If you’re looking for answers on how to find and develop a specialty field or niche as a translator, you may have looked back at your formal training and thought you didn’t have any special training, apart from your language degree, so how do we get there?
- I remember in my early days as a freelance translator narrowing my CV for example, only to training or experience relevant to my job as a translator, partly not to end up with a resume that would have been too long. I usually included in my resume, for example, my credentials and years of experience teaching languages.
- However in this digital age, your resume is not the only area where you can showcase your skills. Your website, LinkedIn profile, or Facebook business page are also excellent media to display additional knowledge or skills you may have acquired, because it is easy, and recommended, to add content on the go, if you want to gain visibility. So all I’m going to do here is share with you an example of skills that may turn out to serve you in your current career as a translator, which you may have overlooked.
- My first specialty field (medical translation) I developed both because of my interest in it, and through circumstances. Though I didn’t receive any formal medical training in my academic years, I had a family member who worked all her life in the medical field so I had some (little) insight into the subject, combined with a genuine interest in all health matters. So when I started as a freelance translator here in the US, I just trained and got accredited as a medical interpreter. I soon found out however that in my region there wasn’t many opportunities to exercise that specialty with my main language combination, English to French. But, gradually, having that qualification mentioned on my business card, resume, and online profiles, I started receiving more and more written translation jobs in the medical field. Over the years, between my readings, continual education, and practical experience, I gained – and still do gain – better knowledge in that field. I also discovered quickly that this field is too vast and that I needed to narrow it down to a few specialties within that specialty, if I wanted to do a good job at it.
- Recently I started working on a project translating anatomy books. I soon realized this particular job turned out to be considerably facilitated for me by the fact that I received, many years ago, a formal training in Anatomy, fact which I had never mentioned in my profiles or resumes because I hadn’t thought it relevant for my translation career: In my twenties and early thirties I studied ballet and became a ballet teacher till the birth of my daughter. My formal training as a ballet teacher in Paris, which lasted 3 years, included, among other subjects, History of music, and Anatomy applied to Ballet, which I received from the respected Georgette Bordier, then Professor at the Ecole de Danse de l’Opéra de Paris, who published her “Anatomie appliquée à la danse” (Editions Amphora) which was our textbook.
- For those who may want to know practically what I’m talking about, here a short video demonstrating the importance of knowing your anatomy, whether as a dancer or as a ballet teacher:
In English, a demo of the muscles involved in the battement jeté:
In French, an excellent demo of the best way to arch the foot, or rather, to stretch it, and then on how to get the best “real” turnout of the feet in first position, which will not damage the ankles:
That theory training was of course followed and enhanced by years of teaching ballet to people of all ages, and sensitizing my students to the importance of body alignment and better understanding of how their body worked, how to make the best of it, and avoid injury.
- So when I started working on this anatomy book translation, most terms were already familiar to me, and I was very comfortable with the project.
Many translators nowadays come from extremely diverse backgrounds and have previous work experience in areas that had nothing to do with languages, let’s say, whether as engineers, chemists, flight attendants, selling solar panels, you may have worked several years for a travel agency or an airline company, etc.
* Look back at your personal experience, you may have knowledge or experience that you didn’t think you could use in your translator career, either occasionally, or to develop as a full specialty.
* Don’t neglect your hobbies: Do you have in depth knowledge and experience in Photography equipment? Boating? Boat equipment? Exotic plants? Extreme sports? Scuba diving? Organic gardening? Even if you’re only an amateur in one such thing, you can always find some classes you can take in your area or online, and get credit for. You need to start somewhere.
This is only part of my own experience, so all translators are welcome to share here their personal experience on how they developed their own specialty fields, hoping that this may help newcomers or future translators find their own niche.
In the past year I have learned a lot about the business aspects of freelancing, through online training, and through my own personal experience. One of the main issues often talked about is the feast/famine cycle. Like many freelancers I sometimes have to deal with that as well. This past year was a progress in that I managed to get a “safety cushion” for the down times, so that when they came it was not such an issue.
