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How the Heck Do You Spell “Ton”?

Editing Canadian English has its perils. In particular, the heavy influence of American English is hard to ignore. I recently stumbled across the word “ton” in a Canadian text and thought—how the heck do I spell that? I investigated and found that, as always, context is everything. Here’s the breakdown: Ton In Canadian English, this [...]

US and Canadian Style Differences: The Asterisk

When it comes to editing, the devil is in the details. The job gets even tougher when you’re editing Canadian texts because the rules are almost the same as for American ones, but sometimes they differ by a hair—or a single space. That’s where the asterisk comes in. According to The Canadian Style, you should put a [...]

Is “Gift” a Verb?

’Tis the season of giving . . . and gifting. And while many folks on the interweb are quick to proclaim that “gift” is not a verb, I’m here to set the record straight. It is indeed a verb. The issue is whether it’s too ugly to use. In an article on the subject, the [...]

Editing Your Translations: Size Matters

Part 3 – Getting rid of adjective pile-ups In part 1, I suggest using adjectives—or nouns functioning like adjectives—to shed some pounds from your weighty translations. While this tip often works wonders, once in a while it leads to some nasty adjective pile-ups. Here are a few examples where things get ugly—and some solutions. French: [...]

Editing Your Translations: Size Matters

Part 2 – Getting rid of awkward possessives In part 1, I suggest using the apostrophe—and the possessive—to trim the fat off your translations. While it’s a great tip that I use all the time, keep in mind that sometimes opting for an apostrophe can create awkward phrases. Here are some examples where the apostrophe [...]

Editing Your Translations: Size Matters

Part 1 – Getting rid of “of” Ever notice that English texts are almost always shorter than their French equivalents? That’s because English is generally a concise language, especially compared to French. It’s good to keep this in mind when translating. The length of your final text can be a good indication of how much [...]

Ice Tea Vs. Iced Tea—Which Are You Drinking This Summer?

As things heat up in the summer, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a tall glass of iced tea. Or should I say ice tea? The barely pronounced d is often dropped in speech and is now even disappearing from major brands. Take Lipton Ice/d Tea. Their Facebook page drops the d, as does their [...]

Editor Vs. Translator: When Is It OK to Eliminate a Word or Phrase?

The unspoken expectation behind every translation contract is that the author will find their words—all of them—in the translated text. But as a translator, have you ever run into words you felt were so obvious that they could be left out? I certainly have. Take, for instance, the phrase “Nous profitons de l’occasion,” which translates [...]

I Came, I Saw, I Corrected

After weeks of pointing out what makes us frown, we’ve decided to point out something that makes us smile. One of my favourite grammatical gems involves a series of clauses. Start with a series of relatively short, parallel independent clauses strung together in a single sentence. Then add commas. Last, but certainly not least, do [...]

This Week’s Grammar Pet Peeve: I Object to “You and I”

Nothing drives me nuttier than someone who thinks they’re speaking so grammatically correct that they actually introduce the cardinal sin of errors—“you and I”—when “you and me” is all that’s called for. Perhaps teachers have drilled “you and I” into their students, failing to mention that the rule only applies when the compound is the [...]

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