Eliminating redundancy

Posted Posted in Editor Notes, Sentences, translation, Word Usage

Eliminating redundancy is one of the key skills to fluency, but what is redundancy or a redundant word/phrase? If you can remove a word from a sentence without changing its core meaning, that word is redundant or unnecessary. Not every redundancy is a flaw, sometimes it is helpful to add variety to your sentences. The safest way to get rid of redundant phrase is to hire a professional copy-editor. Check out the following example, it is not only redundant but […]

Cutting the Fat: Avoid Superfluous Nouns

Posted Posted in Style, Word Usage

Dragoman prefers to translate ideas as succinctly as possible. This means cutting superfluous nouns that add nothing to what we are trying to communicate to our readers. Translation Example 1: Many studies in the field of economics highlight the importance of transaction costs. Better:  Many studies in economics highlight the importance of transaction costs.   Translation Example 2: Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate over the weekend. Better:  Weather is expected to deteriorate over the weekend.   You can further explore how […]

The Plural of “Behavior”

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

Behavior is almost always a mass noun and it is very rarely used in the plural. Incorrect:  You must reflect on your behaviors if you want to avoid repeating your mistakes. Correct:     You must reflect on your behavior if you want to avoid repeating your mistakes. Behavior is used in the plural in the fields of psychology, social science, and education. Five behaviors could extend life expectancy at 50 by more than a decade, even without the discovery of a single new drug or […]

Using However Correctly

Posted Posted in Literature, Sentences, Transcreation, Translation_Tips

We must always insert a semi-colon before and a comma after however to connect two independent clauses. Incorrect:    Japan was an expanding giant however it could not generate enough capital to support its rapid industrial development. Correct:       Japan was an expanding giant; however, it could not generate enough capital to support its rapid industrial development. Using however instead of ‘but’ or in the meaning of ‘no matter how’ or ‘not matter how’ may or may not require a comma. You can […]

“Such As … and So On / So Forth” Redundancy

Posted Posted in Translation_Tips, Word Usage

Dragoman prefers “and so on” or “and so forth” to “etc.” (et cetera) to show that there are many other similar things or people that we can add. However, combining “such as” with “and so on” or “and so forth” in a sentence causes a redundancy. Incorrect:   Animals such as mountain lions, wolves and so on are carnivores. Correct:      Animals such as mountain lions and wolves are carnivores.            

DO NOT Use a Comma Between Cumulative Adjectives

Posted Posted in Style, Translation_Tips

When multiple adjectives each do not modify a noun separately, they are cumulative. Do not use a comma to seperate cumulative adjectives in English. This rule may be different in your mother tongue but when translating into English, we should all follow the rules & conventions of English language. E.g.: The company is planning to open five new mid-sized stores by May next year. Incorrect: The company has ordered an expensive, mini coffee machine for the new CEO. Correct:    The […]

Use a Comma Between Coordinate Adjectives

Posted Posted in Style, Translation_Tips

When multiple adjectives each modify a noun separately, they are coordinate.   E.g.: We are aiming to become an agile, profitable and environmentally friendly company. Our adjectives are coordinate adjectives if: 1. The order can be reversed without changing the meaning. 2. The comma can be replaced with and without changing the meaning. Incorrect: Companies with severe chronic cash flow difficulties must be put under closer scrutiny. Correct:    Companies with severe, chronic cash flow difficulties must be put under closer […]

Copy-editing tips for beginners

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Editor Notes, Style, Translation_Tips

When you first apply for a copy-editing position at Dragoman, you might assume your job will be limited with surface errors; it will be done after correcting spelling, prepositions and some connecting phrases. And when you realize that you are expected to change sentence structures, deal with proper usage and remove ambiguities, you may be struggling to figure out your limits. How far can I edit, where shall I begin from and where should I stop? I know exactly how you are feeling and am […]

Sentence Branching (Or How To Avoid Brain Strain)

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Sentences, Translation_Tips

The use of left-branching sentences is a common problem in translations. Yet many translators are unaware that they are even writing them. In most cases, right-branching sentences are more appropriate and easier to read. So what’s the difference? Left-branching sentences Left-branching sentences can resemble a magic trick. This is as they keep the reader in suspense by only revealing at the end of the sentence what it is that’s being discussed. This becomes particularly problematic (and infuriating for the reader) in long sentences […]