lost in translation · projects · work · writing

(Officially) announcing my book “Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity: Connecting the dots between translation and creativity”

My book is available in paperback and for Kindle here


Only translators know what translators do, how translators feel, what happens “backstage” when we translate, run, juggle, keep up with deadlines.

That’s why it was near to impossible to sit down and properly announce that the book I was writing is finished. The blog has become the “last” to know what I am up to. But I had to take a break from it in order to finish writing my book. And in order to create my professional website. And to keep up with work. And to think of what’s next.

I can now share the news: I have completed my project. A book that took about two years to write. In December 2016, I published the first edition as an ebook only (there was a post about it but it wasn’t an actual announcement) and then I was so eager to update the book with new content, make improvements and add pictures (for which I needed to get permissions) that in May 2017, the second edition was out. In fact the first edition is no longer available. I wasn’t happy with it. It was my first time. My first date. Do you remember how your first date was? Exactly… I might actually share a few thoughts with you about the process of self-publishing in case you are thinking of writing and self-publishing a book a translation related topic. There are a few things you should do first and there are things you should never do.

My book encompasses some concepts that you might not expect from a book on translation. Not a predictable topic, you may say. Creativity. Isn’t that what artists do? Well, I don’t think so and deep down inside you know you are a creator too. You are a creator every time you craft an email to a client you really want to work with. You are an artist when you design your translation site. You are creative when you come up with a marketing strategy and different ways to promote your services. You are creative when you work on a translation so it resonates with what the author intended in the original.

Right now, I don’t know what’s next writing wise. Actually, I think I might need to be more open with you. I have (had) another manuscript in the making. This manuscript is old. Older than “Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity”. It’s got wrinkles and I feel as if I need to write about something else. Is there anybody else who has had a similar experience? What happens with old manuscripts that never made it into a book because you decided that you wanted to work on another book instead? Do you go back or do you go forward? Which translates to….. a semi writer’s block.

That’s my dilemma. I am open to suggestions.


balance · creativity · fatigue · freelancing · lost in translation · mom · Summer

4 Summer dishes for busy freelancers

I never thought I would write about food but nutrition is important especially for freelancers who often find themselves having to skip meals to meet deadlines. Not to mention, not getting enough sleep…

So let’s just call this post off-topic or slightly off-topic or even a nice roundabout way to get some fresh tips for those of us (most of us? all of us?) who will be working their butts off this Summer. Frankly speaking, I am booked only till the first week of June but my memory serves me well: July has always been busy as hell. Which translates to…. rolling my sleeves up, smiling. Work is always welcome.

Today, I want to share 4 ideas for quick, fresh and healthy (the souvlaki isn’t exactly known for being healthy but it’s definitely a tasty addition to the mix) that people who work from home might find intriguing to try out before continuing to hit keys while everyone else is enjoying their mojito, swimming, soaking up some sun, having fun, dancing under the moon.

You know. The usual stuff you hear or read about while you work on a deadline in the hot days of Summer.

Now let’s treat that freelancing palate:

1. Wilted Kale and Coconut salad

I can’t hide my passion for coconuts and exotic fruits. Apples are okay if they are Granny Smith and oranges are great when you drink a fresh juice but I prefer coconuts, pineapples and avocados. Another fruit I really like is watermelon but only if it’s particularly sugary. For an interesting way to use coconut in a dish, I find this recipe very interesting. Not just delicious but seems it’s a salad that can fill you up. I haven’t tried it to be honest but I would love to.

2. Prosciutto Crudo with Melon

This is a typical Italian starter but when it’s hot, it’s cool. I mean, it’s a pretty cool idea as it combines the nutrients of meat with the freshness of fruit. To make this, all it takes is some creativity as there isn’t an actual recipe. The secret is a fabulous presentation so before starting to wonder where goes what, google “prosciutto e melone” and get inspired. You can also make skewers like these here!

