Workshop 2: Stephen Johnston

The impossible blog: How to write a readable blog from unreadable material

Summary: This fun workshop trains participants to (ghost)write short, clear, and easy-to-understand blogs from

technical or highly detailed and dry source material.

Purpose: Professional copywriters are often asked to write a blog for a company, only to be faced with virtually unreadable, complex source material. “Make it sexy!” they say.


This hands-on workshop trains participants to take technical, specialized,  and/or complicated source material and turn it into a readable, interesting blog for the general public. With a fun mix of theory and exercises, participants will learn how to:

  • Determine the target readers
  • Distill key information
  • Create a hook and a story to interest readers
  • Re-write it while removing technical terms
  • Write interesting headings to grab the readers’ attention
  • Create short social media descriptions for Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook, etc.

It will help any seasoned or budding writers (or translators/editors who would like to become a writer) to gain confidence and skill in writing company blogs – a great addition to any CV.


About the facilitator

Stephen JohnstonStephen Johnston is a professional trainer, copywriter and journalist who works with multi-national companies on projects such as websites, internal and external communication, white papers, marketing material, brochures, corporate journalism, and speechwriting... and blogs!

Much of this work involves specifically targeting different readership groups. Stephen also upgrades previously written texts and/or provides one tone-of-voice for texts with multiple authors to increase their impact and professionalism. He also conducts workshops and training sessions to improve the quality of business writing and presenting.

To register for this pre-conference workshop click here.








Workshop 3: Margreet de Roo

Making the best, most optimal use of MS Word

Summary: MS Word is an immensely powerful tool – if you know where to find its often hidden strengths. Rather than use it as an upgraded typewriter, why not automate the parts of your work process that free you up to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of your job? In this workshop, you will learn some ways to tweak MS Word so that the functions you use most often or regularly are a lot easier to find. You will also discover the incredible power of macros and learn where to find many, many of them. And you will be introduced to PerfectIt, an add-in that was built with writers and editors in mind and that will save you tons of time and brainpower.

Purpose: This workshop aims to teach participants to use Word more efficiently and effectively so that they can spend their valuable time and energy on the more interesting elements of their job and leave the simple, repetitive tasks to the tools that are good at them – macros and PerfectIt. 

Description and structure: The workshop is divided into three parts:
- tips and tricks on using MS Word at its optimal best
- an introduction to PerfectIt
- an introduction to macros.

Who should attend? This workshop is targeted at writers, editors and translators at all levels who work with MS Word on a Windows computer, but who need to exploit its time- and labour-saving strengths. Mac users are welcome to attend, of course, but the focus will be on Windows. (PerfectIt for Mac is in the beta stage of development.)

Materials to bring: Laptop

Outcome skills: By the end of this workshop you will have been made aware of and be able to use a variety of tools that make the use of MS Word more efficient and effective. You will be able to automate certain parts of your work process and will therefore have more brainpower left for the interesting stuff!

Pre-workshop information: PerfectIt:


About the facilitator

Margreet de Roo photoIn what feels like a previous life Margreet de Roo used to be a German teacher until she moved to Nairobi, Kenya, with her husband in 2003. They returned to the Netherlands in 2012, where Margreet set up her editing business, Maneno tekstredactie. She mostly works as a copy-editor and proofreader and is learning how to do developmental editing. Every now and then she translates a book from English or German into Dutch.

In the Facebook groups for editors that she joined, she quickly discovered that there are many tools that can make an editor’s life easier, and she enjoys using them. In 2016 she started sharing her knowledge with fellow editors and translators through her workshop Handigheidjes Word and that reminded her of why she likes teaching so much: seeing the smiles when students realize that they have just learned something incredibly useful.
Margreet lives in Zwolle with her husband, two daughters and two cats.

To register for this pre-conference workshop click here.


Workshop 4: John Linnegar

It needs only a 'light' edit: Negotiating the differences between light, medium and heavy editing

Summary: Authors with a reputation for submitting well-prepared manuscripts (MSS), or who are likely to be hostile or hypersensitive to more major changes, will often request only a light edit (whatever that means), and the text editor’s billable hours will be expected to reflect this. Medium editing is naturally the norm to which most MSS conform (Merriam-Webster 2001: 235), and usually comprises two passes (Einsohn 2000: 16; Mackenzie 2011: 168). Heavy editing conveys broad latitude to shape the MS’s language and content components (and a little structural editing) (Davies & Balkwill 2011: 170; Einsohn 2000: 12; Mackenzie 2011: 169). It is used if a work is in need of significant improvement, usually in the opinion of either the commissioning editor or sometimes of the text editor (Davies & Balkwill 2011: 170). When this decision is taken, the next question that arises is: Will the author be capable of making the book acceptable to its target audience or should a detached professional text editor be asked to undertake the necessary improvements? (But how often don’t clients expect to get away with a ‘light’ edit on a dog of a text!)

Purpose: To reduce the amount of uncertainty, guesswork and/or thumbsucking that goes into deciding the appropriate level of editing required on a document. From this workshop, editors and translators (as revisors) will take away a set of criteria and a formula that will help them distinguish the different levels, especially when having to justify the level of editing or revising required – and its related fee and deadline – to clients.

Description: Through being exposed to two or three interpretations of levels of editing put forward by leading practitioner-authors in the field (PowerPoint presentation and handout containing excerpts from the authors’ books), the participants will hear and see what experts have to say about gauging the level of editing required. What they will do during the workshop is obtain a closer idea of how to assess the level of editing by engaging with eight short passages and comparing their assessments with those of others.

Although the session will be English-language based, the guidance from the editing gurus cited applies to all languages, writers and writing. 

Structure: First, the different levels of editing or revision – light, medium and heavy/extreme, and excessive, as described or labelled by leading authors on the subject – will be explained. Then, by examining the extent of the errors that need correcting in eight brief texts, participants in this workshop will gain a more informed, hands-on idea of how to distinguish between the different levels of editing or revision and, consequently, begin to do so with greater confidence. The facilitator will also share his technique for quantifying the level of editing involved, based on the number and nature of the corrections performed on a sample of a text.

Who should attend? Any editor or translator who is in the position of having to determine and evaluate the nature and extent of the improvements that have to be made to a text, to attach a fair value to their editorial intervention.

Outcome skills: On the basis of error detection, labelling and assessment, and by employing a simple formula, participants will more closely and confidently be able to determine the level of editing required. Based on that, they will also be better equipped to determine whether the proposed fee for an editing job and the deadline are reasonable/fair.

Pre-workshop information: If you have access to Davies & Balkwill (2011); Einsohn (2000, 2010), Mackenzie (2011) or Van de Poel & Linnegar (2012), read up on the subject of levels of editing. Otherwise, simply think deeply about the problems you have encountered trying to determine the level of editing and the commensurate fee for the job.


  About the facilitator

John Linnegar 2Until 2010, like many other editors, John Linnegar had little idea of how to distinguish between the nuanced three levels of editing (and that after 30 years in the game!). Then he began researching the subject, only to find that less than a handful of authors had written about it! It’s their ideas – plus his own guide to how possibly to quantify the levels in specific editing tasks – that he will be sharing and workshopping, using a set of real texts.

John has been a text editor, proofreader and indexer of school and academic textbooks, reports and journal articles since the 1970s. For almost 20 years he has trained generations of editors (including authors’ editors and academic editing skills), proofreaders and indexers. During this time he has published several books on aspects of language usage and editing, including Text Editing: A handbook for students and practitioners (UPA, Brussels, 2012). Now based in Antwerp, Belgium, he is a member of a number of professional associations, including SENSE, MET and Australian and South African societies. 

To register for this pre-conference workshop click here.


Workshop 1: Emma Goldsmith

EU regulatory medical writing and EMA templates: Compliance and consistency

Summary: There are strict requirements in Europe for translating summaries of product characteristics, package leaflets and labelling (all the documents that make up medicinal product information). To comply with these requirements, you are expected to use specific templates, standard terms and controlled terminology. You may already be translating these documents and wondering whether you’re doing it right, or you may want to start working in this field and you’re not sure how to go about it.

Purpose: To familiarise translators with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) templates, comply with terminology requirements and use translation technology to ensure consistency.

Description and structure: First, we will look at the documents that make up product information and guidelines. Then, we will download and work on the EMA templates and appendices, focusing on practical aspects of the translation workflow and discussing the pros and cons of converting these documents into term bases and translation memories. We will also look at language register, comparing the different styles of the Summary of Product Characteristics and Package Leaflet. After a break, we will align a template in your source and target language, and investigate terminology in EDQM Standard Terms, MedDRA and the WHO INN database.

Who should attend? Translators who work with European languages and want to learn about or refresh their knowledge of EU regulatory medical writing in general and EMA templates in particular.

Outcome skills: By the end of the workshop, attendees will feel more confident about complying with the strict requirements for translating EU product information and they will come away with a better understanding of how to manage the technological aspects of this field.

