beauty · creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · writing

3 Italian holiday locations for writers and translators

Hi everyone,

As I was talking with a friend the other day who wants to visit Italy, I thought it would be a good idea to write that travel post I have been thinking of.

Italy is not just about Venice, Florence, Rome. Places that, of course, I recommend everyone to visit because they are just spectacular.

What about an authentic break to nourish your writing soul? A holiday that has nothing to do with waiting in line to see the Uffizi, the San Marco Basilica in Venice or the Vatican museum? Isn’t that just too stressful?

A break to help you finish your novel, start afresh, overcome writer’s block, get ideas for a new book or simply take a break from an intense year of translating or writing, or meet people. Which translates to… staying in a place that you would usually be passing by or perhaps still haven’t heard of.

I am quickly illustrating three Italian towns from three different regions in Northern Italy hoping to offer you some off the beaten track ideas for a relaxing and inspiring getaway.

What these locations have in common? The water! One of them is inside a lagoon and the other two by the lake!

Chioggia

(Veneto)

Canal Vena in Chioggia

Not all Italian houses that float on water are in Venice! But they can definitely be close to the world’s most unique city on water. Chioggia is in the Veneto region of Italy. A medium-sized fishing port inside the Venetian lagoon offering easy access to the Adriatic sea. Find out 17 things about this little promising town on the Virtual Tourist here. On a more personal note, I always buy fresh fish from this town whenever it is available and it is just delicious and nutritious. Fish is the word.

Varenna

(Lombardy)

Colourful Varenna on Lake Como

Highly recommended for inspiration and romantic strolls, Varenna on Lake Como, is a special, picturesque little village definitely worth seeing if you are visiting Lombardy. Combine it with an excursion to Menaggio and Bellagio and you will not be let down by the sheer beauty and elegance of the place. Varenna’s uniqueness is summarised in the title of a post I fished out called Varenna, Italy: Lake Como Without the Glitz. 

Stresa

(Piedmont)

View to Isola Bella from Stresa.

The queen of Lake Maggiore, Stresa is just breathtaking. Nothing more, nothing less. You will be inspired by those fabulous classy hotels, the impeccable and simply mesmerising beauty of Lake Maggiore dominated by the Borromean Islands – with Isola Bella being the most famous one. Find info on Visit Stresa site. An interesting fact of interest to writers is that Stresa hosts the Stresa Literature Award.

To write you don’t need to travel of course but if you want to do it the right way, think of places that are stress-free and help you breathe new air and be who you are. My suggestion? Don’t go there alone. Arrange it with other like-minded people like a sort of retreat.

M.

beauty · creativity · culture · fashion · translation

Cosmetics: Translating for a beautiful yet demanding industry

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Dear all,

Another quick post between deadlines and amidst dreams of a holiday on a Greek island (not happening) or any other nice place even for just three days. Which translates to… I should be taking that much needed long break away from the computer screen.

I recently started working with a client in the beauty industry and I must admit I have often found myself surfing the net looking and cross-checking terms that obviously are to be found on beauty, fashion and make-up sites. IATE and Linguee excluded. The more I translate or review texts for a variety of beauty products, the more I realise how challenging and intriguing it is to recreate the wording in Greek.

These are the difficulties I encountered:

  • The Greek wording for beauty products tends to call for action orientated more towards emotion and a bit less on facts. Information is provided but it is kept to the basics. On the other hand, the description in Italian covers both aspects. On Italian fashion and beauty brand sites there seems to be more accuracy and details when describing a product, what its benefits are and how to make the best out of it, whereas Greek sites tend to focus a lot more on the result and the final impact. Maybe I am wrong but this is the vibe I am getting so far.
  • The writing style is quite different. Most Italian beauty sites express the concept of a product in a more formal tone than the sites in Greek. The Italian wording is clear, powerful and emotional but at the same time there is a lot of explaining. Nothing is missed. Actually there is sometimes “more” than necessary with repetitions that you will not find either on the English or Greek version of a given product.
  • Not all multilingual beauty sites are available in Greek. This means that some of the terms I look up are not always easily found and I need to go in various round about ways to determine the right or best possible translation. Good cosmetics sites include Maybelline, Pupa and Chanel.

