Many Reasons To Avoid Using Pseudo-Technical Language

While the use of technical and specialized terminology in documents and presentations that are geared at audiences who are unfamiliar with the terminology causes problems, it is even worse to use pseudo-technical terms when other terms are just as efficient and widely understood.

According to James Hildebrand, a translators with a Houston translation services company, pseudo-technical language is created by a writer or speaker who needlessly substitutes unfamiliar multisyllable words for good, every day, familiar words.  Corporate language in general is riven with this sort of nonsense, usually termed ‘management-speak’.  One example is the use of the term “above-board” which is used in statements such as, “I don’t think you are being completely above board with me.”  Another term that Human Resources professionals use is “Onboarding”, which they sometimes use to refer to the training that new employees receive.  You might also be familiar with the use of nouns as action verbs such as the term “offices” as used in the following sentence, “Tom offices from home.” What the person is really saying is that Tom works from his house.  This kind of language is difficult for native speakers of English to understand. You can imagine how difficult it is for the people who translate these documents and for nonnative speakers who hear it.

We can all think of someone in our office that is always trying to use this sort of language.  Often it seems like the only reason they use these terms is because they think it makes them look like an intellectual and demeans people.  In addition, people who try to use big and unfamiliar words seldom stop at single words. As a few Seattle German translation workers have learned, many of the people who use pseudo-technical terms will often go on to combine several words to make hard-to-understand and sometimes even meaningless phrases and sentences. Instead of communicating meaning, all they end up doing is producing noise that disrupts communication.

This is why Claudio Garcia of Miami certified translation company suggests that when people have the choice of using these types of terms or a synonym that is more familiar to broad audiences; they should stick with the synonyms that are most commonly used.  Simply put, pseudo-technical language creates communication barriers with people who aren’t up on the latest lingo. It also makes the translation of these terms into other languages difficult.

Make Use Of Familiar Terms In Your Writings And Translations

470058047An important problem that both global business executives and language translators recognize is that confusion is caused when technical language is used in documents and presentations.  While technical language is needed in many cases for legal purposes, precision and conciseness, many prefer not to use it during discussions with their co-workers and others in the same line of business.

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Because technical language is often unknown to broad audiences, it frequently confuses audiences and creates difficulty when translating documents.  Therefore, it is recommended by Denver Translation professionals that extreme care be exercised when writing or speaking about technical concepts.  Here are two suggestions that will help you when you are writing or translating material that concerns technical concepts.

  • Always define technical terms using synonyms or words that the audience will understand.
  • Avoid using pseudo-technical language

There will always be times when you will need to include technical terms or translate technical terms in your writings.  Many times, these terms will be unfamiliar to your intended audience.  For instance, liver specialists have an extensive specialized vocabulary such as cirrhosis and primary biliary cirrhosis to discuss certain conditions of the liver related to advanced stages of hepatitis.

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Define Unfamiliar Words and Use Synonyms

As experienced Chicago French translators suggest, the irony of using technical terminology is that offers a convenient way to describe terms and conditions to other experts, it tends to prevent understanding and cause confusion for non-experts.  Therefore, a liver specialist needs to use specialized terminology among his peers and be able to define these terms to his patients who are unfamiliar with those terms.

Limit The Length Of Sentences For Better Comprehension

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Over the past three decades, a great amount of research has been conducted by Washington D.C. translation services workers, interpreters and professors of linguistics to uncover strategies that make writing more readable and oral presentations more understandable.  Among the topics researched most heavily are those that involve clarity and conciseness.  The major implications drawn from the research typically suggested that sentences should be short and writers should use words that are familiar to the target audience.   By following this advice, the content will be more easily understood by non-native speakers and it will also be easier to translate into foreign languages.  In the next few blog entries, St. Louis Spanish translation workers will focus on these recommendations that include limiting the length of sentences, making use of terminology that is widely known, cutting out unnecessary terms and incorporating action into sentences.

Restricting the Length of Sentences

Recently French translators in Baltimore discussed translation and evaluating sentence efficiency.  In their presentation they indicated that while translating they always try to evaluate sentences to determine if they can convey the same thought in the least amount of words possible.  Consider these two sentences:

  1. The power cord connected to the new computer isn’t long enough to reach the outlet.
  2. The new computer’s power cord is too short to reach the outlet.

