Writing: Creativity and Translation

I am trying to write more. This is a way of revising my vocabulary and trying to find imaginative ways of getting beyond testing myself with flashcards. Recently, I came across this post on Flash Fiction suggesting multiple ways of getting you writing. It occurred to me that with my flashcards I am in possession of something akin to those fridge magnet poetry sets. So, I set myself the task of writing some flash fiction or micro-stories (200-300 words) build around my flashcards. For example, I used my food vocabulary to write a story about a mother daughter relationship and clothes vocabulary to write about a trio of yoga friends and their wardrobe changes. It was quite fun and got me away from the purely issue driven style of language exercises. It also helped me practice my vocabulary.

To further my food practice I have taken to translating some recipes I regularly make. This involves deciding whether to use the imperative (and practice that) or just using the infinitive as some cookery writers tend to do. It is a useful way of looking up vocabulary that seldom comes up in lists (pomegranate, hazelnuts, parsley- thank you, Yotam) and revising more frequently used words (spoon, parsley, vinegar). There is a complexity to recipe translation that I don’t want to undermine, and there are elements of this that make it more than simple word matches (as my colleague Lyn Marven can attest to), but it is a useful exercise.

For the first exercise it is probably useful to have a reader. For the second, it is a reasonably straightforward exercise for self-correction.


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