I’ve just read in the Guardian that Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured) and Chris Martin have split up. If you don’t know who Gwyneth Paltrow is, where have you been in the last 15 years? If you don’t know who the hell Chris Martin is… does Coldplay ring a bell?

Except they didn’t split up. They ”consciously uncoupled”. “[W]hile we love each other very much we will remain separate” (note the adjective, NOT past participle), the couple announced on Gwyneth’s blog. The news spread fast, the media have been doing it to death, and the site crashed because traffic went through the roof.

But do people even know what CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING actually means? The word uncoupling is not new. The Oxford Dictionaries list it as meaning become disconnected, as in: [figurative] I have seen marriages uncouple under the strain. But when is uncoupling “conscious”? The Guardian quotes a psychotherapist who gives the following definition: “a proven process for lovingly completing a relationship that will leave you feeling whole and healed and at peace” (you can even take a course, you know). To the less sophisticated, like myself, it basically means a civilised breakup. Except I’m guessing it sounds a bit more free-spirited, holistic and… er… wise.

While other people’s relationship breakdowns (celebs or not) are not our concern here, the interesting phrase might be. Here’s another translation challenge!

PS I wonder… If you can consciously uncouple, can you unconsciously couple? Or unconsciously uncouple? I hope we all consciously couple at least. Or… OK, I’ll stop here before my head explodes.


Image courtesy of Wikipedia, ©Andrea Raffin

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Monika Kokoszycka

London-based freelance conference interpreter, EU-accredited member of AIIC (Polish A, English B, German C). Curator and editor of InterpreterSoapbox and Tłumacze z polskiego. Co-founder and curator of Skilliga, a free site listing training and professional development opportunities for translators and interpreters.

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