Re. Contractions in translations?

Subject: Re. Contractions in translations?
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 16:14:27 LCL

Sue Gallagher asked for a good reason not to use
contractions (e.g., you'll, can't) in translations. My
opinion? I've done a bit of reading in this area, but I'm
not an "authority" on the subject. Nonetheless, I've never
come across any good reason for avoiding contractions,
apart from the fact that they're considered too informal
for formal writing, and this informality might transfer
inappropriately into the translation. As Sue noted, they
could also screw up software translators, but I can't
confirm this other than to say it seems reasonable based on
some spell checkers I've used.

I suspect that this recommendation is an urban myth:
someone probably read about the "don't use contractions in
untranslated text for audiences whose first language isn't
English" rule and extended it to apply to translations as
well. (Untested hypothesis alert!) I also doubt the
validity of this latter rule. As Sue noted, anyone who
learns another language learns the basic shortcuts in that
language, particularly those that concern verbs. I can't
imagine how anyone would encounter any difficulty with
something as basic to English as contractions. Has anyone
actually tested this, or does this rule just promote an
opinion based on a misconception?

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

Previous by Author: Re. Safety symbols
Next by Author: Re. Resume vs. CV?
Previous by Thread: Re. Safety symbols
Next by Thread: Re. Resume vs. CV?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads