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A non-native English snapshot

Having cast an eye over the Web, I found exhilarating that I am not alone in my relentless advocacy of the language skills of non-native translators. According to the prevailing opinion within the translating circles, translators ought to only ever translate into their mother tongue; proof-readers only take on their native language. As a result of my foreign nationality, my pursuits to become an English editor have always been shy. Sadly, sheer exuberance and genuine love for language does not stand a chance against the rigid rules of harsh reality of the professional world. Snide of my qualifications, experience or enthusiasm, and defining my competency, native speakers reign supreme, end of. Despite the fact that most of my adult personal and occupational experience came to be expressed in English language. Over the years spent in my step-motherland, however, I have come across some cherries on the cake…

Spell check

The difference between their (possession), they're (= they are) and there (position) is really not that hard. Nor is have – and not of – in would've/could've/should've. It appears as if the idea of homophones is particularly mind-boggling to the average English soul: then usually acts as a time connective, whilst than is normally used to compare nouns. The many spelling rules of thumb have – as a rule – more exceptions than ratifications: i before e unless after c… Not all words ending with an s call for an apostrophe. Advice is a noun; advise is a verb. The l in adverbial suffix —ly is only doubled when the root adjective ends with an l: final and finally but unfortunate and unfortunately. Double negatives are also a no-go.

The willy-nilly style of punctuating coordinating and subordinating clauses can bring me to my knees and, even though the concept of three present tenses is alien to me within my native language, the subtle difference between present simple, present progressive and present perfect is not beyond my comprehension. My English is by no means perfect, with perpetual discoveries of the elusive nuances of vocabulary and idioms, but I know what a past participle is, do you?

By Ania Obarska at www.geminitranslationservices.co.uk

Product of Poland, Ania arrived in England nine years ago with her love for English language, Hip Hop, photography and philosophy. Outside the working hours of Gemini, you can spot her enjoying life at gigs, vegan restaurants or the cinema. She will appreciate your company if you throw a "kerfuffle", "shenanigans" or "haberdashery" here and there in the conversation – these are some of her favourite words.

Images courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk