No Tricks, Just Treats, Please!

Communication is only effective if it is clear. If your thorough translator identifies any tricky bits in your text, such as ambiguities due to vague words, confused syntax or erroneous punctuation, they will send you a list of sentences and clauses to clarify. And that’s good news: it shows that they are keen to get it right.

It is therefore worth spending time questioning your own text before publishing it or having it translated. Put yourself in the shoes of someone reading it for the first time and who may not be an expert in your topic. For instance, ask yourself the following questions: are the concepts clear? Could I use more specific words (and possibly shorten some sentences as a result)? Are the transitions between ideas smooth and explicit so the reader understands their correlations? Are my sentences too long and could I split some of them into two shorter ones? Could the punctuation be improved to help distinguish between the various clauses/concepts? Going through this process will improve your writing skills and minimise the number of questions the translator may send you later.

When receiving a list of queries, be sure to read them carefully rather than rushing into answering what you think the question is. If you find questions and details tedious, be grateful that your translator cares that much: they could be saving your communication from failure. You could see this as a warning list of all the points in your text that a reader may fail to understand. By working closely with your linguistic partner on the highlighted issues, you get a chance to improve your original text before publication and it enables your translator to provide the best translation possible.

A well written text is always a treat for us translators. By taking a little time to polish your document, not only will you avoid lengthy queries, you will also make our day.


2 thoughts on “No Tricks, Just Treats, Please!

  1. Warmest thanks for this important and well-written post! Been there, done that — but still needed this type of affirmation in order to feel good about myself when writing those long lists of queries!
    Best from a colleague ❤


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