Other ways to diminish the impact of those down times is to figure out ways to decrease your overhead. Preparing my taxes and looking at the pattern of the past two years I realized I needed to do so, down times or not. After all, as freelancers we are primarily a business, like it or not. So if we want not only to survive as a business, but also to make a profit, we need to find ways to reduce our overhead. For me, the big obvious one was rent. Some freelancers may choose to share an office space with another business, have a roommate to split rent and utility costs, but I already had my office set up at home, in a separate room, so I didn’t need to rent a dedicated office space in town. What else could be done?
Remember one thing, we can work from anywhere, provided we have a reliable internet connection. As far as I was concerned, though I was considering moving to a different geographic location eventually, I was not ready to do so yet and wanted to remain in the same town. Sometimes we need to be a bit creative.
So my significant other and I decided to move to our boat, which is sitting here in town at the marina. And off we went, getting rid of all unnecessary possessions and reducing our belongings to what we actually need and use. My main concern was to make sure I could get an optimal internet connection on board to be able to work. As liveaboards we did have a WiFi connection included in our rent but it could be sketchy at times, especially at low tide. There’s a solution to every problem, I got a range extender/booster, and I now have a perfect connection, as good, if not better, than the one I had from my apartment! My office area is facing the waterfront, great way to rest my eyes from the computer every now and then. No traffic noise, and I have a walking trail right out my door on shore, that leads to a gorgeous view of the bay from a bluff. No excuses now not to take those salutary breaks!
This is a great solution that works for me and will allow me to save a lot of money while working in a great environment.
The next step I’m considering now to reduce expenses and simplify my life, is to gradually go paperless, especially as my space is smaller now. The obvious direct benefit would be to save money on paper and ink for the printer, and de-clutter the office space. Where to save paperwork, in the Cloud, on disks, maybe both? I’m kind of old school and like to have physical access to important “must keep” paperwork.
What about you? Willing to share how you manage to reduce your overhead without sacrificing the quality of your workspace?
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT MY JOB:
* Not being in a routine: From one project to another, I enter a different world, I learn and deepen
my knowledge about different topics. Each project is an opportunity to grow.
* I’m my own boss
* I can choose which projects I want to work on.
* No commuting
* I love the research part of my job
* I discovered, against my expectations, that I’m getting to like some aspects of the business part
of my job (marketing, web design)
* Infinite opportunities to learn – through projects, training, reading, research - and to grow
* No dress code
* Even though I prefer to work at my home office, I can work from anywhere in the world, provided I have an internet connection.
* My office environment is tailored to my needs and to my tastes
* I like working independently, but I don’t have to isolate in my ivory tower either. Today I can
connect and communicate with colleagues from all over the world, thanks to my membership in
various professional associations and to online networking or participating in events and
WHAT I LEARN FROM MY JOB:
* I learn to run a small business, on an ongoing basis. There is always room for improvement!
* I constantly improve my language skills and subject matter knowledge. No, translators are not
walking encyclopedias, they do not memorize everything they translate. But I do put the effort into
improving my knowledge and skills, striving to always better serve my customers. As an example,
in addition to the research I am bound to do in direct connection to a translation project, I spend a
fair amount of my free time reading articles related to my specialty fields, such as medical articles
in specialized magazines, newspaper articles, etc. I also seize the opportunity, whenever I can, to
do some training related to one of my specialty fields.
WHAT CLIENTS BRING ME/ WHY I VALUE ALL OF YOU:
* As I said earlier, every project, every client, is a window into a different world, and
an opportunity to learn. I am a curious person and I therefore welcome every one of you.
* You all bring me something and you all contribute to my development. There is no small
client. I value all of you, no matter what the size of the projects you submit. Small
projects are just as important as larger ones, they are easy to place between large
projects, and they actually pay bills. And there too, I get to learn and grow as a business.
Actually a non-negligible part of my customers are ones who regularly send me small projects.
I’ve come to realize that some end up being among the top income sources. For fellow translators
who doubt that idea, just check your 1099 forms by client. You might be surprised.
