Writing, by Oliver Lawrence




If your writing is worthy of that description, then you have a very marketable skill. You can convey information, save readers’ time, help create wealth, and even spread a little happiness. Good writing is a pleasure to read, a pleasure to create, and a vital tool for translation professionals who are serious about facilitating communication across cultures. Merely translating the words is not enough. We need to find language that articulates the meaning, the full meaning and nothing but the meaning in a transparent way that really resonates with the reader.

It’s a skill we can all cultivate.

In the eCPD Clear Writing course, one thing we’ll be doing is looking at a whole spectrum of text snippets and talking about techniques for making them clearer.

Like this one, for example (not in the course):

The most original trait of the collection of essays is its multi-layered, system approach. Through the various chapters and the sections, the majority of the markets and countries where the premium drama has become a pertinent element over the last ten years are explicitly addressed, both at what might be accurately described as a macro level (mapping the European scenario and establishing connections between nations and regions) and at a micro level, too (focusing on the single national media systems, its principal actors, its most important texts). If the first chapters present the result of an original research project on the comprehensive dissemination of premium dramas all over the continent of Europe, then the subsequent sections address the Uk, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and some very important (and often under-looked and long neglected) nodes in Eastern and Central Europe.

Is that good enough from a professional writer? How can we make it better?

Well, we can cut that 73-word sentence down to size. We can trim some of the padding (“might be accurately described as” can go, and there are neater ways to say “over the last ten years”). And we can find some plainer, more accessible expressions than “comprehensive dissemination” and “explicitly addressed”. That passive isn’t adding any value, and we can make the rhythm a bit tighter, too.

So how about this instead:

This volume’s most original feature is its multi-layered, systemic approach. The various essays spotlight the main markets and countries where premium drama has emerged since 2009. The analysis operates on both a macro level (mapping the European scene and establishing links between nations and regions) and a micro level (probing the media arenas in individual countries, their key texts and major players). The first few chapters present an original study of premium drama’s march across the continent, while later sections discuss Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the UK. Some vital Central and Eastern European hubs also receive long-overdue attention.

And that’s just for starters. How else would you improve it?

If you fancy spending 3 hours like this working on practical means of slimming and toning your writing – with some consultancy from yours truly on a piece of your own prose as an optional extra – why not mosey on down to the next edition of the Clear Writing course?

It’s coming soon to a computer near you.


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