Re: Having written for translation...

Subject: Re: Having written for translation...
From: Jack Shaw <jsh -at- SOFTWARE-AG -dot- DE>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 1994 13:21:52 MEZ

...and suffered under the wrath of the questions
the translator comes back with, I can offer the
following two caveats:

1. Try to determine what the target languages will be,
and talk with an expert/native about

- active/passive voice,
- addressed person (2nd/3rd, you/one), which was
being beaten to a fare-thee-well here a while ago.

2. Compile a terms/terminology list, with definitions.

This having been done, use your good, sound, experientially
ingrained judgement and dead reckoning to create the body
of info. that will eventually be translated. Do so, assuming
that the poor translator is a language expert, but a subject
know-nothing. Not that s/he is, but it's a valid assumption.
If the translator asks few subject-oriented questions during
the process, reach around and pat yourself demurely on the

And, my personal slant is, write for kids. I mean, write as
though you were doing it for a short attention span and little
fascination for your topic. Lots of similes, and few abstract
concepts, if you can do it. Another view is, write as though
you were explaining something to that person you met in the
bar in Budapest/Acapulco/Rio/St. Petersburg/wherever that you
were trying to convey something to, and who understood at
best a smattering of your mother tongue. Simple (by definition)
sentences to the point of pain, with occasional complex ones
of few words with subordinating joiners ("Who was that person
THAT I saw you with...", and not "...person I saw you with..."),

Like you would want to be spoken to by a native of Budapest
or Adapulco or Rio or St. Petersburg... . And then there's
the old Rule of Three:

1. Tell 'em

(sorry, blew that...try again...)

1. Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em.

2. Tell 'em.

3. Tell 'em what you've told 'em.

Oh, dear. I've done it again, haven't I. Rattling away...


J. Shaw

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