And this is what I do:

  • Translate as accurately and as faithfully as possible by making sure that nothing is missed or overlooked while giving emphasis to rewriting the text as if it was written for the Greek audience. What sounds clear and neat in Italian could potentially sound “stiff” and even irrelevant in the target language. This is one pitfall one should be cautious of.
  • Mediate between the two writing styles, between the formal and more accurate way of the Italian source text and the more creative and capturing style that I know that people in Greece (or who read Greek) would expect to read.
  • Ask the client should something is not clear. This is a practice to follow in all cases anyway but it is always a pleasure to see that clients are willing to support a translator’s work.
  • Read more beauty and fashion sites in Greek and Italian and subscribe to interesting newsletters so that news from this industry get right into my inbox. Some valuable sites in Greek are MadameFigaro, real.gr, jenny.gr.

Conclusion:

Things you really enjoy doing can sometimes prove to be particularly demanding. There is a lot of beauty inside “difficult packages”, after all.

M.

art · beauty · creativity · freelancing · inspiration · productivity · writing

Art that speaks to you can increase your productivity

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Many of us have prints or paintings of famous artists in our homes. Kandinsky. Picasso. Monet. Van Gogh. Some were gifts, some just happened to be among our stuff from frequent house moves, others bought at flea markets and antique shops or meticulously sought after on eBay.

Out of all the paintings or art objects you own, is there something in particular that talks to your heart?

Or is the art that covers your walls something conventional, something you like but something that doesn’t appeal to you on a psychological and emotional level?

How about decorating your work space with prints, paintings, photos or art objects that talk to our heart which translates to having a permanent source of inspiration?

A LOVE AFFAIR

Each artwork evokes particular feelings depending on who the viewer is. It’s like love.

Wouldn’t you “hate” looking at a Kandinsky abstract painting if you are the romantic type who is obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings?

Wouldn’t it be a “waste” of energy, money and a “compromise” to your emotional well-being, creativity and productivity to constantly observe something that doesn’t really speak to you and consequently isn’t really helping you?

GETTING SENTIMENTAL IS GOOD

A work of art or an art object (for example motivational quotes into a frame) are the product of creativity, passion, inspiration and of course experience.

The juice of life.

By picking something that represents your life philosophy and your heart’s desire, you are letting yourself get emotional.

Being surrounded by art that speaks to your heart, is the beginning of a spark. A permanent spark that touches your sensibilities and entices you to react to that spark.

If you are inspired by George Clooney or Justin Timberlake or other out-of-reach objects of desire, that’s fine. As long as they help your productivity and as long as they spark a positive reaction.

That positive reaction is incorporated into your work.

I personally like Gerard Butler but looking at him will not make me more productive (except if I wanted to write a script for a love story that will never work).

Sentimental is good (art objects). Too sentimental is bad (Gerard Butler).

OPEN THE DOOR TO HUMAN EXPERIENCE THROUGH ART

Works of art open up new doors because of all the imagination they have absorbed during their making.

If you want to be more productive, you have to be surrounded by manifestations of creative work which mean something to you.

Or will a beautiful view to the park from your window suffice?

Well, I guess you know better.

You will certainly seek inspiration from nature, events and people and you should.

But art differs. It ignites a flame. It talks to your soul. Art has power.

It’s a result of human creativity and a blend of things people experience. Things that can’t be described with words. Things that you can’t see while watching the rain from your window.

Or am I wrong? Can a raindrop help you be more productive in your work the way a personal experience (as expressed into art) does?

Being surrounded by visually pleasing to the eye and the senses objects, our spirit is lifted and our productivity is triggered. On a regular basis too.

While inspiration comes and goes, art works are those permanent features in our area of work that keep talking to us.

Art is also a way to heal. To distract us from mundane sad stories.

Think of a gloomy day.You need something strong to make you feel better. You need a statement.

Art is the statement you are looking for.

Pick your very favourite works of art to decorate your office / work area. The excitement that art brings will give you words, vowels, concepts and new territories.

M.