Re: Preparing doc for translation

Subject: Re: Preparing doc for translation
From: Heli Roosild <HeliR -at- MSMAILHQ -dot- NETIMAGE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 1994 13:23:00 PDT

An earlier employer of mine had a separate translation group in the UK.
Many of the pointers they gave us for writing with translation in mind were
simply part of good writing in general--for example, do not use more than
one term to refer to the same thing, and avoid noun strings. I particularly
remember that translators from English prefer structurally explicit
sentences rather than elliptical ones. What I mean is, they preferred
something like

The boy who is wearing the blue coat that has a lace collar ...

to the (for me) simpler

The boy wearing the blue coat with a lace collar.

[A primitive example, I know. (:-)]

English is wonderfully able to collapse grammatical structures and still
convey the correct meaning, at least to native speakers. To the rest of the
world, however, the results are often ambiguous and a pain to translate.

As for research into this field, I know such exists, but the only thing I
could come up with quickly is the following (which I haven't read myself):

Swenson, Lynne V. "How to Make [American] English Documents Easy to
Translate"; Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Communication
Conference, 1987; Washington DC: STC: WE-193 to WE-195.

Hope it helps!

Heli L. Roosild Network Imaging Systems
helir -at- msmailhq -dot- netimage -dot- com Herndon VA 22070

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