Viareggio nel cuore, forever

Maybe some of you know where Viareggio is. On the lovely shores of Northern Tuscany, close to Pisa and Lucca, Viareggio is a small seaside resort with nothing too special to boast about but in fact, a wonderful, unforgettable place.

I was not born in Viareggio – although my home town Cecina is again in Tuscany – but spent many years there due to my father’s job in the Navy. As a language lover and pretty adventurous girl, I soon decided I wanted to travel the world – or at least, Europe first – and moved in the pursuit of new experiences, friends, cities and surprises. Viareggio, nevertheless, had always been there, the very central piece of that jigsaw that is my life.

It was the 29th of June 2009, and I was in bed, playing around with my Iphone, probably discovering the latest, coolest app of the week. It was around 11pm, England is GMT 0 so an hour behind Italy.

And then, while surfing my Facebook page, I started reading rather bizarre posts by most of my friends, sounding more or less like this: ‘What a tragedy‘, ‘I cannot believe this’, ‘Fire and smoke close to the station’, ‘This is incredible‘. And then, clicked on an amateur video posted by someone’s friend, and understood immediately.

I think derailments happen all the time and we are barely aware of most of them. You can be sorry, but it’s never enough. It’s only when you realise it could have been you, it could have been your family, your friends who may have died in that hell, well… you feel powerless and weak. And in my case, far away from home. It’s when it hits you the most. I frantically called my beloved, my friends and relatives, and luckily no one was close to the accident location – still, my house is just a mile away from the place.

Justice is yet to be made and still no tangible action has been taken. No responsible has been charged so far.

I just wanted to share my thoughts, and maybe be that one more person to remember those who tragically lost their lives in the explosion. Those who fought against death for a while, to then leave Viareggio forever.



The Importance of Being Earnest – or always better to ask for a clarification

Of course, most of you will know the fantastic play by Oscar Wilde. I remember studying it in my English class, thinking how clever this man was. Inspirational.

And one more reason to give further credit to this great personality comes to mind when I think about the translation industry.

One of the first thing your clients shall do is being earnest. Or to use a tiny bit more modern word, simply… clear. Since the beginning.

I reckon misunderstandings are one of the many problems in the client-translator interaction, especially when on tight deadlines – for which most professionals have now developed black belt skills to tackle.

How many e-mails containing clear sentences like ‘Please refer to the PDF for useful terms’ or again ‘Please make sure the translation is consistent with the existing copy’ have you received so far? Thousands!  And you think: wow, thoughtful client, s/he sent the previous work!

And then, zac! It’s just there, it’s there where you are proved wrong. The trick? It’s that the previous work is what it was said it was: (just) reference. So most of the time you get puzzled clients’ e-mails saying that ‘the translation doesn’t match the original‘. And there you go, thinking: ‘Wasn’t I supposed to get “inspiration from the existing copy” to maintain the consistency?’. Bah.

Both you and your client are basically right, so no worries: no major problems here.

But the purpose of this short story is reminding all of us of one of this industry’s golden rules – but I’m sure it does apply to many others these days – ie. to always ask. Ask twice. Ask for a clarification. Get tired asking!

Ask your client whether s/he mean X or Y because even though you are afraid you’ll come across as very pedantic, trust me: it’s for the (your) best!

Till the next one,







The World Cup? Another way to be patriotic

… and with today’s match against Germany, England kisses the World Cup goodbye. Italy sadly went out last week and now we’re left to choose a country to support. Considering that the UK is my second country, which one shall I go for? Maybe Argentina – as a tribute to all Italian ancestors that left the Bel Paese to start a new life overseas?

It’s not that here at Rainy London football is such an important matter. But I do think the World Cup is one of the few events truly able to highlight patriotic feelings in people who are watching it. Italians abroad gathers in a local pub – we did – to support the Azzurri, the English put red-and-white flags on the windows of their cars and in all supermarkets beer is at its cheapest prices; I’m sure in Spain people take time off work for the match and who knows what they’re doing in Brazil or even Ghana to show some love to their beloved, national team.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been gone from your home country, how bad the economy, politics or even the weather are: with the first kick-off of the World Cup, we are all at home again… and time stops for all those 90 mins.

Enjoy the beautiful game – if your country is still in the championship!!!




Another Friday in the sun – and the VAT on the rise

Well, who said there was no summer in the UK?

Ok, over the last couple of years, we didn’t actually get to enjoy much more than a week of sunshine, I have to admit it. But it seems this June breaks all the records and we are crossing fingers for an equally blissful July and August.

As many of you, though, I am in fact spending this sunshine-packed day in the office, still giving sorry glances outside, hoping to find this tomorrow and over the short, yet so-longed-for week-end.

As the sun rises, something else does too. The news of the week is the UK budget has been approved. And the main point is the VAT issue. Not so entertaining really, as we are going to experience a rise in daily life purchases – so basically in eveybody’s personal sphere, when food shopping for instance – but on the other hand, it seems it is not going to affect the small-sized businesses so much, as the VAT threshold still remains set at £70,000+ and there are indeed advantages in terms of tax-free allowance per year (up to £1,000, apparently).

Not willing nor able to give more detailed info on the subject matter, refer to HM Treasury’s website or similar sources to know more. Pls share if you find something helpful!

And happy Friday! (Don’t forget to re-tweet this!)



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