Project management software such as Translation Office 3000, invoicing, taxation)

2e.  Editing software (I use a product called UltraEdit for creating my own dictionaries etc from glossaries)

2f.  PDF conversion software. A growing number of translation jobs arrive in the form of PDF files -- which by their nature cannot be edited. It is desirable to convert such files into editable electronic format (and essential if using CAT tools).

2g.  Web tools of various kinds, for creating and managing your own website; for gathering news (using RSS -- Really Simple Syndication); and software for taking part in webinars.

The aim of the talk is to give people some idea of what is available and what they might find useful. I have of course no commercial interest in any of these products. I speak only as a more or less satisfied customer.

Contrastive linguistics and translation studies with a focus on Swedish and Danish

Workshop held by Irene Elmerot, translator and proofreader at red. språkkonsult, and Gudrun Rawoens, Dept. of Nordic Studies, Ghent University

In this workshop we would like to discuss a few topics relating to the different degrees of transparency between two closely related languages, viz. Swedish and Danish. The relationship between these languages has been the subject of numerous studies such as e.g. Christensen & Christensen (2004) and Lindgren (2001) . These studies either analyze apparent differences, viz. clear syntactic or semantic differences, and less apparent but nevertheless important differences, such as pragmatic or stylistic ones, or concentrate on the question of translatability between these two languages.

In this workshop the approach is two-fold. On the one hand, we welcome contributions from the area of contrastive linguistics where similarities and differences between these languages are highlighted. On the other, we would like to include topics relating to translation from Swedish to Danish and vice versa and even from e.g. English to Swedish or Danish. More general discussions e.g. relating to language policies in Sweden and Denmark (e.g. regarding EU-translations, the use of sex-neutral pronouns) are also welcomed.

Topics of interest include:

•  Contrastively relevant differences between Swedish and Danish, both syntactic (e.g. phrasal verbs) and semantic (e.g. false friends)

•  How does the relationship between languages from similar (e.g. Swedish to Danish or English to Danish) or different (e.g. Italian to Danish) language groups affect the translation process?

The workshop organizers have a experience from working with both Swedish and Danish. Irene Elmerot is a freelance translator and proof-reader since 2001, working with EU translations from both EN and DA into Swedish as well as proofreading of a DA–SV pocket dictionary, amongst other things. Gudrun Rawoens is a post-doctoral academic researcher and has conducted linguistic research on Swedish and Danish mainly focusing on causative constructions.


Christensen, Lisa & Robert Zola Christensen (2004). “60 svensk-danska syntaxskillnader”. In: På godt dansk. Festskrift til Henrik Galberg Jacobsen i anledning af hans 60 års fødselsdag den 4. februar 2004. Wessel & Huitfeldts 2004, 61–72

Lindgren, Birgitta (2001). ”Guts och ruter – från danska till svenska”, In: Allén et al. (eds) Gäller stam, suffix och ord Fetskrift till Martin Gellerstam den 15 oktober 2001. Göteborgs Universitet, 266 – 275

Tips of the trade

Workshop held by Raisa Murto, Production & Quality Manager, Sandberg Translation Partners Ltd

End of paragraph not found? Freelance translators often find themselves spending an inordinate amount of time trying to solve practical problems relating to their day-to-day work with various translation tools and other applications, with no one to ask for advice. This workshop presents some of the most useful tips and tricks when it comes to using Trados Workbench, TagEditor, Excel and Word in a professional translation environment. The tips and tricks have been gathered over the past few years as easy introductions to handy features and applications and as solutions to commonly occurring problems in a busy translation agency environment.

The workshop will be divided into two parts. In the first part, I will introduce a selection of useful applications and plug-ins such as Trados Glue and Bookmark Handler, TagEditor TableView plug-in, and a custom-made tool for translating Excel files using Trados. The second part of the workshop will be dedicated to tips and tricks of the trade and includes topics such as how to set a length checker in Excel, how to format Word documents with Trados tw4winExternal font and how to solve the Trados error message End of paragraph not found. Because of the practical nature of the workshop, it is aimed for translators already familiar with Trados (still the industry leader in the CAT market).

Participants are invited to submit their own suggestions for problem topics before the conference. The suggestions can be sent to productionmanager@sandbergtranslations.com and will be taken into account where possible. The instructions, tips and tricks covered at the workshop, along with a selection of the other instructions and troubleshooting tips currently only available for in-house translators of Sandberg Translation Partners Ltd will be made available at a dedicated web address after the workshop. The participants will also receive a practical translator's checklist especially designed for Nordic translators.

Poetry and its Translation: Forms of Form

Workshop held by Rika Lesser, poet and translator

Like many second-generation Americans, I grew up in a household that was basically monolingual. My parents sometimes spoke a secret language they did not entirely command (Yiddish), and they recited prayers in a language they did not comprehend (Hebrew). When I was eight years old I was sent to an afterschool school we called cheder (Hebrew for “room”) and was given instruction in Yiddish for a year. The seed must have been planted. After five years of French in junior high and high school, having devoured all of Hermann Hesse available in English at the time (1969), I demanded to learn German. It was arranged that I begin study at Brooklyn College – the City University of New York was still tuition-free then – which happened to be across the street from my high school. I was a “science jock” back then, and I thought I would continue studying math and the natural sciences like my dad and my two elder sisters. This was not to be. As an early Yale “co-ed” (class of 1974), I dropped out of the sciences, I stopped singing and practicing piano, but I did learn how to read and write, and I have continued to practice the two ever since.

