Considering Tone, Style and Audience in Website Translation Services
by Chad Richardson
You may think that website translation services aren’t really all that different from other types of translation services. But the fact is that each medium has its own specifications. Writing for newspapers is different from writing for magazines. And writing for the internet is different from writing for print. This is why it’s necessary for someone translating websites to understand how one writes for this medium. Here are some of the things a website translator needs to consider:
When you write for the internet, you have to adopt a conversational tone. Most people who are browsing the internet don’t want to read something full of jargon. They want something simple and easy to digest. So when a translator is translating a website, they need to make sure that it sounds conversational in the destination language, just as it does in the source language.
Short Sentences and Paragraphs
A part of the conversational tone mentioned above is that sentences can’t be too long. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use complex sentences at all but just that the sentences shouldn’t go above two clauses. If your sentence is 4-5 lines long, then it’s too long.
The same goes for paragraphs. Some people prefer really short paragraphs consisting of only 2-3 sentences. Even if you don’t go this short, you do still need to keep them to 5-6 lines. A 10-line paragraph comes across as too dense for someone to read on the internet.
This is something a translator needs to keep in mind. Sometimes, you need more words to translate something that you did to write it originally, in which case it’s best if the writing is split up into more paragraphs.
The audience that one is writing for is important in any kind of writing. If you’re writing for teens, you might use slang that they are familiar with. In this case, the translator will have to come up with equivalent words in the destination language. The same goes for technical translation aimed at a certain specialized group of people.
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