Condensing and Shortening the Summary

After completing the international business report, you now need to summarize your content.  As a translation worker, you should become familiar with these instructions for paring down any piece—your own or another’s.

  1. Read the entire original report.  When summarizing another’s work, read whole thing before writing a word.  Get a complete picture.  As the firm’s Philadelphia French Translation worker, you have to understand the original fully before you can summarize it effectively.
  2. Reread and underline.  Reread the original two or three times, underlining significant points (usually found in topic sentences of individual paragraphs).  If the piece is in a book, journal or magazine that belongs to someone else, write the material on a separate sheet of paper instead.

Identify the key (thesis) sentence, which states the controlling idea.  Adrien Martin, a French Translator in Miami suggests, “Omit all the minor details such as introductions, explanations, examples and definitions.”

  1. Edit the underlined data.  Reread the underlined material and cross-out needless words.  Leave only key phrases you can later rewrite as sentences.
  2. Rewire in your own words.  Rewrite the edited, underlined material in your own words, following the original order.  Include all important data in the first draft, even if it’s too long: you can also trim later.  Avoid judgments (“The author is correct in assuming…”) and add nothing.
  3. Edit your own version.  When you have everything readers need, edit for conciseness.  These steps were offered by a San Francisco legal translationworker.
    1. Cross out all your own needless words without harming clarity or good grammar.  Do not delete a, an, or the from any of your writing.  Use complete sentences.
    2. Cross out needless prefaces, such as “The writer argues…” or “The researcher discovered…” or “Also discussed is…”
    3. Use numerals for numbers, except when beginning a sentence.
    4. Combine related ideas within longer sentences through subordination.
    5. Check your version against the original.  When your own version is refined, verify that you have preserved the essential message, followed the original order and added no extra comments.
    6. Rewrite your edited version.  Rewrite, following an introduction-body-conclusion structure.  Add transitions to reinforce the logical connections between related ideas.
    7. Document your source.  If you are summarizing another’s work, identify the source in a bibliographical note immediately following the summary and place directly quoted statements within quotation marks.

When summarizing your work, eliminate steps 1 through 8.  Otherwise the procedure is identical.  Although you write the summary last, your audience reads it first.  Though you may be tired, take the time to do a good job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *