Friday, 8 March 2013

WRG technical authoring workshop

On 2nd March 19 translators gathered at the Bath & County Club in the centre of Bath for a technical authoring workshop organised by ITI’s Western Regional Group (WRG). It was led by Nigel Platts, director of Armada, a company that offers specialist technical training courses. Nigel is a dynamic and engaging presenter and covered a lot of ground with us.
Translators can set themselves apart by outstanding writing skills, so the knowledge imparted by Nigel proved highly relevant. The ability to write well is crucial because people only tend to read what is actually readable. Good writing creates an aura of professionalism about yourself or your company. There are obviously lots of things to bear in mind, but one of the most salient features of good writing is consistency. Once it turns out that a writer has not been entirely consistent in terms of their spelling, punctuation, terminology or capitalisation in a text, they instantly lose credibility with the reader. 

Writing well is crucial as people only read what is readable

It was an excellent workshop and, although I translate into German, I felt I would be able to apply the theory even to my German writing. I generally love delving into books about writing and style anyway. I don’t usually have much leeway for deviating from my source texts as I mostly translate patents and contracts nowadays. Style in my line of work plays a very minor role – which is why I blog! To me the chief benefit of blogging is that I can experiment with writing techniques.

There was plenty of opportunity to socialise with fellow attendees, some of whom had joined us from other ITI networks. A couple of us went on to attend a translation-related event of this year’s Bath Literature Festival at the nearby Guildhall.

Watch out for my write-up of the workshop, which will appear in one of the forthcoming ITI Bulletin issues, probably in July.