The first book I published, at the end of 1975, was a selection of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke entitled Holding Out , “printed by hand . . . during the spring and summer of the centennial of Rilke's birth,” one of Harry Duncan's Abattoir Editions. The recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship and a grant from Yale to further my studies in Swedish literature, I had read proofs that winter living in Göteborg, where I would stay up “ ensam i tysta natten” writing or translating Ekelöf; in February I escaped to London for a month of theater and proper (i.e., non-Scandinavian) English. (The Lowell fellowship stipulated that I not return to America for twelve months and write at least three poems.)

Princeton republished my Rilke as Rilke: Between Roots in 1986, and in 1993 brought out my selected Sonnevi : A Child Is Not a Knife. Ekelöf's Guide to the Underworld came out from another university press and stayed in print for nearly two decades. My own books of poetry appeared among and between all these and other translations – of German and Swedish poetry, novels, and works for young people. My own collections of poetry are four: Etruscan Things (1983), All We Need of Hell (1995), Growing Back (1997), and Questions of Love: New & Selected Poems (forthcoming later this year). Recently I served as the Swedish-language editor for the Graywolf anthology of New European Poets, also to be published later this year.

In the workshop I will touch on the different modes of translation that Dryden termed (and no one has named better) metaphrase, paraphrase, and imitation . Translation's eternal questions will pose themselves: Does one remain “faithful” to the word or the spirit? How is translating the dead (or the classics) different from translating the living (our contemporaries)? Is there a “timeless” diction, a timeless voice? How does one capture the “tone” of the original work? Should one translate a received form only with that same received form?

For three years I have been a student of tai chi chuan. Some weeks ago my teacher remarked that tai chi form is nothing but the expression of tai chi principles. Every day I try to enact the principles as I practice the form I am still learning and refining. I still translate Sonnevi, Ekelöf, and others. I still write poetry.

I will leave you with a few lines of Göran Sonnevi's poem “Dyrön, 1981”; it appears in English on pages 18-20 in A Child Is Not a Knife (Princeton, 1993) and in Swedish on, pp. 112-114:

I said: first consider the construction

bread for a knife, and then

a knife for bread; or knife for the bread

Time's forms moved, discretely,

analogously, con-


It made no difference; beyond

all these dichotomies

a third term must exist; it cannot

exist in language; or perhaps:

in language alone:

If you would like Rika Lesser to examine a poem you are translating into English, please send that to BJ Epstein at conference@nordictranslation.net, double spaced, not to exceed 30 lines.

Translating Swedish song texts into English with a view to perfomance

Workshop held by Silvester Mazzarella

We shall aim to discuss any problems of interest to participants, as for instance:

- Should a song have unity of tone? (remembering e.g. Bellman's mixture of low life with rococo classical elegance).

- Should one aim at a contemporary tone or an archaic tone, and if the latter is it permissible to create pseudo-archaic terms?

- The difficulties of translating rhymed verse, such as sequences of several short lines with the same rhyme, and how important a particular rhyme may or may not be in the original song.

- Cultural problems, e.g. finding English equivalents for Swedish drinks, etc.

- Fitting English words to the music, including possible rhythmic differences between Swedish and English, and should the translator avoid English phrases the singer may find awkward to pronounce?

- What to do with the sections of spoken prose that occur in some songs.

- We shall consider critically examples of translated songs, my own and others.

My background: very much a translator rather than a performer, but I have a particular love of sung music, especially classical and folk, and connections with the Bellman Societies of Sweden and Finland, and the Evert Taube Society of Stockholm.

    My main work is translating Swedish prose into English, most recently Bengt Ohlsson's novel Gregorius , short stories by Tove Jansson, and books in both 18th and 21st century Swedish relating to Linnaeus.


Language up to date – How to stay in touch with the Scandinavian languages

Workshop held by Eva-Maria Arntz, Scandinavian Language Service I/S

This seminar provides participants with hints and ideas on how to refresh and retain their skills in Nordic languages even while living outside Scandinavia. Participants learn which communities and strategies can be used in order to keep in touch with a Nordic language both in speech and in writing.

In a second part we will focus on linguistic traps, formalities and cultural peculiarities and go in depth with some of the latest trends among the Nordic languages. Is there a reliable standard? Where do I find help? Participants will have the opportunity to test their skills and be introduced to some important items, which help to preserve the ability to express oneself in Danish and Swedish for example.

This workshop is held by one of our Danish language specialists and relevant for translators, interpreters and other professionals, who use a Nordic language in their everyday work, but not live in the Nordic country in question.

2008 Workshops

Return to Home