Tips for a better translation

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It’s always possible to get better at what you do, especially when it comes to the writing niche. Finding easier, faster and overall better ways to translate your documents should be an ongoing mission of any professional writer. Let’s take a look at some useful and actionable tips that can help you get better at translation, no matter what niche you may be working in.

Use short sentences

Depending on what language you are translating to and from, shorter sentences may make more sense in the long run. Languages such as Greek or Chinese use a structure that differentiates them from other languages that use a Latin or Cyrillic alphabet.

This means that the reading experience might be difficult for those that are not Native speakers of the target language you are translating to. Use shorter sentences whenever you have a chance in order to amend for that shortcoming.

Generalize as much as possible

While it may not be possible in certain types of technical or medical translation, other forms of writing allow for a certain degree of generalization. Translating articles, reports, novels and other long form documents allows you to generalize in order to avoid confusion with your readers. Coming up against complicated terms and outdated sayings can simply be translated as generally as possible, coupled with a thorough explanation below the text or in the concluding terminology.

Avoid humor or slang

Jokes and lingo are usually reserved to specific areas where a language is spoken actively – trying to translate these inside sayings if often nigh impossible. Avoid translating these terms altogether whenever you are given the opportunity and instead opt for a descriptive translation outside the main body of text.

You can also get some advice from Pick Writers – best online translation services if your clients demand a full translation without exception, although many of them will hear the voice of reason. Very few translators can successfully translate jokes or even language-specific lingo, so make sure to approach the subject carefully.

Active voice instead of passive

Involving your readers in the translated text is an important part of making sure they understand what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate a text from Indian or Japanese into French or Spanish and have the entire meaning be transferred as a result.

Active voice and phrases such as “we”, “you” and “us” will allow the reader to connect the dots more easily and understand what the text is about much faster. Passive sentence structures are often confusing and unapproachable by people without deep knowledge of the target language, so make sure to avoid them whenever possible.

Track the word count

Many translators make the mistake of not tracking the word count as they translate their documents. Some languages have descriptive signs and words that carry deeper meaning and don’t need descriptive sentences in their structure.

An example of this is translating from Chinese to English and vice versa – the word count will vary vastly depending on what you are translating. Make sure to adapt your translation style to the needs of your client and pay close attention not to go overboard with the word count in the final translation.


There are numerous tips for being a better translator out there, but the most important part of applying any of them is to simply pay attention to your work. Your colleagues and clients will always have something to say about your work ethics and workflow – take these tips and advice with a grain of salt and think about what is best for you as a professional. Don’t take every tip for granted and always be critical to your work – that is what being a professional is about.

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