Black Lives Matter Resources

I am a little embarrassed. The BLM movement has really experienced an upsurge in visibility since the wrongful death of George Floyd on 25 May and I have yet to speak about it on this platform. In my own, very small way I have been campaigning – I have included BLM highlights on both my professional and lifestyle instagram pages, where you can find a wonderful range of resources by people who are far better equipped to talk about racial issues than I am. But why haven’t I spoken about it on this platform?

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My Work Goals 2020: 6 Month Check In

Happy July! Can you believe we’re officially halfway through the year? I always set new years resolutions and this year I set some work specific ones, which you can see here. As we’re halfway through the year now, I thought it was a good time to check in and see how I’m doing on those goals.

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#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Twenty: Macarons

This week, which may be my last #ThatTranslatorCanCook post for a while (see explanation below), so I wanted to go out with a bang. I’ve tried to make macarons in the past and failed, so when I found a recipe that claimed to be ‘unfailable’, I jumped at the chance to try them. My attempt was semi-succesful, thanks to our dodgy oven, but they tasted nice!

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My Top 5 Favourite French Novels

This week, I thought I’d combine my two loves: languages and reading and let you know what my favourite French language books are. If you’re learning French, it might give you some inspiration of what to read next to further your language skills!

  1. Thérèse Racquin
    This was the first novel in French that I ever read. I actually chose to read it before my interview for the University of Cambridge, as my sister had given it to me. As luck would have it, it was on the course for my first year!

Thérèse Racquin follows the life of the titular character. After the death of her parents, she is forced to move in with her aunt and cousin and confined to the shop her aunt owns. Her life is entrenched in misery until she embarks on an affair.

An intensely scientific novel, by the author’s own admission, despite being a 19th century novel, the language is very accessible and the plot is highly readable.

2. Ourika
Another 19th century novel, Ourika was one of the set texts in my second year and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Once again, Ourika follows the life of the eponymous character. Ourika is a former slave who is bought by a rich family and grows up among them as one of the family. Her life is entrenched in sorrow, however, as she tries to fit into a society where she is constantly told that she doesn’t belong.

Sad, but honest, Ourika is a striking look into the reality of life in the changing world of post-colonial France.

3. L’armée du salut
This time, I have a more modern novel to share with you. I picked up this French language book during my time in Morocco.

Written in 2006, L’armée du salut is a novel-come-memoir exploring the author’s life and experiences as a homosexual in Morocco, who eventually moves to France.

A fascinating insight into the LGBT community in Morocco and France.

4. No et Moi
After working with a student who was reading this novel, I decided to give it a go and was not disappointed.

5. Le bleu est une couleur chaude
In some respects, this could be a great first read if you’re yet to tackle reading in French. As a graphic novel, it is a little easier to read than a full-on novel. I came to it after the hype around the film version Blue is the Warmest Colour came out.

Le bleu est une couleur chaude follows the life of a teenager, Clémentine, in the 90s and early 00s, as she explores her burgeoning sexuality.

Real and relatable, with beautiful illustrations, Le bleu est une couleur chaude is a fantastic read.

This was a hard list to compile, so some of my honorable mentions are:

  • Histoire d’O
  • La cote 400

What’s your favourite French-language book (even in translation)? Let me know in the comments!

Language Learning Resources

Whilst in-person language classes might be as empty as the image at the top of this post, you can still learn a language online and, a lot of times, for free! There are so many useful posts about resources for different free language learning websites out there, that I thought I would collate them into one, easy to find blogpost! I will categorise them by language for ease of access. While I can’t cover all the languages out there, I hope I’ve included a few of the major ones.

Arabic

German

  • https://youtu.be/CmKDiiit-Bk In this YouTube video, Evan Edinger explains which resources he is using to improve his German beyond the B1-B2 level that using Duolingo has got him to.

French

Spanish

Italian

Chinese

Let me know if you know of any lists of resources for learning languages online for free! And if you’d like to learn French and are looking for online language lessons, get in touch with me to find out my availability and have a free 30 min lesson. You can contact me on my contact page or verity.roat@cantab.net.

#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Nineteen: Knepfle

I finally decided to get back into #ThatTranslatorCanCook. Work has calmed down after an initial rush, the stockpiling has stopped and we have a regular online food shopping slot, so I figured I had the time and resources to broaden my culinary horizons again and tickle my translator’s tastebuds! So I headed to Marmiton in search of inspiration. I clicked on their random recipe and knepfle came up! I’d never heard of them before, but a quick google search told me they were a speciality from Alsace and similar to Spätzle that I have tried, so I thought why not?

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Translation specialisms

This week, I thought I’d dive into the world of translation specialisms and address a) why translators specialise and b) why I chose my specialisms. So let’s jump right in!

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French for advanced learners: tips and tricks!

This week, I thought I’d give my best tips and tricks for advanced learners of French. So often (and I’m guilty of this too), when blogs give tips for French learners, they’re talking about absolute Beginners. However, in my work as a tutor, I have taught French for people of all ages and abilities (and, as you never really stop learning a language, I would class myself as still a learner), so I thought I would share my top tips and tricks for French for advanced learners.

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How to learn a language

This week, I thought I would address how to learn a new language. As a lifelong language learner and French tutor, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to learn a language and I wanted to provide you with some tips for language learning! Also, there’s been a lot of chat recently about using lockdown to learn something new and while we are (hopefully) coming to the end of full lockdown, there’s still time to get learning!

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