Both sentences are short.  The first sentence contains 16 words and the second sentence contains 13 words. However, the second sentence conveys the same meaning with 3 fewer words.  Only 13 words are needed to communicate the information to the reader.

Examine the following sentence:

The magazine writers reported that the 2 door Honda Accord sedan provided a smooth ride.

This sentence contains 15 words, but can the same idea be conveyed using fewer words?

  • The 2-door Honda Accord offered a smooth ride to the magazine writers.
  • The 2-door Accord offered a smooth ride

While there are probably better ways to rewrite the original sentence, the two alternatives contain fewer words and provided the same information.  The alternatives were far better in communicating the thought.

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So when is a sentence too long?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question.  The answer really depends on how well the sentence is composed, received and understood by the intended audience.

Translating Numbers, Seasons, Holidays and Places

Holidays and Events

Many new Miami translation workers frequently make the mistake of not indicating the date when discussing a particular holiday.  As a result, there can be confusion when discussing holidays that are observed in various countries, share a common name, but take part on different dates.  A few common examples include Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

Numbers in Thousands

Similar to the use of a decimal, large numbers are also written differently across the world.  For example, a comma is used in the United States to separate the hundreds from the thousands place.  However, other countries either make use of a period or a comma.

Geographic Place Names

In nearly all cases, experienced Washington D.C. French translation workers should avoid the use of names that refer to places.  While most Americans know that “Sin City” refers to Las Vegas and that “The Big Apple” refers to New York, relatively few know that “Athens of the North” refers to Edinburgh or that “The Granite City” refers to Aberdeen, Scotland.  In the same respect, many people in the Middle East don’t know that Miami is often called “The Magic City” or “Little Cuba”.

Metric and Imperial Units of Measure

For the most part, the two main measurement systems include the Imperial and the Metric.  The United States is the last major economy that still makes wide us of the Imperial system.  For most translations, it is a wise idea to convert all measurements to the system used in the country of the target audience.  If the translation will be used in multiple countries where both systems are used, it is advisable to provide both measurements.  For instance, a manufacturer of hardware components might state the dimension of a screw as 5-inches (12.7 centimeters).

Seasons

When it is summer in the North America, it is winter in South America.  Because the seasons differ in timing based on location, the months of the year should always be used in place of the name of a season.

Translating Currencies, Dates and Decimals

Although you might think that rules for articulating data such as weights, measurements, time, dates, and locations would be rather important, they are frequently stated with limited commonality across borders and cultures and often lead to uncertainty and disbelief. People from other places will try to influence and shape your style of writing and speaking. Your understanding of various rules and measurements, and your desire to adjust to foreign cultures will enable you to diminish their endeavors. As a Chinese Houston translation worker, your employer might have specific rules concerning the way that data should be presented internationally. In the event it your company has specific rules, looking at currency symbols, dates and other items that are detailed in future blog posts might be advantageous in your own thinking about how to communicate with readers and listeners of cultures different from your own.

Currency Symbols

Types of currency range from the Angolan New Kwanza (AON) to the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK).  One San Francisco translation worker indicated that when you need to express a type of currency, you should always specify the type.  The place where you put the currency symbol, before the value or after the value, is also important because it can be different based on the country.

Dates

The recommended way to list dates is to spell it out instead of using a numerical equivalent because the ordering for the numeric format often varies throughout the world.  For example, in the United States, the date is generally expressed month, day year and in Japan, the date is expressed in a year, month and day format.

Decimals

The treatment of decimal places also varies by country and most spreadsheet applications are designed to accommodate the differences.  However, you need to check on the format that is familiar to your audience.  In the United States, it is customary to use a period to represent a decimal whereas most parts of Europe and South America used commas.

Why Businesses Must Produce Globally Neutral Brochures, Manuals, Letters And Other Communications

When companies enter into foreign markets they discover that they must produce communications that can be understood or easily translated into a variety of languages.  Even companies that only operate domestically are under pressure to adopt ethnically, culturally, and linguistically to satisfy the needs of their workforce.  The president of The Marketing Analysts Translations Company agrees and indicates that this is particularly true when you factor in that nearly 10 million U.S. immigrants were granted citizenship during the 1900’s.  In 2008, more than one million people were naturalized as U.S. citizens.  Of these immigrants, close to 20-percent were offered priority worker visas because they had exceptional abilities and skills strongly demanded by U.S. corporations.  A large portion of these immigrants had limited English speaking and writing skills and came from cultural backgrounds significantly different than those of the United States.