3. Spinach and Feta Cheese pie using puff pastry

So easy to make if you buy a ready-made pasta sfoglia (puff pastry) and fill it with sprinkled feta cheese, add the spinach, some olive oil, no salt, pepper and parsley, wrap in the form of an envelope and cook for 15-20 minutes according to your oven. You can do variations of the theme by just making feta cheese pie or add more greens. I have found this recipe on You Tube that I recommend you watch. The process seems to be the ideal one. Go for it and let me know.

4. Souvlaki aka Small Skewers of Pork

Souvlaki is for all seasons. If marinated and grilled properly – and provided the meat is of excellent quality – it will make you drool (and go book a holiday in Greece). It’s vital that you let the skewers marinate overnight and that you grill them well. First 10-15 minutes on high flame on both sides, then lower the fire and keep turning them around. Cook them well, letting them become dark brown around the edges. Follow this recipe here.

Buon appetito!


image credit popsugar.com

creativity · freelancing · inspiration · lost in translation · mom · parenting · slogans · taglines · translation · translators · writing

15 slogans inspired by freelance translation

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image credit http://www.whichtranslatesto.wordpress.com

Dear all,

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but I think it’s time to share some of my slogans with you. These phrases are inspired by translation and everyday life as a translator, freelancer and mom. Which translates to things you can’t exactly predict as some of these popped out of nowhere!

As you will see, a few of these phrases are inspired by titles of movies and other famous sayings but still they are mine so please bear in mind that if you need to use them in anyway please kindly indicate the source. Commercial or marketing use of these slogans isn’t allowed without permission.

1. It’s never too (trans) late.

2. When the cat’s away, the mice will translate.

3. Natural born translators will always try to translate silence.

4. Translate your emotions.

5. Translation is embedded into life. The things we say or do often get translated, mistranslated or completely lost in translation.

6. Freelance translator: Owner of a life between deadlines, coffee cups and hopes for a better pay.

7. Some women wish they could afford diamonds. Others wish they could afford a baby-sitter.

8. Coffee is a translator’s best friend.

9. Having trouble with a foreign text? Hiring a professional translator is what you should do first!

10. Translators rewrite the world so you can have a better life in it.

11. Freelancing and raising kids on a budget isn’t as hard as you think. It’s actually a lot harder.

12. Nobody is going to wait until you are ready so forget about not being ready and follow your dreams now.

13. There are two ways to achieve work life balance when you have kids: Hire a baby-sitter or a cleaning lady or both.

14. A shy translator meets deadlines. An extrovert one also meets direct clients.

15. The text is yet to come.

Those are the 15 slogans I have right now. Let me know which one you like best and if you are interested (or know someone who is) in hiring me to write catchy phrases for, let’s say, a marketing campaign, I will be delighted to do it. It would be fun! Just email me at mgdp05 (at) gmail (dot) com.


bohemian · lost in translation

Palissandro Vivace or…how translation work reminds you not to “forget” the little details

Yesterday was one of those days. Precisely for that reason, I’m “pampering” myself with a quick post this morning before I continue working. I woke up at 7.45 which isn’t good enough. I was actually hoping to post this yesterday but it was impossible. So this is a somewhat vivace post that serves as a break from translation. Oh, and talking about breaks I know that a real break is away from the computer screen.

Palissandro vivace – the inspiration for this post – is ..a hair colour I was translating yesterday and I must admit it wasn’t easy to translate it into Greek. Palissandro is rosewood in English.

Now, what did this lively rosewood reminded me of?

That I bought a hair colour in Greece – the brand is KORRES, a Greek brand, and I completely forgot about it. I did look at it before putting it on the shelf when I unpacked but I fear that if I don’t use it now, I will forget about it and it will go out of date (like I did with another hair colour product) which translates to dedicating no time for the nice, little details of everyday life.

Perhaps this post might serve as a reminder?!

