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EU Clear English Tips for Translators – English may use different number, articles, gender or words from other languages

EU Clear English Tips for Translators

Keep uncountable nouns in the singular.

  • Change > to
  • informations on EU policy > information on EU policy
  • trainings for staff > training for staff
  • aids to farmers > aid to farmers
  • actions (1) to help students > action to help students
  • the impacts (1) on health > the impact on health
  • professional competences (1) > professional competence
  • EU agricultural policies (2) > EU agricultural policy
  • best agricultural practices (2) > best agricultural practice
  • training materials (2) > training material(s)
  • crimes (2( against EU interests > crime(s) against EU interests

(1) Words like ʽactionsʼ, ʽimpactsʼ and ʽcompetencesʼ do appear in EU English, under influence from other languages.

(2) Some nouns, like ʽpolicyʼ, ʽpracticeʼ, ʽmaterialʼ and ʽcrimeʼ, can be countable or uncountable. Though the line is not always clear, they are countable referring to an individual concept and uncountable referring to a collective one.

Use ‘a’ rather than ‘the’ for members of a class.

  • Change > to
  • The worker on the site should wear the uniform. > A worker on a site should wear a uniform.
  • The application for the child to attend the school activity must be signed by the parent. > An application for a child to attend a school activity must be signed by a parent.

If appropriate, use the singular for members of a class to avoid confusion.

  • Workers will receive computers. > Each worker will receive a computer.
  • Plumbers with professional licences may: > A plumber with a professional licence may:

Use ‘the’ rather than ‘this’ to refer back to a document.

  • Change > to
  • Regulation 23/2000 … this Regulation … > Regulation 23/2000 … the Regulation …

(Use ‘this’ for the present document.) >

Do not use gender pronouns for entities.

  • Change > to
  • The contractor has announced his decision. > The contractor has announced its decision.
  • Any inaccuracies found in a producer’s file will disqualify him or her. > Any inaccuracies in a producer’s file will disqualify the / that producer.

Consider alternatives to ‘of’.

  • Change > to
  • the largest lake of Italy > the largest lake in Italy / Italy‘s largest lake
  • support of young people > support for young people
  • officers of the crime division > officers in the crime division
  • a decision of the Court > a decision by the Court / a Court decision
  • participants of projects > participants in projects / project participants
  • staff of the company > staff at the company / company staff

Finally, avoid ‘false friends’ in translation.

  • Change > to
  • adequate mechanisms > suitable / appropriate mechanisms
  • an attestation of registration > a letter certifying / certificate of registration
  • in the case of Greece > for Greece
  • ordinary citizens > ordinary people / consumers / users
  • projects coherent with sectoral priorities > projects consistent with sectoral priorities
  • The Commission communicated its decision to the national authorities. > The Commission notified the national authorities of its decision.
  • respect for national competences > respect for national powers / jurisdiction
  • This Regulation completes Regulation … > This Regulation supplements Regulation …
  • consequent policy > consistent policy
  • Consumption is stable. > Consumer spending is stable.
  • to control imports > to check / verify / inspect / monitor imports
  • to carry out a control > to carry out a(n) audit / check / inspection
  • Criminality is on the rise. > Crime is on the rise.
  • to deepen relations > to expand / improve relations
  • The dossier is closed. > The issue / matter is closed.
  • Many economic operators have been hurt. > Many businesses / traders have been hurt.
  • to elaborate / formulate / establish a plan > to draft / draw up / develop / produce a plan
  • to have a positive effect on production > to help / boost production
  • to have a negative effect on consumers > to hurt / harm / be detrimental to consumers
  • all elements of the process > all aspects / items / stages of the process
  • to exercise a profession > to practise a profession
  • to exercise the profession of lawyer > to work as a lawyer
  • to exploit a farm > to run / operate a farm
  • to foresee a ban > to provide for / impose a ban
  • to foresee action > to envisage / plan / contemplate action
  • in the framework of the plan > as part of / under the plan
  • heterogeneous conditions > uneven / disparate conditions
  • illegal state aid > unlawful state aid
  • an important amount > a large / significant amount
  • informatics experts > IT / ICT / computer experts
  • an information note > a memo / letter
  • to intervene at a meeting > to speak / take the floor at a meeting
  • EU intervention > EU activity / projects / action / involvement
  • to introduce a demand for aid > to apply for aid
  • to provide justification > to provide evidence / an explanation
  • agricultural material > agricultural supplies / equipment
  • modalities for payment > arrangements for payment
  • a negative evolution in trade > a downturn / decrease / drop in trade
  • the economic perspective > the economic prospects / outlook
  • to realise a project > to implement, carry out, complete a project
  • to invite reflection > to invite discussion / debate / thought
  • to reinforce transparency > to enhance / improve / increase / heighten transparency
  • to represent an actor for change > to help bring about change
  • to respect / adhere to conditions > to comply with / fulfil / meet conditions
  • sickness insurance > health insurance
  • to transmit a report > to send a report

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