On Varying Sentence Length

Posted Posted in Sentences, Transcreation, Translation_Tips

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. This writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like struck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use the sentences of medium length. And […]

The weakest sentence starter: “It is”

Posted Posted in Sentences, Transcreation, Translation_Tips

“It is considered that (…),” “it is probable that (…),” or even worse “it is of utmost importance that (…)” Do we really need these clunky phrases? Dragoman encourages translators to avoid one of the weakest sentence openers: “it is (…) that/to.” By doing so, you will not only eliminate redundancy but also have smooth and creative sentences. Let’s accept, it is a bit lazy to overuse “it is.”   Wordy: It is critical not to enter into arguments with […]

Parallel Construction in Bullet Lists

Posted Posted in Style, Translation_Tips

If you are building a bullet list in English, you also need to build a parallel construction in your bullet list. Now the source text may not always have it. This means you are expect to be a little creative to change the sentence structure. You do not have to delete or omit any part of the message. Check out this example: Incorrect: Our state-of-the-art hotel offers: Unparalleled location Matchless views of the Pacific You can check in anytime Correct: Our […]

Avoid “There” As a Subject

Posted Posted in Sentences, Translation_Tips

Turkish source texts often end with “vardır, sahiptir, olmaktadır, bulunmaktadır, bulunur” etc. Some translators tend to start their translations with “There is…” which is usually unnecessary. We expect Dragoman translators to not to use “there” as a subject in order to avoid verbosity. The word “there” in the beginning of a sentence, almost always makes our sentences sloppy and wordy. Wordy:     There is a 45 percent likelihood your store will be broken into. Better:      Your store is 45-percent likely to be […]

Branching – Editor Notes

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Notes from the Editor – May 2016 Branch to the right English is a subject–verb–object language. And it is considered a right-branching language. In right-branching sentences, the subject is described first, and is followed by modifiers that provide additional information about the subject. The prince raised the sword, clutching the hilt in both hands, grinning with madness. In left-branching sentences, however, modifiers are presented before the introduction of the subject and verb. We are kept in suspense. We get the […]

Imperative Form – Editor Notes

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Notes from the Editor – March 2016 When to use the imperative form of a verb In some texts, for example, sets of instructions, web content, or advertising copy, it is more natural in English to address the reader directly using the imperative form of the verb. The source language of the text you are translating or editing may literally say that “you can” or “you may” do something in certain situations. However, it may not necessarily mean that you […]

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 […]

Never start a sentence with a figure – Dragoman Style

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Never start a sentence with a figure. Write the number in words as follows: Fifty percent of the population approved the referendum. Sixty million dollars was donated to the institution. – This rule applies to all documents (including financial reports and legal documents). – There is one exception: a numeral that identifies a calendar year as follows: 1976 was a very good year. Source Dragoman Style Guide for Figures

How not to use a relative clause

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One of the key elements of writing well is to understand the use of relative clauses. For non-native speakers, and especially for my fellow Turkish colleagues, abuse of relative clauses is common and easy to overcome mistake. Here is an example from Izmir Train – the IZBAN. We recently opened a branch office in Izmir and I enjoy the laid-back mood of this beautiful town. I resumed blogging, which is a very good sign. English: “Halkapınar station is the transfer station for […]

Sentence Branching (Or How To Avoid Brain Strain)

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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 […]