bohemian · fashion · finding your way · freelancing · life lessons · translation · writing

The many faces of Tilda Swinton (on freelancer’s versatility)

Tilda Swinton from the film “Only lovers left alive.”

“Tilda Swinton is 55 years old”. This is the title of the article I was reading last night. As I was scrolling the incredibly diverse pictures from movies with the Scottish actress, famous for her role as Orlando, I realised I had something to write about. I had no idea what but Tilda’s “many faces” are bound to give me ideas.

I remember reading a stunning article on The Guardian a few years ago, before becoming a translator. It was about the talented, intriguing and unusual Tilda Swinton, actress, model, icon of noble descent with looks and gaze of a solemn, aristocratic yet familiar character, both a woman of next door and a lady to respect. What sets her apart is that singular chameleontic appearance, a self which seems to float between characters, a person of many layers and faces, yet as authentic as one can be.

Life is bound to throw circumstances at you which you might not expect. You might need to shift your focus. Learn your lesson. Read a new book. Finish the one you started. Not to mention continue writing the one you started. Which translates to… an overwhelming loose ends to take care of.

Keeping up appearances is old school. And it is boring. I’d go for a change of direction even if it is on terms of how I perceive life’s events and challenges. I still wear the same outfit. But I wear it with a new conscience. State of mind. I elaborate what happens to me and I don’t want to convince anyone about the changes. I change. The many faces I have are basically one face reflecting an acknowledged and essential versatility.

Many faces means many resources for better life management.

As freelancers, we ought to be as flexible as we can possibly be. This applies not just to how we communicate and work but to how we perceive things and what we learn from life. The learning process requires flexibility. You need to “bend” your convictions if you want to move forward.

Flexibility requires you to act and be someone else so you can be yourself. You are the administrator, the translator, the proofreader, the business owner, the cook, the parent. It is a process.

Happy birthday Tilda Swinton!

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.

balance · fashion · finding your way · life lessons · money

What a coveted high heeled pair of green shoes can teach you about balance

{Why say no to lovely shoes
you can afford?}

 

It’s funny how a pair of shoes – yes, shoes – can bring back to mind a whole chapter of your life and urge you to write on a topic that has nothing to do with shoes or fashion.

Things occur for a reason. Some of these things can change our lives.

Think of all the decisions you have made that brought you where you are today.

That’s because you acted upon certain events and circumstances.

But what about all those things you did nothing about? You might not have any regrets (and that’s healthy) but what if those things could have been your route to more happiness and better balance.

The reasons for not acting are plenty such as lack of self-esteem or will power, fear of the unknown, being too busy, being too in love with the wrong person etc.

I’ll get to the “shoes” in a moment…

Knock. Knock.

Sometimes happiness knocks on our door. If we are lucky enough, happiness will come back and knock for a second time. If we are that lucky.

But for some reason, we don’t act upon that feeling of immense happiness and we therefore send people away or we take them for granted (until they eventually forget we exist) or we don’t pursue something (hobby, job, travel etc) that we desire wholeheartedly. We continue working and living on a busy schedule or a mediocre relationship or keeping up appearances because we are afraid to call the shots, take risks, ride the panther, make a phone call, book a trip to Florence and so forth.

You had your chance.

But you left the door shut.

Happens to everybody…

THE SHOE STORY

Before I went freelance, I was working in an office in an area somewhere in Milan. During lunch, I used to go to a Centro Commerciale (Mall) to buy food, try clothes on, sometimes buy clothes and so forth. One of my favourite shops was Zara.

One day there they were. A pair of spectacular green shoes that I fell in love with. You can see why if you look at the picture above.

I didn’t touch them at first.

Even though I knew that the moment I find shoes available in size 41, I would need to grab them, all I did was leave them there.

I went back the next day and saw the shoes. Still there. Instead of trying the shoes on, I went to try on some clothes I didn’t need.

Next day, same thing. I went back to admire the shoes and I tried them on. Perfect! Sexy!

But I put them back.

And naturally, next time I went into the shop, the shoes – size 41 – were no longer there. Another girl took them. Gone into some other girl’s closet.

How could I be so stupid? I had a good salary. I wasn’t freelancing. Those green shoes could have been IN MY CLOSET now.

Maybe I didn’t really want them?

STICKING TO BLACK

So no green shoes for me. Just black shoes. And a few brown ones.  Black goes with everything. They give security.

It’s okay to want to obtain things in life that give you some sort of security. A job, a home, a steady income. But when it comes to the not-so-essential things, to the ephemeral, to things that can turn a gloomy day into a bright one, why refuse life’s invitation?

Why not a yellow skirt? Combine it with black!

Why not a bag with a fabric you hand painted yourself?

Why not talking to that lonely girl who’s sitting across the table at the coffee shop?

Why not calling that guy you really like and are so afraid to let him know?

Why stick to black?

DO DIFFERENT THINGS

If you don’t try new things, you will never know. You are going to be stuck in boredom. No excitement potential for you if you keep closing doors and refusing to be courageous.

Sometimes you need to take a risk. Not a huge risk. I’m not saying you should give up your boring job (it’s your call), invest in hedge funds or that you shouldn’t be desiring to own your own home. These things are natural.

All I’m saying is that when opportunity knocks, do not do not ignore what your instinct is telling you.

Listen to your inner voice. If it’s right there in front of you go for it. If something so beautiful has come your way, you should be grateful for the opportunity and you should say yes.

If you encounter “green shoes” don’t just stand there with that fearful gaze. If the shoes fit you and if they look gorgeous and you can “afford” them, proceed. Take the green shoes. Wear the green shoes. Be the queen of nature. (Yes, even while you walk your kids to school).

WHAT I MEAN IS

You need the green shoes because life has so many twists and turns and ups and downs that along the way (and as you grow older) you will become more appreciative of the little details. And you will be going back in the past to dig out the things you didn’t do.

Be good to yourself which translates to doing little, tiny, exciting things now.

What about you? Is there something you wish you would have bought or done that was easy and straightforward as a pair of gorgeous shoes?


A presto, Magda

***Note: I never bought the green shoes from Zara but the other day I found better ones at Bata. Provided I can afford them, I will certainly buy them. Opportunity knocks twice!