A presto.

lost in translation · St. Jerome · translation · translators

How being too literal led to an epic bible mistranslation

{It seems that the horns on Michelangelo’s
statue of Moses are the result of
something lost in translation.}


I was reading the biography of St. Jerome, the Patron Saint of Translators on a site called TIHOF just now and I wanted to share it with you. Too interesting not to mention.

First of all, I need to say that I find that St. Jerome’s life and work isn’t only intriguing but also full of inspiration for translators.

So why wait till 30th of September to talk about him?

Okay then.

While I was reading the aforementioned article, I was impressed to read that St. Jerome once observed:

  “I am not so stupid as to think that any of the Lord’s words either need correcting or are not divinely inspired, but the Latin manuscripts of the Scriptures are proved faulty by the variations which are found in all of them.”

Later in the article, it says that St. Jerome made a few errors in the translation of the Bible into Latin known as the Vulgate. The most famous one was that instead of translating a passage regarding Moses’ descend from Mount Sinai into “rays of light”, he used the word “horns”.

This is why Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, now in S. Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, features horns. So it seems.

And of course I HAD to investigate which translates to not doing what I was planning to do (nothing to do with blogging, computers or translation).

Here’s what I found.

This is a paragraph from Wikipedia’s entry on Moses (Michelangelo):

The statue has what are commonly accepted to be two horns on its head.The depiction of a horned Moses stems from the description of Moses’ face as “cornuta” (“horned”) in the Latin Vulgate translation of the passage from Exodus in which Moses returns to the people after receiving the commandments for the second time. The Douay-Rheims Bible translates the Vulgate as, “And when Moses came down from the mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from the conversation of the Lord.”This was Jerome’s effort to faithfully translate the difficult, original Hebrew Masoretic text, which uses the term, karan (based on the root, keren, which often means “horn”); the term is now interpreted to mean “shining” or “emitting rays” (somewhat like a horn). Although some historians believe that Jerome made an outright error, Jerome himself appears to have seen keren as a metaphor for “glorified”, based on other commentaries he wrote, including one on Ezekiel, where he wrote that Moses’ face had “become ‘glorified’, or as it says in the Hebrew, ‘horned’.” The Greek Septuagint, which Jerome also had available, translated the verse as “Moses knew not that the appearance of the skin of his face was glorified.” In general medieval theologians and scholars understood that Jerome had intended to express a glorification of Moses’ face, by his use of the Latin word for “horned.” The understanding that the original Hebrew was difficult and was not likely to literally mean “horns” persisted into and through the Renaissance.

What Wikipedia is saying is that St. Jerome tried to faithfully translate the difficult Masoretic text.

And here’s a quote from an article I found on Taylor Marshall’s site which I think is interesting:

No doubt, the Hebrew reads “horns,” but horns need not be goat horns. A “ray” is, in a sense, a horn. When you shine your flashlight in the darkness, it makes the shape of a horn.

According to the author, it wouldn’t be easy to carve light so he instead carved horns. He continues by saying that Michelangelo didn’t follow St. Jerome’s “mistranslation” but that he formed non animal horns that evoke the glory of God, power, divinity, and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

Hm, could that be the case?

You can read the entire article HERE and see if you agree.

What it seems to be the case is that St. Jerome overlooked that the word qaran is also a Hebrew idiom which means to radiate. This is confirmed by the following excerpt which digs a little bit deeper. This is from Grace Church.

Now, for Moses’ horns.  The ancient Greek translation of Exodus 34:29 reads, “when he went down from the mountain, Moses knew not that the appearance of the skin of his face was glorified” (καταβαίνοντοςδὲαὐτοῦἐκτοῦὄρουςΜωυσῆςοὐκᾔδειὅτιδεδόξασταιὄψιςτοῦχρώματοςτοῦπροσώπουαὐτοῦ).  This Greek translation is not faithful to the original Hebrew, but does give the sense of the passage – Moses’ face shone brightly.

So, where did Michelangelo get the horns?

