In “How Global Is Your English: 8 Ways to Keep It Simple and Save Big”, Marcia Riefer Johnston explains how following certain guidelines when writing in English can help a company save thousands or even millions of dollars in translation costs.
The idea is that when writing content for a global audience, adhering to Global English guidelines optimizes it for translation while also benefiting native readers. Global English is similar to plain English, except that it focuses specifically on creating content that is going to be translated. Global English is not overly simplified language, but rather focuses on decreasing ambiguity in written content. Everyone from translators to subject-matter experts to native readers can benefit from Global English.
The major guidelines of Global English include keeping the majority of sentences under 30 words, avoiding slashes (/), and using fewer nouns. In addition, always include all important information or, in other words, never assume a reader will be able to “figure it out”. Articles and other determiners such as “a”, “an”, “the”, and “that” should be kept in the content and pronouns should be given clear antecedents. The guidelines advise converting passive voice to an active voice as well as avoiding incomplete sentences in bullet points.
All of these suggestions aim to make global content cleaner and more meaningful, decreasing the amount of information that gets lost in translation.
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