Analyzing Your Audience

In professional translation and business communication, you can generally describe your target audience somewhat narrowly: a manager with a business degree, a team of electrical engineers with strong a understanding of their discipline, a handyman putting in a new door, a chemist with a membership in the American Chemical Society, a team of surgeons seeking to learn more about an innovative software package that will allow them to work more efficiently and your immediate supervisor.  All of the people are knowledgeable and well educated, however they happen to be unaware about a certain facet of their profession, or they require specific details in order to perform their work.  It’s possible to describe your audiences by expertise, profession, schooling, and connection to you. You understand to varying degrees their overall expertise and the particular expertise they currently have in regards to your subject matter.

The primary question is what specific details do the target audience members need to know about the information that you are presenting. In most cases, Chicago French Translation workers assume intelligent readers and listeners (otherwise, how could you communicate with them?) that are unaware regarding certain elements of the issues or subjects about which you are translating, writing or speaking (otherwise, why on earth would you talk to them?). If they understand the essentials of what you have to say, you shouldn’t write or speak unless it’s a way to document your collective understandings or for a variety of other archival purposes. You may also know their frame of mind concerning your topic: favorable, neutral, aggressive, or apathetic. Are they prone to be open to your thoughts? Will a handful of your audience members be prone to agree with a few of your thoughts but reject others? One veteran Spanish translator in Houston suggests that new translators should write down everything that they can think of about their audience-what you think they know, what you think they want or need to know, what kinds of evidence they are likely to accept, and their reasons for reading the document or listening to your presentation or what you can do to motivate them to read it or listen attentively.

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