Pre-workshop information: Attendees should bring a laptop to the workshop. A handout will be sent out in advance with files and website links that will be used on the day.


  About the facilitator

EmmaGoldsmith photo

Emma Goldsmith originally trained as a registered general nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. She moved to Spain in 1987 and for the following 10 years, she worked as a staff nurse through the BNA (British Nursing Agency) during visits to England. This gave her broad experience in a wide range of hospital settings.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, Emma set up as a freelance Spanish to English translator, first working for local translation agencies and later – in the Internet age – specialising in medicine for global companies and individuals. She now has over 20 years’ experience translating clinical trial documentation, articles for publication in medical journals, and product information for EMA submissions. Emma is a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET) and currently serves as Webmaster on MET’s Council.

To register for this pre-conference workshop click here.


How to get to ’s-Hertogenbosch

Visitors from outside the Netherlands take note: ’s-Hertogenbosch and Den Bosch are the same place!

Although most people in Holland use the shortened form in conversation, all road signs and train timetables use the full name. Google Maps recognises both names!

On footOn foot: From ’s-Hertogenbosch Centraal station it is about an eight-minute walk to the conference hotel situated on Burgemeester Loeffplein 98. Exit the station on the City Centre side. Walk along Stationsweg, over the canal and continue on Visstraat. At the T-junction, turn right into Hoogesteenweg, then left into Scheidingstraat and, finally, into Achter de Tolbrug, which becomes Burgemeester Loeffplein, where you will see the facade of the Central Hotel. There is a bus stop for a bus to the station 50 metres from the hotel (Markt or Loeffplein).


By bikeBy bike: Bicycles are ubiquitous in the Lowlands, and no wonder. With over 32,000 km of bike paths and an extensive cycling infrastructure, more than 36% of Dutch citizens use their bike as the main means of transport. Bicycles are available for rent at several shops close to the conference hotel and in cities all over the Netherlands. For those with a personal OV-chipkaart (see the next section below), public transportation bikes, called OV-fietsen, are available for rental at ’s-Hertogenbosch Centraal station and 300 other locations around the Netherlands. The price is € 3.85* per OV-fiets (OV-bike) per 24-hour period, purchased with your OV-chipkaart. General advice for visitors about biking in the Netherlands can be found at Holland and Holland-Cycling. IamAmsterdam also has a subsite devoted specifically to biking in and around the city.


By carBy car: ’s-Hertogenbosch is located on the A2 Amsterdam-Maastricht motorway, between Utrecht and Eindhoven. There is multi-storey car park ‘De Tolbrug’ next to the Hotel Central with reduced rates for hotel guests (use the entrance on the left), or you can park at the ‘Transferium’ on the outskirts of the town and travel to the centre by bus or taxi. More details about parking on the hotel website.


trainBy train: there are two direct trains (recommended) every hour from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to ’s-Hertogenbosch (and two more each hour which require changing trains in Utrecht). Journey time is just over one hour. Take the train with an end destination of Venlo (for direct connection) or an end destination of Nijmegen (if changing in Utrecht). Fares €16.50* second class, €27.70* first class.

From Amsterdam Centraal and Utrecht Centraal stations, there is train service every ten minutes throughout the day and every second train (end destination Heerlen or Maastricht) goes directly to ’s Hertogenbosch. Journey time just under one hour, fares from Amsterdam €15.50* second class, €26.00* first class. Trains from Eindhoven Centraal run every ten minutes (journey time about 20 minutes), take trains with an end destination of Schiphol Airport, Alkmaar or Enkhuizen. Fares €6.40* second class, €10.70 first class*.

You cannot reserve seats on Dutch trains, and it makes no difference in price to buy in advance. Timetables (in English) can be found on the Dutch Railways website. Tickets can also be purchased from ticket machines in the baggage reclaim area at Schiphol Airport. There is also a (staffed) ticket office in the main concourse inside the airport and at Amsterdam Centraal. There is usually a small surcharge for using a credit card. Tickets can be booked online, but as payment requires a Dutch bank card it will be of no help to overseas visitors!

Remember to keep your train ticket on you as you leave or enter a station! It has to be scanned at the turnstiles to give you access or egress.


high speed trainBy high-speed train: the Thalys high-speed trains from Paris, Brussels, Lille and Antwerp will take you quickly and efficiently to Rotterdam Centraal, but from there you need to take two trains to reach ’s-Hertogenbosch. An easier option is to stay on the train as far as Schiphol Airport or Amsterdam Centraal stations and then take a direct train to ’s Hertogenbosch (see above).

