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EU Translation Guide: Focus on the reader


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 you need to.explain?

Try to see your subject from the point of view of your readers:

Involve them by addressing them directtly (‘you’ is an under-used word in European Commission documents).

Imagine which questions they might ask,andmake sure the document answers them. Maybeeven use these questions as sub-headings. Forexample: ‘What changes will this new policy make?’ ‘Why is this policy needed?’ ‘Who will be affected?’ ‘What do we expectto achieve?’.

Interest them. Givethemonly the informationthey actually need. Leave out as many details ofEuropean Commission procedures and interinstitutional formalities as you can. These are meaningless to most readers and simply reinforce theCommission’s image as a bureaucraticand distantinstitution. If they are really essential, briefly saywhy.

Now you can make your outline.

Source: European Commission

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