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A passion for language, an obsession with detail

I love the rhythms, the cadences, the subtleties and intrigue of words. Words can mollify, soothe, disturb, outrage, inspire. We can play with them, we can be cheeky, mischievous, provocative, alluring...

Some experts claim that around 90% of communication is body language - but where would we be without the remaining 10%? Just think - no literature, no poetry, no debate, no news, no jokes, no sweet nothings...

My mum and dad are originally from Eastern Europe and their conversation and emails and letters to me are wonderfully peppered with mispronunciations and misplaced pronouns.

And as a child, my summer holidays were spent travelling across Europe, four of us shoehorned into a dark green Hillman Imp, air-conditioning in cars as yet unheard of, to be presented to relatives dotted across Germany, Austria and Hungary.

At the Hungarian border, monosyllabic guards armed with machine guns would search our car, inspect our passports, disappear with our passports, reappear to inspect us through the car windows, then disappear again. Sometimes hours later, they would finally return with our passports to wave us through the huge metal fencing decked out with barbed wire - into a different world, where Baroque facades were pockmarked with bullet holes, where contemporary architecture was stridently utilitarian and grey, where shop shelves were empty, and where I understood not a word of the language I was surrounded by.

Yet watching and listening to grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles, cousins and neighbours, the poetry of their language and the warmth of their expressions and intentions were unmistakeable.

At A Level I studied English, French and German and then concentrated on French at university - more extended trips abroad, immersing myself in different sounds, expressions and nuances.

I love the evolution of language too, from its fabulous reinvention as txt mssjn and street leet, to following my son's acquisition of language. 'Hello Copter!' he used to shout cheerfully at any helicopters passing overhead.

And while I revel in the many-layeredness and multifariousness of words, particularly of spoken language, I also get great satisfaction from reading text that achieves what it sets out to achieve with grace and clarity - whether it's a short story, a news report, or a set of flatpack assembly instructions.

"Katalin has provided some difficult copy for us very successfully. She is professional and creative and has a good eye for detail."

Brian Moffat Managing Director, Petrophase Ltd