Re: Passive/active voice in int'l documents

Subject: Re: Passive/active voice in int'l documents
From: Jack Shaw <jsh -at- SOFTWARE-AG -dot- DE>
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 1996 16:35:36 -0800

In the case Betsy Maaks presents in the active vs. passive
situation with English marketing pre-sales brochures, I
think discretion might be the better part here. There is an
established school of thought that advocates "diplomatic"
language--including the use of passive voice.

As we all know, passive voice has a place. Or it wouldn't be
there and have survived. To focus on the done rather than
the doer, passive voice works. And to avoid the overly personal
"you really oughtta ..." tone in foot-in-the-door literature,
passive is less confrontational.

But there is less argument, indeed if any, in the more factual
and procedural technical writing that can be supported with
the politeness/diplomacy argument. And as for cultural differences
between languages, the translators will often fold in that aspect
as they do their thing. At least, good translators will (Jackie
strikes another blow for human translators here...).

Bottom line: let them have their bangers, mash and passive voice,
Betsy--just don't let it become a precedent for everything you
give them. A, uh, well, line in the sand should be drawn, as it were...
MIRTH=<your_choice> | :-D | NULL.

Jack Shaw, whose utterances are his alone...
Software AG
Darmstadt, Germany
jsh -at- software-ag -dot- de


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