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EU Clear English Tips for Translators


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EU_Clear_English-1.1-3DHere are some tips to help translators avoid copying structure and wording from other languages that would be awkward in English.

They should be useful to non-native speakers, but may serve as handy reminders for native speakers too.


English prefers to be simple, concise and concrete.
– Use simple words where appropriate.
– – This means avoiding archaic legalese.
– Leave out unnecessary words
– – This includes unnecessary initial phrases.
– Prefer a verb to an abstract noun
– – This includes lists.
– – Particularly avoid chains of abstract nouns.
– Prefer a gerund to an abstract noun
– Prefer participles to relative clauses
– – And eliminate participles entirely if appropriate.
– Use the passive voice sparingly
– – Inanimate subjects with animate verbs are fine.
– – The passive is appropriate in these sentences:
– Consider replacing negatives with positives
– Consider short forms and pronouns to avoid repeating full names …
– – … and instead of foreign or ad hoc abbreviations.
– Express conditions, including hidden ones, with ‘if’ …
– – … entitlement with ‘may’…
– – … and exceptions with ‘unless’ or ‘however’ (or ‘subject to’).
– In general, cut out extra verbiage.
English prefers straightforward syntax
– Keep the subject close to the beginning of the sentence
– Avoid splitting up subjects, modals, verbs and direct objects
– If a sentence is too long, pull information out into separate sentences.
– – But don’t change sentence boundaries in legislation.
– Use topic-introducing phrases sparingly.
English may use different number, articles, gender or words from other languages
– Keep uncountable nouns in the singular.
– Use ‘a’ rather than ‘the’ for members of a class.
– – If appropriate, use the singular for members of a class to avoid confusion.
– – Use ‘the’ rather than ‘this’ to refer back to a document.
– Do not use gender pronouns for entities.
– Consider alternatives to ‘of’.
– Finally, avoid ‘false friends’ in translation.
About the author
– Nicolae Sfetcu
– – Contact
Publishing House
– MultiMedia Publishing

MultiMedia Publishing https://www.telework.ro/en/e-books/eu-clear-english-tips-translators/
– Digital: EPUB (ISBN 978-606-033-579-5), Kindle (ISBN ), PDF (ISBN 978-606-033-578-8)
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