* I like the process of gradually establishing trust between me as a business and you, my
customers. It does take time and effort, but it’s worth it. The fact that we do most of our
work on a computer does not mean we don’t have to put any effort in the human factor, on the
Trust is to be established, primarily, by providing quality services, yes, but also by
treating your client well, and adding a human touch to your interaction that shows your
appreciation. Just like you’d do for any relationship. If you doubt this idea, just think of
what makes you come back to a store, or service provider? I don’t know about you but
for me, the quality of the product is not enough: after sales service, the way I’m treated
as a customer, the feel of being welcomed and valued, no matter how much money I
spend, will also determine whether I come back or not. Are you going back to a
restaurant where you wait too long for the hostess to acknowledge your presence, or if
she obviously doesn’t look too happy to serve you, is unable to provide answers about
items on the menu? I don’t. Do you go back to a customer or service provider, that
doesn’t have the courtesy to answer your request or email or return your phone call? No?
- Neither do I.
* One of the unexpected bonuses is, some of my clients are very inspiring. Yes. I
occasionally end up “following” some of those people or businesses on social medias
because what they do is inspiring.
Let’s imagine this situation: Do you see yourself, coming in a restaurant, asking for the menu, wanting to order one of the main courses, and telling the waiter, “I’d like to have this, but I can’t pay 12.00 dollars for this, my budget is only of 8.00 dollars.” Or imagine yourself proposing to pay 4.00 dollars for a plate that is tagged 12 dollars on the menu. Or proposing to pay in 60 days. Or asking for a rebate because you’ve come with all your family and you’re ordering 12 meals. Seriously.
Here it is:
You got my point.
So why is translation not cheap? Because it is a highly skilled job that not everyone can do. Because it requires time. Because it requires expertise. Because what a translator does for you, beyond translating your content, is providing you with an opportunity to expand your business by marketing yourself globally. In other words, your translator gives you value, added visibility, recognition, credibility. He/she is also a bridge between you and the target audience you want to reach. Your translator is not only a linguist, but a communication expert.
Why not discuss rates with a translator?
Because your translator runs a business. Like any other business, it has to be profitable in order to thrive. A translator did not spend all these years in college, plus all the ensuing experience and continuing education and training, to just survive. A translator has a business to run, which means expenses for renting an office space, stationery, computers, software, printer, utility bills, training, reference material, and that is for the business part, for a translator is also a human being, who like everyone else has a family to feed, rent and utilities to pay, car repairs, groceries, etc.
- Now let me ask you a question: How often do you have to pay bills such as rent/mortgage, utilities, etc? Yes, you got it, monthly. Do you imagine yourself telling your landlord or mortgage company, bank, etc, that your “ payment terms” are 60 or 90 days? Try that!
So you’ve delivered that translation project on time, thought you did a good job on it, and a few days later here comes the shocking email or call from the client, relayed by the agency if you got the project through an agency: The client has some complaints about your translation. Yes, no matter how good you are, this is bound to happen some day. What an ego deflating experience. You thought you had done your best, and here it comes.
* First take a good deep breath, and read the email thoroughly. Never answer hastily. Before to send an angry email of denial, reopen the file and carefully compare the client’s complaints to the passages incriminated. Now often times, the complaints will be vague “the tone doesn’t sound right” “the terminology is not consistent with our internal guidelines” “it doesn’t sound like it’s been written originally in the target language”, and what not. In that case you need to ask for specifications, precise examples, possibly comments on the file with track changes. Make sure to let the client know it’s a necessary step to help you serve them better.
* Rule number one is not to take it personally, always keep in mind that the complaint might be justified – yes, you aren’t perfect and you may have bad days when you don’t do as good a job as usual – and it’s not the end of the world, but take it seriously, always assume the claim might be legitimate.
* So send a short polite mail saying you’re going to look into it and come back shortly. The client needs to know you’re taking care of his claim. That is part of your after sales service, quality assurance process, whatever you call it, so gracefully accepting to examine the client’s claim is paramount to your reputation. No, you haven’t lost that client yet. Actually it happened to me once with a new client and it was a matter of getting adjusted and used to their preferred internal terminology, so after I corrected the terms according to their preferences and acknowledged that I had taken note so as to serve them better in the future, guess what, I kept the client who regularly sends me projects.
