EU Translation Guide: Beware of false friends, jargon and abbreviations – Take care with abbreviations
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Too many unfamiliar abbreviations can make a document incomprehensible and send your reader to sleep: (ERDF + EAGGF + CAP = ZZZ). If the meaning ofan abbreviation might not be clear to your reader, you should: write them out in … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Beware of false friends, jargon and abbreviations – Avoid or explain jargon
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Jargon is vocabulary used by any group of insiders or specialists to communicate with each other, and is acceptable in documents which are only read by that group. However, outsiders (especially the general public) will have to work harder than … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Beware of false friends, jargon and abbreviations – Avoid false friends
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False friends (or faux amis) are pairs of words in two languages that look similar but differ in meaning. In a multilingual environment like the European Commission, we often mix up our languages. Borrowing between French end English is common. … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Prefer active verbs to passive
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Another easy step to dear writing is to useverbs in the active voice (‘the car hit a tree’) rather than the passive (‘a tree was hit by the car‘). Compare these: BAD: New guidelines have been laid downbythe President in … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Be concrete, not abstract
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Concrete messages are clear – abstract language canbe vague and off-putting. Too much abstract language might even lead your reader to think either that you don’t know what you are writing about or that your motives for writingare suspect. Unless … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Cut out excess nouns – verb forms are livelier
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One simple way to write more dearly is to change … this (BAD)… => … to this (GOOD):   by the destruction of => by destroying for the maximisation of => for maximising of the introduction of => of introducing … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Make sense – structure your sentences
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You may have to write (or improve) a text containing a mass of facts and ideas. Here are some ways of untangling the information so that readers will understand each sentence straight away. Name the agents of each action and … Read More

EU Translation Guide: KISS – Keep It Short and Simple
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Short… The value of a document does not increase the longer it gets. Your readers will not respect you more because you have written 20 pages instead of 10, especially when they realise that you could have written what you … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Get your document into shape
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When you start If your outline include a summary, begin with that: you may find it is enough! Put it at the beginning because that is the first (and sometimes the only) part that people will read. Pay particular attention … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Focus on the reader
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Be direct and interesting Always consider the people you’re really writing for: not just your boss, or the reviser of your translations,but the end users. Like you, they’re in a hurry.Who are they, whatdo they already know, and what might … Read More

EU Translation Guide: Think before you write
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Clear writing starts with and depends on clear thinking. Ask yourself: Who will be reading the document? Three main groups of people read European Commission documents: EU insiders – colleagues in the European Commission or other institutions outside specialists the … Read More