The Elegant Owl

The Elegant Owl is owned and directed by Glenine Hamlyn AE, Accredited Editor and NAATI Certified Translator (German to English), based in Brisbane, Australia. 

The Elegant Owl offers editing, translation and writing services in Australia and internationally.

Glenine Hamlyn, AE CT

I delight in reading and conversation, and I consider it a privilege to work with language because it is both precise and creative at the one time.

Precision and creativity are found in the natural world, too. I love observing closely what is going on in our garden.

There is much precision in the work of translating and editing, but also a measure of creativity.

How can I be creative when I am dealing with other people’s texts?

I need creativity to find elegant solutions – for example, when a German expression cannot be translated easily into English, or when there is a phrase in an English text that doesn’t quite fit.

Sometimes when I am out walking...

 …I will be stopped in my tracks by some small scene or object that I find striking because of its composition and colour. I’d like to think that each manuscript I work on, regardless of whether the task is one of editing, translating or writing, will end up being like one of these visual inspirations: it will stand out for its intended readers because it is clear, cohesive and a pleasure to read.

I admit to being a perfectionist – the sharp eyes – but I have learned to temper that urge by stepping back to look at the whole. It’s like painting: a painter has to step back from the canvas frequently to gain an overall impression of the work. Translating, editing and writing all need the same balance between detailed work and consideration of the whole. Consistency and balance are crucial to successful written communication.

My qualifications

  • Certified Translator (NAATI), German into English
  • Accredited Editor (IPEd)
  • MA in theology (University of Tübingen)
  • DipEd
  • BA (majoring in English and German)
  • Certificate IV in Small Business
  • Certificate IV in Governance
  • continuing professional development in both editing and translating.

My values

  • I want clients to know I am trustworthy. This means being transparent and communicating well. I carry out what I promise and do so in a timely manner.
  • I strive for excellence, working with clients to find the best possible solution to their needs.
  • I maintain respect for my clients and their work, and I endeavour to be true to clients’ voices.
  • It is important to me to enjoy what I do. I love writing, and I find translation and editing deeply satisfying, especially when my clients are happy with the result.
  • I stand in solidarity with other translators, editors and writers. For a number of years I have served on the management committee of Editors Queensland (a branch of the Institute of Professional Editors Ltd) and edited the Editors Queensland website until its integration into the IPEd website in May 2020.

My experience

Since 2013 I have worked as a freelance editor, translator (German into English) and writer, but translating, editing and writing have been part of my life for a long time.

This experience includes:

  • teaching English and German in an Australian high school
  • teaching English as a second language in Germany
  • training as an editor with a leading educational publisher in Germany, producing English textbooks for secondary schools
  • translating for German academics (humanities)
  • working in Germany in international development (cross-cultural experience)
  • writing articles, reports, reflective pieces, promotional texts, website content and book chapters in Germany and Australia
  • studying theology in Germany and managing an ecumenical organisation in Australia
  • editing the website of Editors Queensland (until June 2020)
  • compiling collections of Pacific voices (e.g. click here).

Further interests

For many years I have been an active member of a local reconciliation group supporting the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. I also have an abiding interest in Pacific peoples and affairs.

My reading habits cover serious journalism through non-fiction to fiction. Ecology and the visual arts also play an important role in my life, as do theology and a faith that breaks down rather than erects barriers.

What's behind the name?

Owls are superb creatures. They are known for their large, forward-facing eyes. Owls can turn their heads by up to 270 degrees and have stereoscopic vision, discerning the relative distances of objects in front of them to a great depth.

Owls hunt, and they need to approach their prey in a way that does not alert the creature to their presence. Owl plumage is extraordinarily soft, and the edges of their primary wing feathers let air through as they fly. This adaptation allows owls to fly silently: an elegant solution indeed.

The owl’s qualities of refined perception, adaptation to their context, and elegant solutions to complex problems are qualities The Elegant Owl brings to editing, translation and writing.

The Elegant Owl
Southern Boobook Owl, Australia Image: Paul Balfe
Creative Commons