Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Earth from space: seeing what is (and what isn’t) important

In a recent piece in New Scientist, Helen Sharman, the first British person in space, recounts in an interview that being in space made her realise that physical possessions and material stuff are absolutely meaningless. She makes the point that we tend to use our possessions as an extension of ourselves, encouraging us that we should think about what’s really important and generally consume less.

I think that’s minimalism in a nutshell. It couldn’t be summarised better!

Physical possessions are meaningless

Helen Sharman describes herself not just as a scientist, but also as somebody who cares for the world we live in. The interview with her caught my eye not just because of her minimalism-related comments, but also because I’d been meaning to write an article about climate change for this blog. Climate change, after all, is one of the big topics of our time.

There is an acute danger that the Earth might become uninhabitable at some point
(Image source: PIRO4D, Pixabay)

Climate change has come upon us much sooner than predicted: it’s affecting us (and will be hitting our descendants even harder) in the form of global warming, extreme weather, the aggravated risk of bad floods and other climate change-induced weather phenomena.

Caring for the world we live in

The Earth is very fragile. This becomes especially noticeable when, as Helen Sharman did, you look at it from space. There is an acute danger that the Earth might become uninhabitable at some point.

Being in space made Helen Sharman realise that physical possessions are absolutely meaningless

Watch out for my next article, in which I’m going to share what I do (and could perhaps be doing better) to help combat climate change. I’m also going to muse about how my minimalist thinking plays a role in it.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

The 5 Golden Questions of Translation

I love decluttering, especially because my ongoing decluttering frequently unearths (long-forgotten) gems from the past. And some of the things I find are downright amazing!

They often put a smile on my face. From 2000 to 2002 I was a student at the Institut für Fremdsprachen und Auslandskunde in Erlangen. While going through the materials from a class in translation of certificates, diplomas and public documents a few days ago, I found this:

If I remember correctly, the question “Do I need a cup of coffee?” was supposed to serve as a reminder that taking a short break from translation can be very beneficial in that you often come up with a solution while away from the desk (for example, to fetch a cup of coffee).

I’d completely forgotten about the “5 Golden Questions of Translation”: Do I need a cup of coffee? Can I leave it out? Can I find a synonym? Can I find a paraphrase? Can I risk translating it literally?