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Schrijf.be

Copywriters: wat drijft hen? Waarvan worden ze warm of koud? Neem een kijkje achter de schermen!

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Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

There’s a saying that a little bit of charm goes a long, long way. It’s obviously been taken to heart by the local police in Terneuzen. What could have been a rather sterile and impersonal list of fines has been transformed into an affable and personable Menukaart. Most impressively, they’ve only had to change the title line to do it. It also appears that a little bit of effort goes a long, long way too.

Image0098

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Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

Writing a letter to your mother-in-law? Maybe you’re trying to accurately word a death threat? Or perhaps you just need a little help writing hip-hop lyrics? Look no further! Any time you want to administer a dose of abusive insults, assistance is just a click away! Now, this is usually the point where we would write about how Schrijf.be can help you out… And it would probably be fun. But I’ve got doubts about whether insult assistance is one of the services Schrijf.be offers. The good news? WebInsult is a website devoted to helping you create original slurs and slights.

red-ink

The website follows clearly-defined syntactic rules to randomly create insults. Always in English, they come in various styles. The default is Modern British English, but it’s also possible for something with a Shakespearean tweak, or an affront that has been run through an Arabian or Mediterranean filter. But before you start writing, you should know that the website avoids being politically-incorrect and tries not to be (downright) offensive. Which makes it the perfect tool for filling any text, be it a eulogy or a police report. And for everything else? There’s Schrijf.be.

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Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

School has gone back! In my case, it doesn’t just mean the kids are out of the house and the toys are in the cupboard, it also means my wife is absent during the day. Why? She’s a teacher. And what does she teach? English! What else?

It will probably not come as much of a surprise that I found myself musing through the Teacher’s Edition of the English textbook being used at her school.

And what did I find in the very first line?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘Introduction to the teacher’? It sounds a little odd considering it’s actually addressing the teacher. ‘Introduction for the teacher’ sounds a little better. Nonetheless, this is the kind of error which I would probably have accepted without further thought …

Another error

Until another error came along.

‘A audio CD’.

A second error? And such an obvious one? There was no better way to bring me to a complete loss of faith. And there was no stopping it. Everything on the page came under scrutiny. There were plenty of points that were not errors, but which might best be described as questionable English. Ordinarily, they probably would have gone by more or less unnoticed. But now? They were glaringly obvious.  And if I was a teacher standing in front of a class of 20+ students who were eager to learn, let alone 20+ students who weren’t eager to learn, there would be no way I could have possibly trusted the book. And apparently my wife shared in that sentiment.

At the same time, I began to wonder about the effects of poor spelling, grammar and English in the copy on websites, in advertisements, or even spam and scam mail. Do you think they have the same effect? And even if you doubt it, is it a risk you can afford to take?

A change

When I spoke to my wife about the errors in the school book, she was confused.  Why?

“We don’t use this book anymore.  We changed to a different book.”

You can expect the same. If you have spelling errors in your copy, rest assured that any potential clients will opt for products or services from a better produced website or an advertisement with accurate spelling. And when it comes to spam? I’ve got doubts about whether anyone would read it at the best of times; why discourage them further? The loss of faith also plays its part. There are plenty of scams I’ve been all too ready to invest in. Until I’ve seen the shoddy spelling and grammar. They've left me with no choice but to look for other scams to waste my money on.

A change for the better

A few day ago, my wife informed me that the new text book, the one that had been brought in as a replacement, had errors in it. As nobody had managed to pick them up during the editorial process undertaken prior to publication, you might expect these errors to be relatively insignificant. But even these seemingly insignificant errors have major consequences.

The publishers of the new text book decided they wanted to do the right thing. They corrected the errors and replaced every copy of the book. Why? Because they knew something important: little errors have a huge effect.

Give you and your business every chance to succeed and make sure your copy is free from errors.

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Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

There are some things which don’t cross the culinary border. An example? The first time I went to the frituur in Belgium, I asked for vinegar on my frietjes. It seems normal for me, having been brought up on it. But my request was met with confusion, repulsion and the explanation that:

“We don’t rape our food!”

