The concept of “writing for translation” in Dubai

It is probably safe to say that authors of many materials on their native language do not necessarily think about how their work will be translated. They are most likely to be writing for a specific audience and purpose without too much concern as to how easily it might be translated into other languages. For example, an author of a literary work may be too preoccupied with characters, dialogue, narrative structure and conveying particular messages to spare a thought for possible future translators. Researchers producing manuscripts are far more concerned with producing a coherent and cohesive research paper that meets the standards for peer review and scholarly journals rather than being conscious of how well their work facilitates a translator’s activities. All of this is typical and quite natural. However, the concept of “writing for translation” is applicable to technical writers. In essence, “writing for translation” involves following a series of guidelines for structuring and producing documents in such as a way that it will be somewhat easier to translate them. Let’s consider some features of this notion of “writing for translation”.

Speed and Cost of Translation in Dubai

The major driver behind “writing for translation” is that speed and cost of translation and localisation can be reduced in the area of producing technical texts. So, what helps to achieve this?

A key aspect is terminology management, which we’ve posted about in the past, and controlling the terms used. Consistent terminology reduces the translator’s effort, minimising a lack of consistency and accuracy within and between documents. To control terms, a glossary of terms needs to be established and this controls the vocabulary used in relation to a product (e.g. select, introduce, attach etc). Closely linked to controlling terms is controlling language when “writing for translation”. This can be achieved through determining the use of simple grammar, perhaps setting a maximum number of words per sentence, and notes on words and phrases to be avoided. In this respect, readability should be improved and, in turn, this makes translation less difficult.

Dubai Cultural References of Legal Translation

The third and final aspect covered in this blog post is keeping the writing style simple and as unambiguous as possible. For example, decisions need to be made on acceptable and unacceptable jargon to help facilitate the translation process that will follow. It may be the case that cultural references, abbreviations and acronyms are minimised in terms of their use. Another important consideration is to use the active voice rather than the passive voice. The presentation of dates needs to be thought about carefully. Abbreviated dates vary between countries. For example, British dates follow the sequence of DD/MM/YYYY whereas American texts would prefer MM/DD/YYYY. An easy way around this is to standardised dates, expecting them to be written using the name of the month. For instance, 7th October 2018 or October 7th, 2018.

So, “writing for translation” has relevance in more technical forms of writing and involves three elements: terminology management, controlled language and minimising the presence of abbreviations and acronyms as far as possible. There is, of course, a strong interrelationship between these aspects and overlap exists.

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