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Writing for Translation


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  • 1. Writing for Translation Mollye Barrett The Global Communication Conference September 26, 2012
  • 2. Today• Content Strategy and Content Lifecycle• Translation, Process and Obstacles• The Writer• Writing Rules• Style, Tone, Diction, Tense, Grammar, Structure, Terms• Personas• Next Steps• Resources 2
  • 3. Content Strategy• Plan to create, publish and use content.• Understand what is needed, where used, when used, why used, how managed, how handled, how published.• Content lifecyle 3
  • 4. Translation• Communicate source meaning to equivalent target language• Meaning for meaning• Know type of translation and process 4
  • 5. Translation Process 5
  • 6. Translation Obstacles• Inconsistency • Content varies in terms, grammar, tone, style, diction, voice, tense• Not accurate• Unclear • Vague• No glossary • Glossaries are solid references• Target audience not clearly identified• Content is not finalized 6
  • 7. The Writer• Write professionally?• Use language to communicate ideas and images?• Communicate with and for a purpose?• Can you control a message?• Know who you are writing for?• Edit your own work?• Work with an editor?• Welcome criticism and revision? 7
  • 8. Writing RulesEffective content written for translation must beplanned!• Be logical, clear, consistent and concise in use of language• Create writing standards that define how to write• Write content for the audience, not for yourself• Use a model• Find good examples and emulate 8
  • 9. Style• Style is the way a writer communicates ideas• Use consistent style• Eliminate passive voice, use active voice• Do not write in telegraphic style• Avoid wordplay 9
  • 10. Tone• Word choice and how the writing sounds to the reader• Identify and use consistent tone • Conversational, educational, academic, funny, controversial, irreverent, artistic, objective, sophisticated• Means of persuasion• Eliminate idioms• Avoid culturally unique metaphors 10
  • 11. Diction• Word choice that is correct, clear and effective• Control vocabulary, eliminate buzzwords and simplify• Use terms consistently with one use per meaning• Create, maintain, and use a glossary: provide usage• Write to an identified reading level 11
  • 12. Tense• Use verb tenses to communicate the time relationships• Orients the reader to understand when action occurs• Same tense for consistency, simplicity and clarity• Shifting tenses must make sense• Make sure tenses agree 12
  • 13. Grammar• Use correct and consistent grammar• Write in complete sentences• Keep sentences short and do not complicate structure• Use connector word, pronouns and keywords• Use complete sentences for introduction and bullets in bulleted lists• Do not use contractions or slashes• Avoid negatives and double negatives 13
  • 14. Structure• Organization and mechanics • Title, heading, introduction, paragraph, list, graphic, caption results, summary • Beginning, middle, end • Predictable and consistent• Define measurements and conversions• Do not use visuals that are culturally unique• Annotate for the translator, where necessary• Work with an editor 14
  • 15. How Structure Helps• Does not help with voice, word choice, tone, etc., but can help with: • Required parts of topic • Acronym/term definition• Using structure relieves writers of need to remember mechanics like: • I need to end each task with a result • I need to add a caption to each figure• Writers are free to concentrate on writing 15
  • 16. Terms• Glossary for special terminology • Terms with definitions, uses, associated notes and translations • Use when writing and then for translation • Assign one meaning to each term: consistency for writer, reader and translator • Work with agency to maintain• Provides clarity and consistency for writing 16
  • 17. Personas• Who is the user?• What does the user want and need to know?• Where is user reading?• When is the user reading?• Why is user reading?• What publication types does the user read?• How does this persona help the translator? 17
  • 18. Write for PersonasA fictional person who represents the characteristics,goals, and needs of specific audience.• Name and Professional Title• Quote About Person’s POV• Key Attributes• Tasks• Informational Needs/Goals• Behavior, Attitudes, Motivations, Objectives• Scenario of Use• Keywords (about the user) 18
  • 19. Persona ExampleBruce Wayne is a wealthy industrialist, orphaned at a young age, who pretendsto be a gentleman of leisure by day, but by night, he is a master martial artist,detective, and scientist–engineer who fights crime and invents and usescomplex weaponry. Wayne , who is 32 and single, lives alone in a statelyGotham City mansion. He was educated at Cambridge and studied French atthe Sorbonne.A chronic lack of sleep plus the distraction of having to ponder the futureactions of a range of exceptionally intelligent and highly dangerous supervillainsmeans that Wayne is usually sleep-deprived and mentally distracted during theday. At night, in his Batman role, he has little time to think, and must rely onhis wits and his superhuman reflexes: conflict with his many enemies forceshim to rely extensively on computer support for his crime-fightingsupervehicle, the Batmobile, and on “smart” weaponry. In this situation, hefaces many distractions simultaneously, and must often overcome them whilebadly injured. Personas and the five W’s. Geoff Hart
  • 20. Next Steps• Workshop content for grammar, style, tone, voice, structure, and terms• Define user and create persona• Analyze content for consistency and reuse• Identify what to scrub from existing content• Scrub vigorously• Based on findings: document, introduce and enforce writing guidelines• Write using model 20
  • 21. Resources• The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market. Kohl, John• Writing for Translation. Aino Piehl• The International English Manual. Mable Amador and Yvonne Keller• Plain English guides guides.html• Personas and the five W’s: Developing Content that Meets Readers Needs. Geoff Hart• The Discipline of Content Strategy. Kristina Halvorson 21
  • 22. Thank You Mollye Barrett ClearPath, LLC 22