The much-promised Eurostar direct service from London should be operating by the time the conference takes place; currently, it involves changing trains in Brussels. Fares are available for travel to any station in the Netherlands.

If the Eurostar is not travelling beyond Brussels at that time, then, from Brussels, take an InterCity train to Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal. Easy options to reach ’s-Hertogenbosch are:
• to change at Roosendaal station and take a train bound for Zwolle via Breda and Tilburg to ’s Hertogenbosch (journey time about one hour; trains depart hourly; first class €20.80*; second class €12.40*); or
• to stay on the train as far as Schiphol Airport or Amsterdam Centraal stations and then take a direct train to ’s-Hertogenbosch (see above).

Deutsche Bahn (DB) operates ICE services to Amsterdam and Utrecht from Basel (CH), Frankfurt, Köln and Düsseldorf. Fares for high-speed trains vary, reservation is required, and the earlier you book the cheaper it will usually be.


planeBy air: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Eindhoven Airport are both about one hour from ’s Hertogenbosch by public transport. Schiphol is the major hub airport of the Netherlands, with intercontinental flights by all major airlines. Schiphol is also a central hub for the Dutch rail network, with the train platforms situated just below the main arrivals and departures lobby, so it’s very easy to get from there to ’s-Hertogenbosch or anywhere across the country. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines in the baggage reclaim area and in the main entrance above the train platforms at Schiphol Airport.

Eindhoven is a low-cost destination with over 70 routes from most European countries as well as from Turkey, Morocco and Israel. While Eindhoven is geographically closer (35 km), it requires a bus trip to Eindhoven station. Airlines using Eindhoven include Ryanair, Wizzair, Transavia and several charter airlines. There is an airport bus service from Eindhoven Airport to ’s-Hertogenbosch for passengers with an airline booking; however, it will not take you into the centre of ’s-Hertogenbosch but to a ‘Transferium’ on the outskirts of the city, where you can transfer to a local bus or a taxi to the city centre.

Rotterdam-The Hague Airport also offers flights from several European cities, but public transport connections with ’s Hertogenbosch are not so convenient.


ferryBy ferry from UK ports: Overnight sailing from Newcastle to IJmuiden (for Amsterdam) with DFDS, Hull to Europoort (for Rotterdam) with P&O, and day and night sailings from Harwich to Hoek van Holland with Stena Line offer a relaxing way to travel to the conference, and also offer the possibility of taking your own car. Public transport links from these three arrival ports are also available. Don’t consider cross-Channel routes to Calais and Dunkerque unless you are travelling by car, because there are no good public transport links to ’s-Hertogenbosch. By car from Calais or Dunkerque, it is about a 3½ hour drive to the conference location (via Antwerp), depending on traffic.


coachBy coach: There are services from many European cities operated by Eurolines, Flix Bus, Terravision and Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) to Eindhoven or Amsterdam. Fares are cheap, but timetables are not always convenient and reports about the services vary. The Deutsche Bahn service from Düsseldorf and Antwerp to Eindhoven is, however, reliable.


9292Transport information: Door-to-door English-language information public transport to and around the Netherlands (not including flights and ferry routes) is available through It also contains information about any disruptions to travel. 9292 has apps for Apple or Android. The Dutch National Railways’ NS JourneyPlanner is also available in English with apps for Apple and Android


chip cardPublic transport smart card: If you are staying longer in the Netherlands, it is worth buying a public transport smart card, called an OV chipkaart, which you can top up and use on all public transport throughout the country. Locals and long-term visitors can purchase a personal OV-chipkaart, valid for public transport bike rental. If you are just travelling to the conference and back, buying a ticket at the airport or station is the easiest option. You can buy single tickets on most buses but increasingly you cannot pay in cash, only with a debit or credit card – and it’s more expensive.


Tourist informationVisitor information: English-language information for visitors about ’s-Hertogenbosch can be found at the city’s tourism website, Bezoek ’s-Hertogenbosch. The local VVV Tourist Information Office is just a 2-minute walk from the conference hotel. The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions has put up a comprehensive Netherlands tourist information website at Most Dutch towns have their own websites with detailed visitor information. Here are a few: Amsterdam, Delft, Eindhoven, Gouda, The Hague, Leiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Utrecht. If you are planning a trip elsewhere, do run an online search for the relevant local city tourist website. Visiting one of the many VVV tourist information offices can also be a real help.