Similar migration patterns of people from Africa, India, Central America and Eastern Europe and the growth of global corporations have created similar situations in other parts of the world.  As a business executive, you will encounter situations when you must communicate with people of diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds too.  According to one Portuguese to English translator, a good translation agency will assist executives in developing presentations, manuals, brochures and other forms of communication that are globally oriented.  Globally oriented communications signify works that are culturally neutral.  This means that your documents will be prepared in a local language, and be understood by members of other cultures who have some grasp of the local language but have a different first language.  By developing neutral communication works, these documents can be readily translated into a variety of other languages.

While the task of producing neutral communications may sound simple to some, it is actually quite a challenging process for those who only know one language and one culture.  The process of creating neutral communication can also be a great challenge to those who are bilingual but have adopted strong linguistic and cultural practices.

Making Use Of Scientific Argument In Translation

A scientific argument draws on findings from research and observations to persuade or convince a group of people that a particular course of action is either right or wrong.   As a English to French translator in San Francisco , you should be cognizant of when the use of scientific argument is the nest course for persuading an audience.  Probably the best way to explain this is through an illustration of a management problem.

As a Houston Chinese translation worker, you have been hired by Procter & Gamble to work on a research team composed of their in-house marketing research professionals.  The purpose of the team is to determine whether or not it is feasible to open a new distribution facility in shanghai to handle its Pamper line of disposable diapers and baby wipes.  The leader of the research team has tasked you with gathering and analyzing data concerning about costs, expected delivery times to major customers, anticipated sales growth rates, new market entrants and so forth.  You write your report that summarizes a number of secondary Chinese publications and are careful not to allow any personal biasness to guide the interpretation of your findings and recommendations.  In your report, you cautiously and without emotion state  the data and findings that led to your conclusion that Procter & Gamble would benefit from a new distribution facility despite some new competitive threats that are emerging.  In your report, you spend an adequate amount of time addressing the pros and cons and supply details.  You are completely open with your team and the director because it isn’t your job to convince them to decide for or against a decision.  Any emotional bias or pressure at such a time might confuse the issue and lead to a bad decision.

Translating Features and Benefits For Persuasive Impact

Read the following description of the Asics GT-2160 shoe taken from the Athletic Footing Equipment, Inc., website:

Asics GT-2160 shoe features a mesh and synthetic leather upper that will wrap your foot in a soothing embrace, asymmetrical lace up front, soft inside lining creating a snug fit, ComforDry sockliner for a drier healthier environment, rubber outsole, and the Asics Gel Cushioning System that will absorb shock and help protect from harmful forces while running.

The following two columns list the features and benefits of the description:

Feature Benefits
Mesh and synthetic leather upper Provides comfort , ventilation and support
Lining and lace up front Offers snug fit
Sockliner Keeps feet drier
Rubber outsole with Asics Gel Absorbs shock and prevents injury
Facts Benefits
Mesh and synthetic leather upper Provides comfort , ventilation and support
Lining and lace up front Offers snug fit

Read the description with the benefits removed:

Asics GT-2160 shoe features a mesh and synthetic leather upper, asymmetrical lace up front, inside lining, sockliner, rubber outsole, and Gel Cushioning

Athletes and even some casual runners who are familiar with athletic shoes could even state their own benefits for each of the features concerning this shoe. However, Chicago Chinese translation workers who have less knowledge about Asics shows might fail to understand the benefits that each of these product features represent. In some cases, even professional athletes and experienced shoe sales representatives might require some explanation and the benefits will help to persuade them to buy or sell.

Persuasive writings such as the type presented in this example aren’t only used by manufacturers and marketing firms.  According to one NYC French Translation professional, they have come to be an important part of reports, e-mail messages, and other presentations.  Being able to explain the features as product benefits is where your value as a translator rests.

