Speaking English is important. It is also scary, for many people. The good news is: you can prepare for it. In two ways: your technique and your content.
The Little Oxford Dictionary tells us that technique is “a method in doing something; skill in an activity”. Many people, however, never really practise their speaking skills. They just do it. They forget PMP: Practice Makes Perfect.
In our network we have developed speaking exercises that help you improve your speaking skills step by step. You start with simple short sentences to get used to the sounds of English, later you start recording texts, reading them out loud on Skype. Step three is that you record your own messages, on Skype, so that you can focus on the language that is important for you.
Content is also an important element in speaking activities. It is a big surprise that very few people prepare for a meeting or a test. They just go there and expect the words to flow. They usually do, but the result is often quite colourless. With a lot of repetition. And a lack of structure. To make your production more interesting, make a plan. Use bullet points, write down interesting expressions that will help you to communicate more clearly. To avoid repetition, find synonyms in your dictionary or thesaurus. If you need advice or want help, you can always mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Various teachers in our network have been involved with Anglia for many, many years. One of the teachers we have been working with for quite a long time is Ellis Adriaensen.
Students at her school, KSE in Etten-Leur, The Netherlands, know Ellis as Mrs Anglia. Enthusiastic, dedicated and always willing to help. This year, a group of 140 students will take part in Anglia examinations at her school!
In addition, Ellis has been teaching for us in a wide range of projects. Kids Clubs, Prep Courses to prepare primary school kids for secondary school English, tutorials, and more. Dear Ellis, thank you very much, and enjoy the PIE!
You have translated so many books from Dutch to English in the past few years. Which one makes you most proud?
That would be De brief voor de koning by Tonke Dragt. It was originally published in Dutch in 1962, and it really should have been translated into English back then, as it’s such a great story and such an obvious addition to the fantastic tales of adventure that we have in English. The book had to wait more than fifty years, until 2004, to be published in English by Pushkin Press as The Letter for the King, and I’m so glad that I could be part of its move into English. It’s been a success with readers, and Netflix are now making a series of the book – and it’s about time too!
Which one is a personal favourite?
Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I love all of my book babies! ;) Seriously, I couldn’t say. Perhaps whichever one I’m working on at the moment, as that’s the one I feel closest to. I do love books with great illustrations, and I really enjoy working on picture books. They’re often quite a challenge, as you don’t have much space to work with. There can be a lot going on, but only a couple of hundred words to capture everything in, and they’ve got to match the pictures too. Fun! I love it when there’s a great team working on a book too. Harmen van Straaten’s picture book Hey, Who’s in the Loo? was a good example – both the author and the publisher, David Rose from Red Robin Books, were an absolute pleasure to work with. I think we all have the same sense of humour.
What book(s) are you currently working on?
I’m just reading the proofs for my translation of Annet Schaap’s Lampje (to be published as Lampie and the Children of the Sea by Pushkin Press) and I’m working on a new Tonke Dragt book, also for Pushkin: The Goldsmith and the Master Thief.
How long does it take on average from first request to translate to seeing your translated work being sold to the public?
It can take anything from a few months to a couple of years, but I’ve never really stopped to think about it too much. I focus on my own deadlines. It can depend on a lot of factors, not just the length of the book, but also how it fits into the publisher’s schedule and the time of year. Some books are obvious summer holiday books, while others are nice for snuggling down with in the winter.
Do you have any say in what the cover of the book will look like?
No, not at all. That’s the publisher’s job, but they do sometimes send the cover in advance, and I think they’d pay attention if the author or translator pointed out a continuity problem – for instance, if the character on the cover didn’t look much like the character in the book. It’s always fun to see what the actual book is going to look like, rather than just words on a computer screen.
Which Dutch book should still be translated in your opinion?
Ah, there are plenty of them, but I like to play my cards close to my chest. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing one of your favourite books translated by someone else. Heh heh!
There are always three puzzles. Participants should send their answers, including their name, school, city and country to email@example.com before 25 February 2019. Winners will be announced in the next PIE News on 1 March 2019. The winner will get a book at his of her CEFR level, to be collected at a local bookshop. If there are more participants with the right answer, we will draw a winner.
Winners of the January Puzzle in Indonesia: Congratulations!
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