The Hebrew of Exodus 34:29 is:


The issue is with the third to the last word, the Hebrew verb  קָרַ֛ן (qāran).  The noun form of this verb, קֶ֤רֶן (qeren) has as its primary meaning, ‘horn,’ like the horns of an animal.  However, this word can also refer to things that are long and cylindrical or that radiate from a common source.  For instance, this noun refers to the horns of the altar in the Temple in 1 Kings 1:50 and even to rays of light in Habakkuk 3:4: “His radiance is like the sunlight; He [God] has rays flashing from His hand.”  A Bible translator might therefore understand this verb form in Exodus 34:29 much like the noun, as either referring to literal animal horns or to something like light radiating from Moses’ face.


Jerome decided on the former.

The Latin of Exodus 34:29 is: “et ignorabat quod cornuta esset facies”: “and he (Moses) was ignorant that [his] face was horned” (Latin: cornutus, -a, -um, adj., horned, having horns).  Thus, in their (Latin) Bible, Moses had animal horns! (Jerome lived in Palestine, Bethlehem, while he did his translation.  I hope an unbelieving Hebrew teacher did not perpetrate this prank!)

During the Reformation, translators removed the horns from the text of Exodus.  However, according to some, Moses with horns became a common western, medieval depiction of Moses.

What a difference a little Bible mistranslation makes!

St. Augustine (354-430 AD), an expert in Latin confessed: “A Christian teacher who is to expound the Scriptures must know Greek and Hebrew in addition to Latin.  Otherwise, it is impossible to avoid constant stumbling.”

So, that was a longer than predicted blog post but never mind.

Actually, this is not over.

I am not finishing this post without sharing this spicy detail.

In Greek, there is a saying about cheating which involves the use of the word HORN.

Με κεράτωσε

(Me keratose)

(literally: he put a horn on me)

In St. Jerome’s case though what happened was the contrary. He was too faithful (to the text) and Moses got the horns!

A presto,


legal · lost in translation · translation

Translating long sentences without getting lost


It has happened so many times that I am becoming accustomed to it. Actually, when I see a legal document with paragraphs containing less than 4 lines, I am exuberant. Right. Let’s get to the point.

A recent project I worked on contained a paragraph of 10,5 lines. The concept was rather simple but the moment I began to translate, I lost track and had to go back. Many times. So, since this wasn’t the first time, it surely wasn’t going to be the last!

Therefore, I came up with a technique and here are some suggestions.

Please free free to add your own especially if they are a lot better than mine.

1. Read the sentence and try to find the secondary part that “gets in the way” (e.g. xxxxxxx, including xxxxx contained in xxxxxxx signed by xxxxxx).

2. Highlight the primary part of the sentence with colour or make it bold. Your primary sentence is split.

3.Cross out secondary phrase or copy and paste it somewhere else. I prefer to keep it there. Unless I work on a PDF file (which is almost always the case).

4a. Translate the primary sentence and then move to the secondary one.


4b. Translate the “easy” secondary phrase so it’s ready to go into your translated primary phrase. Good method provided you already know what your text is about.

5. Above all, decide whether you want to keep the sentence long in your target language. Does it sound natural or do you need to divide the sentence? If you have a legal text, it might be wise to try not to split the sentence but it depends. Focus on delivering the message that the author intended regardless of the number of words and non stop phrases within the sentence. Sometimes, you need to abandon structures and forms in order to translate your text as closely as possible to your source text.

How about you? Do you often translate long / tricky / mind-blogging sentences? Would you agree that they can drive you crazy which translates to providing some good training for what we do?

You may also want to check out a forum topic on PROZ about this.

A presto,


blogging · fatigue · lost in translation · translation

This is the day…



 …that this blog sees the light of day.

It’s actually 20.34 so this is the night that I start this blog.

I should get back to work now which translates to fixing my eyes on the computer screen for the next 4 hours till it’s bed time working on a very challenging long pdf document pertaining to a Statuto of a company that needs to be translated from Italian into Greek. Phew…

A presto,