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Prosody (linguistics)

In linguistics, prosody is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech. Prosody may reflect various features of the speaker or the utterance: the emotional state of the speaker; the form of the utterance (statement, question, or command); the presence of irony or sarcasm; emphasis, contrast, and focus; or other elements of language that may not be encoded by grammar or choice of vocabulary.

Prosody is probably the biggest challenge for translators and interpreters in their quest to master multilingual communication.

The very first step of prosody is to vary the length of sentences. It will create a melody. The next step is to vary or to enrich your vocabulary with synonyms and alternative forms of expressions. The last and most difficult step is to vary sounds, vovals and consonents.

Once you are done with the above mechanics, and it is not as easy as it looks, you may then begin exploring connotations or the sub-text.

Use these tools well and you can give a distinctive voice to your character or brand.

Prosody-concious translation and editing may not always be compatible with content deadlines of modern localization industry, but it is always worth trying.