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The embarrassing clue that a life in languages beckoned? Asking Father Christmas for an etymological dictionary when I was about 10 years old.

Since then, besides learning how to actually pronounce 'etymological', I've studied French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian, and racked up various language qualifications and accreditations:

I've been a full-time translator since 2011, making it my business to craft translations that don't sound like translations.

And I'm pleased to say that my collection of language-related books continues to grow each Christmas.

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