Swet Columns

Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing

Reviewed by Richard Weisburd Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing. Elise Hancock. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. 176 pages, including front matter and index. ISBN 0801873304 (softcover). US$18.95.


Science is rapidly advancing in every direction. Over time, scientific writing is becoming increasingly complex, with ever growing numbers of technical words and concepts. Because of... more

The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind

Reviewed by Hugh Ashton The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind. Steven Pinker. London: Penguin, 1995. 494 pages, including preface, notes, glossary, and index. ISBN 0140175296 (softcover). £9.99.


SWET members are all professional language users; we are paid to express our thoughts, or those of others, in coherent terms. Our common professional tool is language,... more

Ghost-writing vs Over-editing

by Doreen Simmons

Ghostwriting is a special form of the writer’s craft. It often takes time for an author even to find his or her own voice; but the ghostwriter has to assume the persona of someone else. Novelists and dramatists are free to invent the characters and the content of what they say; but the ghostwriter has to take someone... more

No More than Necessary

by Doreen Simmons

Aunt Eva shows us how to work around the pitfalls of working with someone who seems bent on giving you more than you need.


Dear Aunt Eva,

There’s this translator our agency uses. He’s been with the agency a long time, since before I joined several years ago. He translates accurately, but his writing style is... more

Unwarranted Confidence

by Doreen Simmons

It may seem amazing that some people think a casual hunt in a pocket-size Japanese-English dictionary will produce the same result as informed knowledge, but they do.


Dear Aunt Eva,

I specialize in producing art catalogues. Important clients think so, anyway. I have, however, had an adverse experience: I worked on an art catalogue with a... more

Kanji Core Meanings, Software Lexicons

by Lynne E. Riggs

Launching “SWET on Saturdays,” Jack Halpern told how one student of Japanese wound up creating a Japanese-English character dictionary and massive Chinese, Japanese, and Korean lexical databases now used to aid Internet search engines.

Starting with an encounter with a Japanese language textbook on an Israeli kibbutz, the story of how one man’s fascination... more