Wiekbe Gaughan.

Proofreader Wiebke was smitten by tour books on Ireland

A GERMAN native fell in love with Ireland after reading travel books on the Emerald Isle, writes Tom Gillespie.

Now, mother-of-two Wiebke Gaughan has launched her own proofreading and translation business, the Grammar Garage, in Castlebar.

Wiebke came to Ireland in 2004 to work as an au-pair and spent time in Knockmore with a family.

She said: "I liked it and I wanted to see other parts of Ireland. I went to work in Galway for six months and I loved Galway.

"I then moved to Castlebar where I started working in Parsons Shoe Shop and for Michael Parsons in Don Racine."

A native of Velvert, near Dusseldorf and Cologne, Wiebke had the idea of Ireland as this beautiful, picturesque place.

She took up the story: "I would have read a lot about Ireland. After I left school in Germany I stated working in a bookshop for three years. I don’t know why but I always had this idea of Ireland as this beautiful, picturesque place.

"It has always been in my head and in my last number of years in Germany I read a lot of stories and travel reports on Ireland. One was by Tony Hawk who wrote ‘Round Ireland in a Fridge’."

The book was first published in the UK in 1998, shortly before Pete McCarthy's best seller, McCarthy's Bar. It sold over half a million copies. The book is loosely based on a journey made by Hawks in 1997 when he hitch-hiked around Ireland while re-evaluating his life and career.

Wiebke admitted: "That was what pushed me over the edge and made me decide to come to Ireland.

"When I was here for the first six months I did love it. I loved the remoteness of Knockmore and when you are from Germany it is everything you expect Ireland to be - remote, picturesque and green."

In 2015 she completed a far-distance course with the Publishing Training Centre, London, and received a certificate as a qualified proofreader.

She added: "I chose that course and that college as it was the only certification that is accepted by the Society of Proofreaders and Editors.

"After that I started freelancing and I was still working in Don Racine. I left the retail trade and decided to concentrate on the proofreading and I started a translation service.

"Last year, when I set up Grammar Garage. I decided to pull away from the online platforms and concentrate on working more locally.

"I do social media for a shop in town and I have been writing press releases and a little bit on online content for local businesses."

She continued: "It has all been great fun. What I want to push a little bit now is the college paper proofreading. This is the aspect I most enjoy. So far I have been working with students who are doing social studies for nursing.

"The students' work is emailed to me. Initially I read the whole manuscript twice and then I go through it in sections. When I start working with a student at the beginning of the year we usually have a couple of weeks of questions so I can get into their writing style. As it goes on throughout the year I get used to their particular style and I can work more independently then. If there are any question marks over anything I always refer back to the student to make sure everything is all right.

"I have been working with a few people now who have fairly tight deadlines and because of my flexible working hours I can work with tight deadlines.

"Last year I worked with two students who only gave me their end-of-year papers but the other students I worked with were for their essays and assignments throughout the year consisting of between 1,000 to 2,000 words.

"My business, Grammar Garage, was set up since October 2018 and offers a variety of services, including German/English translations, writing and creation of online content, and - first and foremost - proofreading of college papers and assignments for students at an affordable price."

Wiebke can be contacted on (087) 2567060 or email wiebkegaughan@gmail.com.