Another example? Paardenlookworst. Horse and garlic sausage. Maybe it’s delicious. And apparently it’s a provincial specialty. But there’s something there which I’m culturally at ends with. Getting me to believe horse and garlic sausage might be fit for human consumption, let alone getting me to eat it, is going to take some effort. Or some truly brilliant, persuasive advertising. Unfortunately, this sign fell a long way short…

Gentse Paardenlookworst

Verrassend lekker?

Surprisingly tasty. If this is the best encouragement anyone could come up with for eating paardenlookworst, it really makes me sure I’ve got no interest in eating it whatsoever. ‘Surprisingly tasty’ falls a long way short of being a ‘Unique Selling Point’. It’s almost like the makers of the paardenlookworst actually agree everyone expects their product to be repulsive. And since Belgium is a country where it isn’t taboo to consume horse meat, this doesn’t really do much to sell the sausages to me. It looks like they’ll stay firmly planted on the other side of the culinary border. However, I’ve now got a real craving for frietjes doused in vinegar.

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Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

If you’re anything like me, you can’t sleep at night. Lying awake, you wistfully ponder what could and should have been. But there’s no longer any need for this. Because it’s now available. You can find William Shakespeare’s Star Wars on the shelves of an electronic book store near you.

Star Wars

 

Of Droids and Wookiees

It might seem like an unlikely mix. But Elizabethan language merges extremely well with the squeaks of droids and roars of wookiees. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars provides a script of Star Wars in iambic pentameter, accommodating it in a way that might not have been expected from watching the film.

A number of Shakespeare’s more famous speeches are also included, in slightly modified versions, or alluded to in ways more befitting the science-fiction genre. And the same goes for the more famous lines from Star Wars. The most obvious example is spoken by... uh... the CHORUS in the prologue:

In time so long ago begins our play

In star-crossed galaxy far, far away

All's Well That Ends Well

The Shakespearean elements of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars might not stand up to detailed analysis; the rhythm is sometimes false, the meaning of a few of Shakespeare’s more famous lines are lost or transmogrified virtually beyond recognition. And I’ve got no doubt that hard-core Star Wars fans might have issues with the presence of a chorus, soliloquies from R2D2 and additional dialogue at the ends of scenes which sees storm troopers deciding to go to the pub. But this all adds up to an unlikely, but clever, amalgamation of Shakespeare and Star Wars. The final result is sure to keep you awake, turning pages late into the night.

Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

Grab your brolly and put on a bowler hat: it’s time for a little journey. Where? A place where all things English have a chance to shine: the new Schrijf.be English website has just hit the Internet and is ready to receive new visitors!

Union Jack

Go to www.schrijf.be/English to find out everything you need to know about our English copywriting services as well as our translation services into and out of English. You’ll be able to find everything from our use of two native speakers in our approach to translations, to a downloadable copy of our English Style Guide.

Does it sound like good reading? Just wait until we start writing your English texts for you!

Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

Of course you’ve heard about how vital it is to use social media to let the world know about your business.  And, you’ve had your doubts.  Is it really worth the effort of running a Twitter account?  Is it really going to attract attention?  And it’s obviously not going to be easy to do… Or is it?

Tweet Tweet

Prepare yourself.  It’s the message the Queensland Police Service has been sending out.  And in more ways than one.  In just a few months, they’ve demonstrated exactly how powerful Twitter can be as a public relations medium.  They already have some 40,000 followers.  They keep them up to date, properly informed and above all, entertained.

Entertained?

Really.

What’s more, it looks like they have a great time doing it.  A few examples of Queensland’s finest at work:

Tweet 8

 

Tweet 1

 

 

A Weekly Tweet

On top of this you can throw in the weekly ‘What The? Friday’ tweets, with links to strange and unusual events the police have come across.

Police Tweet

 

They also link to historical news stories that involved the police.  Nostalgic?  Or interesting?

D'oh!

They have the confidence and knowledge to include cultural references, ranging from The Simpsons, Star Trek and even Harry Potter.  And while this might not seem so unbelievable, it does a lot when you consider how far this brings them from the stereotypical image of the police.

Tweet 6

 

Tweet 2

 

(SEQ = South Eastern Queensland)

Another benefit?  It gives them the opportunity to acknowledge the good work the Queensland Police do.  And not just by mentioning it themselves, but also by re-tweeting messages from the public.  They have the opportunity to squash rumours before they develop much momentum and of course, to show that the police are interested in important cultural events.  Like football.  All this might not seem so important if the farm animals are equally interested...

Tweet 3

(SFS = Suncorp Football Stadium; SOO = State of Origin Football)

Tweet 4

 
 
 

Know your limits

And while all this is good, the most admirable thing is that they know their limits.  This is one of their most entertaining tweets:

Tweet 7

 

It appears they deleted it later in the day.  Why?  The other tweets concerned a number of tragedies, which is more than likely to happen when it comes to police work.  But is it likely to be the sort of situation you come across when dealing with your regular business life?  No.  Which means you have less excuse than ever before.  Jump on board.  Start tweeting!

Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

It’s now July and in the Republic of South Sudan, the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development has decided it’s time to send out a list of the official public holidays for the year.  They wouldn’t want to be late with it after all...

As you might expect, they observe a number of religious public holidays, honour and remember mothers on Mother’s Day, and draw attention to the plight of neglected African Children on African Children Week.  And Boxing Day?  Apparently, it’s a day of Public Awareness on Boxing.

South Sudan 1

Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

There are times when everything works against you. No matter what you do, everything seems to go wrong. Which is perhaps what happened 100 years ago. The crew of the S.S. Karluk had high hopes when they departed on their journey to the Arctic. Although they were soon met with an unusually early and abnormally cold Arctic winter. And were lost at sea. Actually, it was worse than that. When they were lost at sea, they were stuck in an ice floe with a shortage of food, supplies and warm clothing and no passage to land. The sun was about to disappear for a few months. And just to top it off, the leader of the expedition had run off on them. It looked like they were facing certain death. But they tried to keep their hopes high.

How?

By turning to language.

Faith in the Written Word

There was a library of books on the Karluk. Many of these told the stories of other polar explorers. The most read was the diary of an expedition leader who had also been trapped in ice in the same area, drifted in the same direction and… And died a slow death from starvation.

But there was always The Bible.

For the anthropologists, the Inuit people on board provided them with another opportunity. They attempted to learn the Inuit language. And this all sounds good. But unfortunately, they discovered a lot of words become somewhat odd when translated into Inuit. For instance, ‘salvation’ became ‘pulling from a hole in the ice’ and ‘dried apples’ was ‘resembling an ear’. And so, rather than translating simple words, the decision was made to translate passages from The Bible. And why not? As we all know, it's one text that never results in any unusual interpretations.

Lost in Translation

With its comforting words of calming wisdom, the Twenty-third Psalm became an obvious passage for translation, especially considering their predicament.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."

However, there was certainly something lost in translation:

"The Lord is my great keeper; he does not want me. He shoots me down on the beach and pushes me into the water."

Amen?

Vaughn is hertaler bij Schrijf.be. Dankzij hem raakt uw boodschap nooit 'lost in translation' voor Engelstalige klanten of prospects. En hij blogt ... in de taal van Shakespeare, natuurlijk! 

It’s a normal day.  And you’re feeling a bit peckish.  Do you feel like fish?  No?  The cheese plate?   

Cancer on Menu

What about cervical cancer?  Before you shake your head, take a good look at the menu, because this is not just any cervical cancer.  It’s cervical cancer served on beetroot carpaccio with mustard-honey dip.  And served cold.  As if there was another way to enjoy cervical cancer.

English?

Apparently this is a mistranslation.  The restaurant does not actually serve ‘cervical cancer’ but ‘crayfish’.  On beetroot carpaccio with mustard-honey dip…  Or possibly honey-mustard dip.  But cold either way.  Neither this nor any of the many other errors in the English on the menu have quite the same impact as cervical cancer.  Thankfully.  Of course, all this does leave me wondering how many diners actually do order cancer…