In continuation with our post last month, we enumerate a few more steps to follow to make your content translation friendly!
The main purpose of any technical document is to communicate information. Therefore, every effort should be taken to help the reader to stay focused on the information. Technical documents can do without wordy and complicated language. Short and clear sentences are promising when understanding information is the main objective of a text.
Irregular language styles are better kept out of a document that will be translated. Figurative structures, unusual registers, ornamental language and slang should be definitely avoided in technical documents.
At Language Services Bureau, we have created a small list of things to do such that your text in the source language is easy to understand and thus easy to translate:
- Be simple: Simple language is more likely to get the point across because the reader does not need to make any extra mental effort to understand the sentence. Simple words reduce the translator's efforts to find equivalents in the target language to maintain the original style. Grammatically simple structures help in quick understanding and smooth re-expression in the target language.
- Be short: Use short and direct sentences. Lengthy sentences can be confusing. Complicated sentences loaded with information can become an error-trap for a translator who is already running on a tight deadline or struggling with two culturally different languages.
Cut the extra word baggage wherever possible.
No: If it is possible for the importer, driver or the person in charge to prove to the satisfaction of the Officer, the correct value of the goods imported and to produce the original documents, within one month from the date of payment, and if the amount of deposit paid is found to be in excess of the amount due, refund of such excess amount may be claimed in the Central Office.
Yes: The importer, driver or the person in charge may claim refund of the excess amount in the Central Office if he can:
> prove the correct value of the imported goods to the satisfaction of the Officer
> produce the original documents,
> the amount of deposit paid is more than the amount due
Such claim must be made within one month from the date of payment.
- Use Active voice instead of passive voice: at least in English it’s definitely possible!
No: Sentences that are too long can confuse the translator.
Yes: Lengthy sentences can confuse the translator.
- Be specific: The technical translation will be nothing but accurate if the source document leaves no room for ambiguity. Sentences having unclear meaning are more likely to be translated word-to-word in order to avoid any risk of deviation from the source.
No: bring about an improvement in quality
Yes: improve quality
- Be correct: Make sure that your sentences are grammatically correct. Incorrect sentences will lead to confusion and will ultimately fail in being understood. They will only add to the "queries" that you receive from the translator.
No: "Every company is defined with the number of steps it takes forward. Similarly, XYZ has more to its decade a long success journey."
No: One electrician is sufficient to perform all electrical items.
(Electricians do not perform "items")
Yes: One electrician is sufficient for all the electrical work.
No: Erection of expansion joints to be checked properly to have perfectly horizontal level by checking up with spirit level.
Yes: Check whether the expansion joints are perfectly horizontal using a spirit level.
- Be error-free: After drafting a document, review it to ensure that it is free of errors like sentence fragments, missing words, incorrect spellings, incorrect dates etc. Silly mistakes in the document may misguide the translator resulting in an incorrect, ambiguous or unclear translation. Use spelling and grammar check before a document is finalized to avoid typos and errors you might have overlooked.
No: Necessary base plate for the support to be fixed with paved foundation duly drilled holes and fixing of expansion bolts and nuts
No: Crush hazards
Do work under hanging load.
Do not work under hanging load.
No: Ear thing Boss has been provided on the leg.
Yes: Earthing Boss has been provided on the leg.
This topic will be continued in our next blog in the next month!
Written By Shweta Bhide and edited by Devaki Kunte
January 18, 2017
Language Services Bureau, Pune, India