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April 26, 2018

Why Simplicity Can Be Better Than Complexity in Translation

by Chad Richardson

Languages are interesting things. They help us to convey what we want to tell the other person. This can be an instruction (do this, do that) or an opinion (I think this or that). We can use language to share things that meant something to us (I felt good or bad, I found this funny). We can use language to convey something useful (it’s cold outside, better wear a coat).

Using Language for Persuasion

Language can be used for so many purposes but very often, we use language to persuade, as in the case of advertising. We use language to convince others to come over to our point of view. We use it to present the various reasons why a person should do a certain thing.

The Potency of Arguments Can Be Lost in Translation

Unfortunately, a lot of arguments or critiques lose their potency when they are translated. Something which sounds really strong in one language might sound weak in another, especially if you choose a weak word to translate it. As a result, the language you’re using may fail to persuade your audience.

When Simplicity Is More Effective Than Complexity

When translating, you should remember that the aim is not merely to use bigger words or more complex sentence structures. There are times when very simple language has more of an effect.

For example, consider the Nike logo, “Just do it.” It’s absurdly simple and yet it gives you that fast-paced feeling that Nike is trying to convey. In the same sentence, you get several ideas, like “Don’t worry about things. Cast your worries aside and go for what you want.”

How Does It Sound? Is It Memorable?

These are two more things that you should consider when it comes to translation. “Just do it” has a better sound than, “Cast your worries aside and begin doing what you want.” And, being short, it’s also more memorable. It has more punch, more speed, and more impact. You want its translation to also have these qualities.

Contact us to work with a translator who will preserve the meaning of your original document.

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