Tools that writers, translators, and editors can use to improve the quality of their work, as well as their time spent working—from indispensable reference books and handy apps to life-changing office furniture. Please contact Winnie at winifredabird[at] to suggest items for review, comment on the reviews published here, or volunteer to be a guest reviewer.

Accessing the Professionals’ Toolboxes

On February 26, 2022, translator and editor Rebekah Harmon joined veteran translator and editor Lynne E. Riggs to talk about ways the professional know-how of editors and J-to-E translators can be accessed and better shared. Lynne E. Riggs is co-founder of the Center for Intercultural Communication (1990) and spent 12 years as managing editor of Monumenta... more

Romanizing Japanese: Polishing the Fine Points

By Lynne E. Riggs (Republished from June 2016)

Whether it’s a book title in a bibliography, a few lines of poetry, or a snippet of dialogue, romanization of Japanese in English text is a skill every wordsmith associated with Japan mobilizes now and then, and though it may seem easy, there are many intricacies the committed editor will want to... more

SWET Toolbox: Review of JMOOC Online Classes

By Winifred A. Bird

MOOCs or “massive open online courses” are a new form of distance learning intended to bring university-level education to the far-flung masses by capitalizing on widespread Internet access. Typically, courses are free or low-cost and involve a combination of video lectures, reading material, online discussion forums, tests, and other assignments. Since the concept emerged in 2008, Stanford,... more

SWET Toolbox: Writing Strategies and Inspiration

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2006, 295 pages. ISBN: 9780316014984

Reviewed by Richard Medhurst

Appropriately named for the SWET Toolbox column, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer is a series of short pieces on becoming a better wordsmith from pepping up sentences to forming habits that will... more

SWET Toolbox: Resources for Writing in Your Non-Native Language

By Winifred A. Bird

As writers, translators, and editors, most of us feel confident both writing in our native language and repairing other people’s clunky prose; the click of words falling into their proper places becomes, over time, as unmistakable as it is satisfying. Venture into a foreign language, however, and the process is not so pleasant—at least for me. Although... more

SWET Toolbox: Two Apps to Help You Transcribe Audio Files

Reviewed by Winifred A. Bird

As a journalist, I love having transcribed versions of important interviews on file. I find scanning a Word document for key information much easier than delving back into an old audio file, and I like being able to mark up the text and return to it months or even years later. I’m much less enthusiastic about... more