The Language Clinic

23 January 2010

One of the particularities of French people is their love-hate relationship with the English language. Advertisers are now allowed to use English on billboards — but they have to include a French translation as a footnote, no matter how trivial the slogan. Many people we meet can speak English reasonably well, but would have to move way out of their comfort zone, so they won’t (they’d rather cope with our French…). At work, my colleagues sometimes have trouble getting papers accepted for publication because the reviewers struggle to get the message through the English mistakes. This is a shame, because the clinical research at our centre is substantial and deserves the attention of a worldwide audience. Since Alexander and I both have first hand experience with this problem and have learned the craft, we are now offering a fortnightly language clinic, where we discuss one or two paper drafts that our colleagues are planning to submit. We want it to be an opportunity to discuss vocabulary, grammar, style, typography and all those other aspects of paper writing that are independent of content, but nevertheless determine publication success. There is clear demand already from authors, and we’re hoping it will be well received and attended by the local research community as a whole.

2 Responses to “The Language Clinic”

  1. birgefamily Says:

    Rolf, that is fabulous! Just slightly infiltrate the French and don’t get caught….
    Seriously, I think that’s a great idea and I hope that your colleagues appreciate your effort.

    Have fun – Birge

    p.s. feel free to edit this comment 😉

  2. soundray Says:

    Thanks Birge! We can use a little encouragement. We’re just now learning that throwing an offer out there is not enough — you have to do some marketing, even for a free, no-strings-attached offer like ours.


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