* Whether the client’s claim is based on real translation errors, stylistic preferences or internal jargon preferences, however, you need to address that and correct them if it’s not too late. Otherwise swallow your pride, admit your errors, apologize, and propose some compensation, and what compensation is up to you, depending on the gravity of the claim. You can propose a discounted rate for the payment, no payment at all, a free translation job in the future. Yes. You heard me right. Remember, what do YOU ask when you buy a product and you find out it’s deficient? Yes, you return it, exchange it, or ask for a refund. And you appreciate when the service provider or store gracefully proposes to compensate you and does so promptly.
So here you go, you claim to be a professional, act like one. Remember that the client who is not satisfied with your after sales service will not return.
One of the specialties I came to develop, I’d say, gradually by a series of opportunities, is translation for dubbing
(not to be confused with subtitling,
that I won’t talk about in this post because it has different specificities).
But first of all, what is dubbing?
Dubbing is basically the localization of a foreign movie, a post-production process that consists in the translation of the dialogues in a different language, that will then be read by voice artists. Here is Merriam Webster’s definition:
to add (sound effects or new dialogue) to a film or to a radio or television production —usually used with in
to provide (a motion-picture film) with a new sound track and especially dialogue in a different language
to make a new recording of (sound or videotape already recorded); also :
to mix (recorded sound or videotape from different sources) into a single recording
So for this post I’ll share with you only my own experience in this field, which most of the time involved translating the film for dubbing with the final script, or from the video only without a script. Sometimes it also involves time-coding
- An important part and specificity of translating for dubbing is that it is not only
translation, but adaptation
: The words you choose for your translated segment
must match the time it took the actors to say their lines.
- Then another factor is whether you are adapting a script for lip-sync (lip-synchronization) or for
My personal experience having been mostly with adaptation for lip-sync lately, that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today.
What I need to do when translating a script for lip-sync is to adapt
so as to match not only the number of lines and syllables – and there are constraints on the number of lines per dialogue - , but to match the actor’s lip movements
, so that the voice artist can read the translated script moving his/her lips in sync with the actor’s
. Now that’s where the translation process here is different from other types of translation work. Because of the time and space constraints imposed on you, you need to adapt
in order to make the script in the target language fit. Translating literally often times won’t do. As an example, with my first language combination, English to French, English being often more concise than French, when you translate into French you often end up with a longer sentence in French. So in order to make the French script fit you’ll need to adapt, by translating the essential, the gist of it, or/and choosing shorter words.
The other difficulty is, we’ve seen that the words chosen must match the lip movements of the actor. What that means, for example, is if the last word of a dialogue ends with a certain vowel sound, you’ll need, whenever possible
, the last word of the French dialogue to end with that same vowel sound and/or lip movement, or as close as possible. You may have to change the order of the words to accomplish this, or find synomyms that will fit. It is altogether a technical work, and a creative one. Very
creative: when translating without a script, directly from the video, it obviously takes more time, but you can be confronted to other challenges when working without a script: what to do when you have a dialogue with half a dozen people yelling at each other at the same time? – believe me, it happens. The first difficulty here will be to identify who speaks, who says what, because everything each character says needs to be translated, and if you can’t distinguish all of it, well you have to make it up, using the context, because you need to fill that space. It’s a guessing game. Some of the characters might not be facing the camera, or be too far for you to be able to even see the lip movements clearly.
One challenge I’ve encountered was while translating a soap opera, for which I was to handle the Arabic dialogues and translate them into French, without a script. The Arabic spoken in those scenes was Moroccan Arabic and that was familiar grounds, except for some of the actors who were not native speakers of Arabic and who had learned their Arabic lines phonetically…It was sometimes very challenging to understand what they were saying, because it was mispronounced. I guess having previously been a language teacher helped a bit in this case. So you may end up having to listen to the same line over and over again to figure out what is being said, and if you can’t, you need to find something that makes sense with the context, and matches the lip movements of the actors. Fun, huh? Very
So if you’re considering translation for dubbing as a possible specialty field, you’ll need some specific technical training, you’ll need to be able to conform to the specific time constraints and format, and you need to be creative with challenges, as all of these are different from the ones you encounter with other type of translation work.
