The Linguist

The Linguist 55,1

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 26 of 35 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 The Linguist 27 Having learnt languages using 'traditional' methods, I was sceptical about a self-taught course. I have never believed that you could learn a language with a 'casual' approach. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how narrow-minded I'd been! The BBC Active Talk course for beginners is brilliant. It comes with two books and audio materials (CDs), plus a grammar book in case you require a deeper explanation. You have to use the book and CD simultaneously, which may be a downside for someone used to doing things on the go, but it was not an issue for me. The course is divided into 20 chapters (10 in each book), which cover basic topics – introducing yourself, ordering drinks/food, booking a room, getting information/advice, shopping for clothes, and more. Each chapter is well structured, starting with a good introduction into cultural aspects. At the top of each page are key phrases, which you listen to and read at the same time; and at the end of each chapter there is a quiz to check your newly acquired knowledge. The layout of the book is great, as is the quality of the recordings. All of the contributors are native language speakers, both male and female. The dialogues and the exercises are not too long or overloaded, and enable you to build your key vocabulary step by step, giving you all the basic knowledge you need to be able to say short sentences and eventually hold conversations. When I started the beginner's course my French was non-existent; now I feel as if I could communicate confidently with native speakers, and I will definitely practise on my next trip to France. The course helped me to overcome my fear of talking, which is the worst part of learning a new language. It seems easy and light, but really engages you in the culture and language. As you would expect, regular practice is essential but I would certainly recommend the course. It is good value for money and has all a beginner needs, as long as they are diligent enough. Oleksandra Spiegler, CIOL Examinations Supervisor BBC Active Talk French Complete Isabelle Fournier & Sue Purcell BBC Active 2014, 576 pp + 240 min; ISBN 9781406679212 Paperback & CD £29.99 METM15 conference Mediterranean Editors and Translators 29-31 October 2015, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Coimbra, Portugal The words 'higher education' took on a whole new meaning for delegates at the Mediterranean Editors and Translators Meeting (METM15) in October, as they climbed the hill to Coimbra's historic university – a seat of learning where history and modern student life exist side by side. The METM15 format did not differ from other similar conferences, with the more hands-on experience of workshops on the Thursday preceding the conference proper. One distinction, however, lay in the gourmet breakout sessions, with themed discussions over almoço and jantar ('lunch' and 'dinner') on topics such as marketing, workflow, career development, time management and budgeting. This was organised networking with fellow attendees at its finest, between mouthfuls of delectable Portuguese specialities. Another, subtle difference was in the subject of the talks and choice of speakers. MET is an association not just for translators and interpreters but for editors too. This meant a certain emphasis on the actual mechanics of writing. John Bates, for example, gave a talk on 'Grammar Myths from the 18th to the 21st Century: Prescriptivism rules?', while Tom O'Boyle's workshop was entitled 'Signposting the Way: Using punctuation to improve flow'. Editing your own translations was also covered, thanks to Mary Savage's presentation of the results of a pilot survey of translators' self-editing practices. Academia was well represented, with several speakers from universities around the world, including professors Laurence Anthony from Waseda University in Japan and John Flowerdew from the City University of Hong Kong, who gave the plenary talks. Also covered was 'pracademia' – the combination of academia and practice – in presentations by John Linnegar and Sarah Griffin-Mason. All in all, the conference lived up to its theme of "versatility and readiness for new challenges" by breaking the mould and offering attendees a broader-than-average spectrum of subjects. This was MET's 10th annual meeting. The next one, on the theme 'Raising Standards through Knowledge Sharing and Peer Training' will be held on 13-15 October in Tarragona, Spain (see and based on the 2015 meeting, I would certainly recommend it. Mary Consonni MCIL REVIEWS UÉÉ~áBxäxÇàá DUCA696, 'T HE UNIVERSITY'S PALACE GATE' (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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