After reading this blog post, we encourage all certified translation providers to review their previous translations and other writings and conduct an analysis to determine if they have clearly defined the implications and conclusions.  If you didn’t then you may have failed to communicate your message effectively.  Keep in mind that sometimes, it’s important where you position them and in what order.  When the implications are cautions or when they are considered good news, you should make every attempt to state them early.  However, bad news implications should probably be placed later in document.

How Translators Should Use The Power Of Persuasion By Including Facts And Data

As content creators, writers and translators who are trying to include persuasion in our works, it’s important to keep in mind that the people who will be reading the material can be classified into groups.  They include those who have been persuaded, those who can be persuaded and those who cannot be persuaded.  Therefore, Washington D.C. Legal Translation providers suggest that we should be cautious about how we use persuasion to sway the group that can be persuaded and be delicate in how we address those who are already persuaded.  You will never be able to change the mindset of those who cannot be persuaded.  As far as those who are already persuaded, it might be enough to demonstrate why you are a reliable source of information and then make your emotional appeal.  For those who can be persuaded, you need to present proof and data to support your position.

In a commercial sales presentation, one sales representative might state a negative claim against the competition to persuade the key decision makers that the product they offer is inferior.  A Portuguese Miami translator  translator suggests that the back and forth debate might sound something like this:

• Brand X’s product lacks the software scalability to address your needs in six months.

• Brand Y’s product has one of the worst support teams in the world.

• Brand X’s product has a tendency to crash because it is new and hasn’t been adequately field tested.

On the other hand, a positive argument is one that reinforces the person making the claim with encouraging statements.

• The product line we represent has been field tested in thousands of installations.

• With the software that operates on our computers, you can expect efficiency gains of 20%.

It’s likely that there won’t be many members in your audience who will feel that you are trying to deceive them by offering incorrect data. More likely than not, Seattle French translation workers suggest that the facts won’t concern the audience as much as matters they relate to value, importance, and the possible fallout from making a bad decision. The largest part of your presentation should be devoted to clarifying the implications and meanings of the material you presented. In other words, as your audience takes in all of the information that you presented, they will want to know what it all means and why it is important to them.

Correctly Using and Translating Emotion

Throughout all cultures, the one single aspect of persuasion that causes people to become most suspicious is persuasion.  Most of us have learned from past experience that those making use of overly emotional appeals are often trying to pull the wool over our eyes.  As a result, most people have come to discard emotional appeals and instead seek out quantitative facts, non-biased opinions and other more rational data to make a decision.  One English to Spanish translator in Houston provided the following example about a salesperson trying to sell your business a $250,000 computer system and his entire presentation is based on emotional appeals.  In this case, your company expects hard facts to rationalize a purchase decision.  The salesperson will undoubtedly fail in his attempts.  Many of the decision makers in your company would probably think that the sales person was making a weak attempt to make us act against our better judgment.

The way emotion should be used is by focusing on the benefits that a given solution will offer individual decision makers or departments.  Here’s an example of an emotional appeal that would have been better:  You will leave work each day feeling more relaxed knowing that the new computer system has technology that prevents the data corruption issues and miscalculations that you have cost your firm millions of dollars in lost productivity and cancelled orders.

Here is a powerful example offered by a certified diploma translation worker with The Marketing Analysts that demonstrates how persuasion can be used in advertising to promote woman’s fashion.   Notice the use emotion-laden words in this a for a man’s leather vest: Team this vest with a turtleneck sweater or a Michael Kors Medium Jet Set Pebbled Shoulder Tote, and you have the definitive response with sheik defiance to a fall chill.

The word sheik entertains the the reader’s sense of arrogance, definitive builds upon her authority, and fall chill reminds us of a feeling we wish to avoid while looking beautiful.

It’s good for legal translation services workers to keep in mind, emotional appeals can be used in a wide variety of applications.  In fact, many political and research reports concerning groundwater pollution during the fracking process describes the increased rate of cancer and other illnesses and provide various measurements.  In an environmental report, the researchers are likely to include a table or chart that indicates growth in contaminants before and during the fracking procedure along with measures of the increase in reported illnesses and cancer rates.  This sort of data will be persuasive when environmental engineers and scientists read the report. If you are assembling and very rigid scientific or analytical topic, you might need to steer away from the use of emotional appeals.  However, for many reports, it is acceptable to use emotional appeals as long as they are used with subtlety and discretion.