An impeccable (source) text is the basis of a good translation.

Here is a list with eleven writing tips for clear and focused communication:

  1. Make sure your text is clearly structured, with a title, subtitle, body text, etc.
  2. Always keep your readers in mind (and don’t forget to tell us! – See No. 11.), as your target audience determines the style, format, words, etc. we need to use.
  3. Make sure your source text is unambiguous and free of errors, so confusion about interpretation is impossible.
  4. Check your punctuation! Are all your question marks in the right places? Avoid overdoing the exclamation marks!!!! And watch your commas, full stops, and, not to forget your often underrated semicolon.
  5. Check for any extra spaces that shouldn’t be there. It may seem pedantic, but a missing or extra space can sometimes lead to the most hilarious situations
  6. Read through your text aloud. This will make sure you hear which sentences are too long, which transitions sound awkward and where you should put in any pauses (= commas).
  7. Check if all compound nouns are spelled correctly. Writing them together, hyphenated or spaced is often a matter of preference. So check your company’s style guide to make sure your spelling corresponds.
  8. Let the spell checker do its thing to catch those last small typos. But don’t forget: your spell checker isn’t infallible. You may even have saved errors in the past. So always be vigilant and sceptical.
  9. Two pairs of eyes are better than one. Certainly let a colleague not connected to your text proofread it for you. They may find mistakes and interpretation issues you probably didn’t spot, as you know the meaning of what you have written, but others might not.
  10. Try to provide us with a final version. This will make sure we can complete your translation in one go, assuring consistency in style and terminology.
  11. Context is everything! When you submit your source text to us, make sure to give us all the background information we need to make your translation a success.

Read our other language tips.

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