This article was originally published on our blog Dragosfer a couple of years ago. It focuses on how to eliminate junk words in Turkish to English translations. As part of our consolidation efforts, I wanted to include it in this knowledgebase. Avoiding junk words is a much wider topic and a good habit to acquire. We are open to publishing your articles and more tips on plain language.
Turkish language is usually long winded and redundant. Translators should learn how to avoid unnecessary words in English copy. There are many words which are not always translatable. And there are many words which can be translated differently when it comes to clarity. In this regard, any unnecessary word or phrase and/or words which may cause ambiguity are called “junk words”.
This document includes a couple of examples and guidelines on better writing in English.
A lot of translators fall into junk words trap when translating from Turkish to English. This is mainly because Turkish language is long-winded and redundant and also because modern Turkish writers use a very simplistic and generalistic language. In most cases, translators struggle to be descriptive enough in English. It is not an easy task because most of the times original Turkish texts are misleading or ambigous.
This article offers several examples on how to avoid junk words and be more specific & descriptive.
We have been publishing hundreds of common translation errors in our style guides and also on our former online glossary DRAGOMANOS. We closed Dragomanos in 2015 and transferred most of our terms to term.tilde.com. Tilde is an EU funded project for better terminology management. Use term.tilde.com to find translations of thousand of words in Turkish, English and other European languages. Also refer to our style guides to hone your writing & translation skills.
Now let me show you how to tighten your sentences by avoiding unnecesary words.
Check out the synonyms of the following Turkish words in English and try to familiarize yourself with their usage:
Faaliyet, sektör, alan, çerçeve, gerçekleştirmek, toplantı, yıl, gün, ay, saat, etki, sona ermek, organizasyon, sistem, etc.
You can delete connecting phrases and construct a shorter and clearer sentence.
Alanında – in the field of / in the area of
Turkish: Tekstil alanında yatırımlarımız var.
English: We have investments in the field of textile.
Edited: We have investments in textiles. / We invest in textiles.
Note: Also check why “tekstil” becomes “textiles”. This is a typical singular to plural convertion from Turkish into English.
Çerçevesinde – within the framework of
Turkish: Bu program çerçevesinde seminerler düzenliyoruz.
English: We are organizing seminars within the framework of this program.
Edited: We are organizing seminars in / during this program. / This program includes a series of seminars.
You can replace junk (ambigous) words with an accurate/specific verb. We call this “find the verb”. Try to be more specific in English and improve verb usage.
Gerçekleştirmek – to realise
Turkish: Başarılı bir toplantı gerçekleştirdik.
English: We realised a successfull meeting.
Edited: We had a successffull meeting. / We conducted a successfull meeting. / Our meeting was successful.
Başlamak – to start
Turkish: Şirketimiz hizmet vermeye 1980 yılında başladı.
English: Our company started giving services in the year 1980.
Edited: Our company launched its services in 1980.
Artmak – to increase
Turkish: Enflasyon son hızla artıyor.
English: Inflation is increasing at full speed.
Edited: Inflation is soaring.
Do not backtranslate buzz words or phrasal verbs. This requires advanced research skills and indepth field expertise.
Turkish: Rakiplerinden üstün performans göstermek
English: Demonstrate a performance above the competitors
Edited: Outperform the competitors
Turkish: Krizde en kötü günler geride kaldı.
English: The worst days of the crisis are over.
Edited: The worst is over. / The crisis has bottomed out.
Try to use a prefix in English and obtain a shorter phrase/sentence.
Turkish: Operasyonlara devam etmeme kararı aldık.
English: We decided not to continue the operations.
Edited: We decided to discontinue the operations.
Turkish: Başarılı değildi.
English: He was not successfull.
Edited: He was unsuccessful.
Turkish: Krizde desteğinizi çekmediğiniz için teşekkürler.
English: Thank you for not pulling away your support from us during the crisis.
Edited: Thank you for your unfailing support during the crisis.
Writing well needs a lot of practise. We are here to help you to become better translators and copy-editors. Feel free to contact Dragoman team and ask for further advice.