For other aspects of localization when translating books or movies, see previous post: Language is not everything: Localization and cultural awareness.
So you’re thinking of expanding your client base to other countries by having your website translated in several languages, or to have your novel translated, or have your movie dubbed for other countries. The obvious part is you need a translator, a professional
translator -see previous post
But wait, that is not all. You’ll also need to localize,
in other words to adapt
, your product to your target audience, which might be very different from the one of your country. It is very simple, if you want to reach out, you need not only to speak to people a language they understand, but put yourself in their shoes, figure out what their
needs are, what they best respond to, what their sensitivities may be, yes, that’s marketing all right, and PR. Diplomats are trained for that, or so we hope. The general public is not. So what is, exactly, localization?Definition:
Localization (…) is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local "look-and-feel." …“A successfully localized service or product is one that appears to have been developed within the local culture.”
- Language translation, though being a large part of localization, is not everything you’ll need to do to localize your product or services. If you’re planning to export your services, product, or concept, there is more work to do than just have the content translated. Often you’ll need also to adapt time zones, currency, product names, gender roles, etc. Some of these, such as gender roles, can be tricky, and that is when you’re going to need a cultural consultant if you want to avoid blunders and have good job done.
- On the other hand, everything doesn’t have to be localized: Let’s say, you’re having a book or a movie translated from Arabic to French for France, people’s names don’t necessarily have to be adapted. Why? Because France, having a significant Arabic speaking population from Northern Africa, is very familiar with common Arabic names such as Mohamed, Mounir, Latifa, Yasmine, Leila, Nadia, and the like. Then what do we do with the longer names such as Abdelkarim, Abdelhaq, Abdelrahim, etc? You can shorten those into the diminutive of “Abdel” commonly known in France. The other, more obvious reason for not adapting those names is of course to maintain flavor and authenticity; if the action is set in Algeria, you’re not going to change “Leila” into “Laura”, that would be preposterous. I recently read an article mentioning the damage done to some literary translations by overdoing it with localization: If an American novel is set in the Bronx, changing the street names while translating into French, using actual French street names, or worse, literally translating those street names, literally kills the flavor and the novel itself. I don’t think French readers who buy a translation of, let’s say, a roman noir set in the Bronx want to see street names such as “Rue de l’Amiral”.
- Now if I take the same movie described above, and that I want to adapt it for Quebec, I will need to hire a translator who translates into Canadian
French, and in all likelihood there may be differences with France as to what needs to be localized or not. For that you’ll need a professional localizer too. Some translators also do localization, so do yourself a favor here again, hire a professional
, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and will have quality assurance, remember what the definition says …“A successfully localized service or product is one that appears to have been developed within the local culture.” Cultural awareness
And here I’m not talking about cultural awareness at the localization stage, but sometimes even before that, at the creation or production stage. If you are a film producer and set the action of your movie in a foreign country, travel to that country. Otherwise it is always a very good idea to hire cultural consultants, native to that country, so as to make sure your depiction of that country and its customs is accurate. You cannot reasonably try to save money by skipping this stage, for you may end up, at best, with a flop and bad reviews, or worse, protests from the concerned populations or their representatives, because they will feel you have given a false or biased image of their society. No, the staple diet of the French is not frogs. Nor are dogs the staple diet of Chinese people. No, adultery in Morocco is not punished by lapidating, nor a hundred lashes, but by 1 to 2 years in prison if there is a complaint from the spouse. And Morocco, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, even though they share a common language, Arabic, speak different dialects and practice their religion, Islam, more or less strictly. Therefore, the status of women may differ considerably between those countries. No, all Native Americans didn’t live in tepees. Nor does the majority of Arab speaking people live in Bedouin tents. And Eskimos don’t live in Igloos.