 Fares correct at time of publication. SENSE cannot be held responsible for any subsequent changes.

* All train fares in the Netherlands are for a single journey; return fares are double the single fare.

How to register

If you haven't used our events registration system before, it can be a little confusing. Please take a few minutes to read the instructions below before you start.

*** UPDATE 30 April 2018 ***

Now booking conference only! 

For hotel rooms please contact Hotel Central stating ‘SENSE conference’ in your correspondence:  
Telephone: +31 (0)73 - 6 926 926

The conference fees are now as follows:

Conference without hotel
SENSE members € 275.00
Members of sister organisations € 315.00
Non-members € 350.00

To register, go to the relevant SENSE 2018 Conference or Workshop page, click the registration link and then click the ‘Register’ button.


  • Register for the conference first; when we have received your payment we will send you a discount voucher for a workshop.
  • Those unable to attend the conference may register for a workshop separately.

register 01

Fill in your contact details. In the tickets section, click the drop-down arrow to the left of ‘Add ticket’.

register 02

You will then see a number of tickets to choose from. Select the ‘Conference only’ ticket, then click ‘Add ticket’. Then select the ‘Sunday Lunch’ and/or ‘Guest package’ tickets as required:

180430 new register


If you have received a coupon code as a member of a sister organisation, enter the code in the coupon box.

180403 new register 02

Check your details.

In the Comments box:

  • If you book a guest package for your partner who is not attending the conference, please enter the name of your guest.

Dietary restrictions:

  • Let us know if you follow a special diet or have any allergies to allow the hotel catering staff to prepare appropriate dishes.

Select your payment method, then click the ‘Register & Pay now’ button

To keep costs low, we prefer you to pay by iDeal or Bank Transfer as PayPal takes a sizeable chunk of all transactions.

If you live in the EU but not in the Netherlands, your best option is to pay by bank transfer. 
Our bank details are shown in the following screen:

180430 Bank transfer

Your registration at the conference is confirmed when we have received your payment. Once the registration process has been completed you will receive a discount coupon which can be used when booking a workshop.

SENSE members, you must be logged in to register at the member price!

Contributors will receive a discount code, members of sister organisations can obtain the appropriate discount code from their own society. 

Nigel Saych

photo Nigel Saych 1Nigel Saych is the owner and director of Interlex Language Services, a ‘Fair Trade’ translation company based in Nuenen (near Eindhoven) in the Netherlands ( He is also a full-time translator and has given entertaining presentations at 20 translation conferences over the past ten years. Creative translation is Nigel’s speciality and his presentation at SENSE conference 2018 will offer a creative approach to ‘Englishes now’.

Nigel’s conference presentation is entitled ‘Divided by a common language’: Cultural, topical and geographical Englishes.

Kenneth Quek

Kenneth QuekKenneth Quek is a Singaporean who resides in Helsinki. He is fully bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese and works both as a freelance academic revisor for the University of Helsinki Language Centre and as a freelance editor and copywriter in the corporate sector. He has previous experience in private teaching, translation and journalism.

Kenneth’s conference presentation is entitled Chinglish as she is writ: On the uses and abuses of English by native Chinese speakers. Kenneth will also give an update on sister society news, Introducing NEaT.

Ailish Maher

Ailish MaherAilish Maher is a freelance translator and editor who has the Chartered Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation and a Master’s Degree in Translation from Dublin City University. Like Susannah Goss, she had to figure out editing in LaTeX for herself and is pleased to report that things have become much easier since the advent of online applications.

Ailish will be co-presenting a double conference session with Susannah Goss entitled Editing documents produced in LaTeX, for which laptops are recommended.

Joy Burrough-Boenisch

Joy BurroughBased in the Netherlands but having edited and researched in various countries, Joy Burrough-Boenisch edits and translates for Dutch academics and scientists, teaches scientific and academic English, and gives workshops for translators and editors. She is a founder and honorary member of SENSE. She has two degrees in geography and a doctorate (on Dutch-scientific English). Her academic and professional publications include Righting English that’s gone Dutch (Kemper Conseil, 2013) and contributions to the book Supporting Research Writing: Roles and challenges in multilingual settings, (Chandos, 2013), edited by Valerie Matarese.

Joy’s conference presentation is entitled Editing English-language doctoral theses in the Netherlands: Are the SENSE Guidelines useful? Joy will also participate in a panel discussion with Jackie Senior, Carol Norris, and Nigel Harwood entitled Putting the Dutch practice on editing texts for doctoral theses/dissertations into an international context.

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