Common pitfalls in English writing and translation:

 

Reading the answers in Yahoo Knowledge, I have noticed a pattern of some Taiwanese English writing style: redundancy and wordiness.  This happens not only to people with poor English ability, but to people with good English skill.

 

To excel in English writing, it is important to eliminate redundancy and wordiness.  Keep in mind, short and sweet, to the point.  Sometimes when you try to introduce complexity to sentences, you end up creating a negative-effect with redundancy and wordiness.    

 

Here are some examples:

 

(1) We can drink water without taking any food for three days and survive.
That's why we have to treasure the water resources, because we just can’t live without it.

 

Corrections => We can survive without food for three days but not without water. That's why we have to conserve water resources.

 

(2) 請先預付30%的訂金.  請於出口前付清70%的餘額

 

Please effect the down payment up to 30% of the full amount.  Please clear up the remaining outstanding for 70% before our delivery.


Corrections => Please prepay 30% deposit and square up the remaining balance before delivery.

 

This link points out "bugs" in English writing and ways to exterminate them.

http://www.camlang.com/sp011.htm

 

Overall,

Choose simple not fancy words:

Pay a visit to = Visit

Recognize the fact that = Acknowledge

 

Use one word instead of two if both words mean the same:

Final outcome => Outcome

Postpone until later => Postpone

 

Stay short and sweet, to the point:

In Taiwan , we sometimes lack of water for the water has too much dirt in it. This is because the typhoon brings a lot of rain and mud that the reservoir couldn't afford.  That makes the filter bed couldn’t make the water clean.

 

Corrections => In Taiwan, water supply is sometimes short due to mud from heavy rains, brought by typhoon.  This creates filtering problems for the reservoirs.

 

Always use active voice when possible:

My purse was stolen by a thief last night => A thief stole my purse last night.

 

Use accurate tense and voice:

We are specialized in manufacturing tools that are highly precised => We specialize in manufacturing high precision tools.

 

See more details from this handbook about writing papers. http://www.smith.edu/jacobsoncenter/writing/writingpapers/writingpapers.pdf

 

 

** Disclaimer:  The above examples are used for demonstration purpose only.    

 

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