This is not about freedom of expression; it is about accuracy
- Do yourself a favor: Hire a professional. What is a professional translator? Someone who has majored in language studies or has a translation degree and has been trained as a translator and can show credentials for it. Someone who is actually currently working as a translator. No, your bilingual niece or friend cannot do the job. Being bilingual is not enough. Translators are highly trained, often specialized professionals who offer expertise. If the documents you need translated are to be published, handed over to authorities, or serve professional purposes, you’ll be much better off hiring a translator that has some accreditation or certification.
- Where to find a professional translator: - Online directories of professional associations of translators such as ATA (American translators association), NOTIS (Northwest translators and interpreters society), IAPTI (International association of professional translators and interpreters). Those organizations have a listing of translators by language combination, with their credentials, specialty fields, and contact information.
- Professional online profiles such as LinkedIn.
- Remember that this is computer and cyberspace age, therefore the geographical location of your translator does not matter. Especially if you live in a rural area, don’t limit your search to your little town or county. Nowadays most translations are sent and delivered electronically.
- What kind of translator do you need? Do you need to translate a birth certificate for immigration purposes, or your website, or a PowerPoint presentation for a lecture or conference you’re giving, or the manuscript of your novel, or some highly specialized medical or technical translation, some training materials, or do you need your corporate video to be subtitled, the type of translator you’ll hire will depend on that. So when you start your search, your first criteria will be:
- the language combination (for example Spanish into English) and then
- the specialty field. If any translator can translate a simple email or press release, the translation of a medical device manual will require someone specialized in that field.
- Another thing to remember, to get the best results, it is preferable to hire somebody who translates into their native language. If you need a translation of a medical device manual from Spanish into English, you want to hire preferably a translator whose native language is English.
- Establish contact and be as specific as possible about your needs
So you’ve been on one of those online directories and you found a translator who seems to correspond to what you’re looking for. You email the translator, or call, about your translation project.
What your translator needs to know:
-The language combination, the volume (approximate word count, number of pages) the format (Word doc, Excel file, PowerPoint, PDF file, etc) and your turnaround time. Then your translator can give you a
quote/estimation of the cost. Yes, if it’s a rush job you may be charged more.
What may help your translator serve you better:
- Purpose of the document (for publication?)
- Target audience (i.e, if you want a translation from English to French, will that be French for France, or for Canada? And more specifically, who is going to read or use the document: students Physicians? Immigration authorities? Readers of a popular magazine? Consumers?
- Reference documents? You or your organization, corporation, may have similar documents previously translated or even glossaries of preferred terms, in which case you may want to provide them as well.
- Negociating etiquette
Now let’s come to pricing. You have received a quote. You may not have been aware of the cost of translation services. But in this industry as well as in many others, the “you get what you paid for” principle applies. Just remember what you’re paying for is expertise. For example, hiring a bottom feeder translator, or using machine translation for your website translation may ruin your chances of expanding your business. I have seen many instances of websites in two or three languages where the result was at best hilarious, if not incomprehensible, and therefore those customers you were hoping to reach abroad, gone! You don’t want
to hire an amateur electrician to wire your house, well it’s the same for translation jobs.
So, negociating price is often not a good idea, especially if it’s your first contact.
One sentence that serious, professional translators don’t want to hear:
“Would you translate a sample for free?” Seriously, when we go, to the doctor let's say, do we ask him/her to provide us with our first consultation for free? Or to reduce the cost for that X Ray? Do we ask a licensed plumber to fix our kitchen faucet for free “to test his skills” before to entrust him with redoing all the fixtures in the house?
On the bright side, translators will often be more than happy to provide you with existing samples of their work. I always have some ready just in case, it’s like a portfolio.
- Questions or doubts. better ask than be sorry!
And this goes both ways, if you have any doubt or question, ask, ask, ask! Don’t assume anything. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Clear communication and understanding lays good foundations for a good collaboration. So you’ve hired a professional translator with some accreditation or certification, congratulations!
Since one of my specialties as a translator is medical, and that I am particularly interested in alternative medicines, I wanted to write this post about a holistic therapy that is well developed in Europe, particularly in Switzerland, France, Spain, and now the UK, but doesn’t seem to be as present in the US, and that is Sophrology. What is sophrology?
