Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals

Subject: Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals
From: Richard Hamilton <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L Writers <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:43:21 -0700

I know just about enough about translations to be dangerous, so I'm probably stepping into a minefield (not to mention straying pretty far from the original question:-).

I see an important distinction between style changes that make translation easier and either improve or don't harm the base language content, and changes that make translation to some subset of languages easier but make the base language content worse.

I think eliminating pronouns falls into the second category (and I'm glad to hear it's a "used to be" feature:). If you can make the base text better by using pronouns and directly addressing the reader, and at the same time improve most of your translations, you should do that, even if that complicates some small subset of your translations. That doesn't mean you allow translations to be linguistically or culturally wrong, but rather that you rely on your translators to correctly handle linguistic and cultural issues as part of their job.

Best Regards,
Richard Hamilton
-------
XML Press
XML for Technical Communicators
http://xmlpress.net
hamilton -at- xmlpress -dot- net



On Jun 25, 2013, at 11:01 AM, Gene Kim-Eng wrote:

> The elimination of pronouns used to be a standard feature of writing for translation. There are languages that do not use pronouns, and some in which the use of personal pronouns in communications with someone with whom you are not personally acquainted is considered rude.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>
> On 6/25/2013 10:42 AM, Combs, Richard wrote:
>> And an important side note it is. The two example sentences Anonymous cited are fine as they are. Any attempt to rewrite them to eliminate "you" is bound to make them less readable and clear. The silly notion that we shouldn't address the reader is so 1980s! :-)
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Anonymous
RE: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Porrello, Leonard
RE: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Combs, Richard
Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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