Improving (maintaining) writing standards?

Subject: Improving (maintaining) writing standards?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 09:56:59 -0500

Anne Scully reports: <<I moved to France a number of years ago... last Monday, for the first time in a while, I wrote a few pages of text. Text that was not instructional. This one had proper paragraphs and everything. However, when I read back over it, it sounded a bit like, well, franglais. Sentence structure, phrasing, choice of words, ...all had definitely been influenced by the French all around me. Now, since I have no intention of leaving France, I want to know what I can do to maintain my written English to a certain standard.>>

I also do French to English translation, and fall into cross-language problems every now and then--though unlike you, I'm not so fluent in French that I don't recognize when I'm doing it. A friend, who's a great translator and speaks fluent English, occasionally drops a French-influenced word into the conversation. Last week, for instance, she told me she was hoping to be more implicated* in the local STC chapter. <g>

* For the non-French: This comes from the French "impliqué" (involved with).

There are two things you can do. First, before you begin writing in English, read 1000 words of well-written English in the same genre you plan to write in. This "aligns" your brain with the different (nontechnical) style you're aiming for. Second, since even the best of us find it difficult to edit our own writing, have an anglophone editor review your writing. Nothing works better than a second set of eyes, and for those of us cursed with a single set... <g>

--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)



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Improving (maintaining) writing standards: From: Anne Scully

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