Sophrology, practically, consists in a structured body of physical (i.e breathing techniques) and mental (i.e visualization) exercises that help restore or produce better mind/body well-being and health, and can be helpful in dealing with pain, sleep problems, or enhancing such things as self confidence and performance.
Here is a video
of the Sophrology Academy
that explains it pretty well, which includes practical illustrations and testimonies, interviews, of people who use sophrology in different fields: a dancer, a person going through a career change, a yoga teacher and mother. Etymology
The word “sophrology”
comes from the Greek: SOS – Harmony PHREN – Consciousness
and LOGOS – Study ofBrief history:
Sophrology was founded by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a neuro-psychiatrist who originally was seeking a way to help heal victims of the civil war in Spain with the least possible drug use. After researching in Switzerland using phenomenology, he travelled East to study yoga, zen and Buddhism. He borrowed from these techniques to build up his core exercises “aiming at an alert mind in a relaxed body”. Theses techniques and exercises are “at the crossroads between Western relaxation en Eastern meditation” (The Sophrology Academy, What is sophrology
). Current uses of sophrology, a few examples:
-Hospitals use sophrology to prepare patients for surgery or childbirth.
-Performers such as athletes, dancers, as well as students use it to reduce stress, overcome difficulties, and enhance performance.
-International organizations and companies also use sophrology to reduce stress. I happen to have had first hand experience with sophrology myself: in my youth I was a professional dancer and ballet teacher for a few years, and one of my instructors, who was trained in sophrology, used it for relaxation purposes in her teaching. It allowed me, among other things, to get some effortless progress in my stretching, that had been somewhat blocked by putting too much will and too much tension in it. I was taught to visualize the result I wanted to get as already accomplished, visualize success. And it worked really well. The second time I used sophrology was for childbirth in France. My midwife prepared for childbirth with sophrology, which was really helpful in dealing with pain. A few facts:
-Sophrology is recognized in Spain, France and Switzerland, and is now recognized in the UK and has for many years been recognized, recommended and re-imbursed by Swiss health Insurances.Resources:
An article in Dance magazine
about the many benefits of sophrology, not only for performers:
And in Natural health magazine
And page 6 of ICNM Journal here: In French: Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Sophrologie et Bio-analyse:
This site also propose a bibliography
in French on the subject : In Spanish:
This website in Spanish also has an excellent bibliography
which lists articles and books on the subject in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
I recently came across a couple of interesting posts on a blog called “transpanish
” about the Linguistic features of Rioplatense Spanish from Buenos Aires
, more specifically the use of Lunfardo slang.
One of the features I found most interesting about Lunfardo was the fact that it uses vesre
, which is the reversal of the order of syllables in a word. An example was given with “café” that then becomes “feca” in Lunfardo.
-That immediately rang home to me, as in French we do have a similar form of slang called “Verlan” (reversal of “ l’envers”, which means reverse).
-The other similarity between Lunfardo and Verlan is their origin: Both slangs appeared first among the lower classes, more specifically were used by criminals as a code language.
Through reading that article and doing a little bit of research I found out that Lunfardo developed in the streets of Buenos Aires in the second half of the 19th century and had its roots in the wave of European immigration to Argentina from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. (Post on Lexiophiles
, “Behind Verlan”, Oct 24, 2009). Those immigrants came from Spain, Italy, and France. Tiens, tiens, France!
Verlan interestingly followed a similar evolution pattern:
French Verlan’s first appearance can actually be dated back to the 12th century in the book “Tristan and Iseult” Tristan used the name “Tantris” to conceal his identity. But a wider use of Verlan appeared in French prisons in the 19th century. Later on French resistants also used it as part of their code.
Since the 1980’s, Verlan has spread in usage in the French suburbs first, then also via popular singers and hip-hop music among the general population and has now become common usage in informal speech.
Here is a short video animation
(in English) about Verlan and how it works, with a few examples.To have a better idea of what Verlan sounds like, a funny video of some of the most commonly used
Verlan words and expression.
An example of Lunfardo slang
explained in English, with spelling and right pronunciation Sources:
Article in English
about Lunfardo in transpanish blog.And an article in English about Verlan in lexiophiles.