I like to use contractions. For example, I believe there is a discernible difference between "can't" and "cannot".
I also don't buy the argument that they are hard to translate. I'm not sure what other viable objections people might have to them ...
We heard for years that contractions were hard to
translate. We finally officially asked the liaison
with our localizatation department to verify this
commonly held belief. We felt that any translator
who couldn't translate common contractions wasn't
worth the money we were paying them.
Sure enough, she returned with the news that the
following contractions were acceptable to the
translators: "can't," "isn't," and "don't." We
decided that they probably were familiar to those
readers with English as a second language and now
our style guide allows those contractions.
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