When is a square not a square?

– Forays into architecture translation I spoke at ITI’s 2015 Conference on this subject. My presentation employed concepts and terms used in architecture and urban planning to illustrate my journey towards a specialisation. Architecture is an interesting example because, along with the usual particular terminology, it also requires a new way of looking at the world. Although architecture is all around us, even familiar terms can pose difficulties: some ‘squares’ aren’t actually ‘square’ in shape. The best way of expressing a particular term is different depending on your point of view. In German, a single word can denote either ‘floor’ or ‘ceiling’ (or both). This is where imagination and lateral thinking come into play, alongside researching subject-specific use of language. I believe many of the issues which arise in tackling this domain are also relevant to specialising in other areas. And beyond the analysis of individual terms, I touched on the overall translation process. Which in some ways can be compared to the architect’s work process!