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The Art of Writing for Translation: 8 Useful Tips to Remember

The Art of Writing for Translation: 8 Useful Tips to Remember
on January, 14 2014
Translation Tips

Image attributed to imagerymajestic

Contrary to common belief, translation is not an easy thing to do. It is not a matter of changing the words of the source document into the equivalent words in the target language. It is extremely difficult particularly if phrases, when literally translated would become senseless. There are several factors that should be considered when making translations, including the style and genre of the source content, the competence of the translator and the deadline for the translation. It could also depend on the techniques and methods that the translator has developed through the years. But even if that is the case, translators and even writers could benefit from useful tips in making written, and in some cases, oral translation.

1. When doing written translations, it is important that you take your time, choose the best approach, check the dictionary and think. It is of the highest importance to convey the meaning and the tone of the source language into the target language. You should also take into account the need for language accuracy as well as giving the proper weight and focus on the style of the source document.

2. You must not translate word for word. It is best that you translate the meaning of the sentence or phrase instead of the words. Rely on your experience and knowledge, particularly when the text is difficult. Do not just rely on your own translation. It would be of great help to you if can ask a native speaker or a specialist to proofread what you have translated to ensure that it is natural-sounding.

3. Do remember that the nuances of the language matter greatly when writing translations. Likewise, remember that the way documents are organized differ and might not be understandable in another country.

4. As much as possible follow the style of the original author. Supply the scientific, technical or colloquial language, or make it wordy or humorous, depending on the source document.

5. Continue to develop your love for languages, including you own and keep on studying. Learn to write well and as much as possible take on translation jobs in your own language. It will help greatly to read almost everything in your own and your acquired language. Learn to listen as well and attend seminars, conferences and workshops in your area of expertise.

6. Listen to what you have written by reading it out loud. Check out its rhythm. If it does not sound right, see if it will be better if you change the arrangement of the words and not just the words. Use your spell checker judiciously and print out your translated content. Read it once again before you submit it to client.

7. Learn to write concisely and clearly, with the right length of paragraphs and sentences. Go the extra length and ask yourself if the translation you did makes sense. Once you hesitate while reading or had to stop and think about the meaning of what you have written, there is usually something wrong with it. Always keep the readers in mind so use simple words.

8. Inform clients if you find typo errors, mistakes and ambiguous words in he source document. Your client will thank you for it.

The tips here are not just for translators but for writers, as well. After all, translation requires you to be a very good writer.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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