🎉 We have launched our new WordPress plug-in! Download now

Translating across cultures: Formal or informal writing?

When translating a text from one language to another, one of the things the translator must consider is the degree of formality of the original text. In some cases, the original text may be quite formal, in others more informal. Depending on the audience for which the translated text is intended, the translator must sometimes adjust the level of formality in the translation. In the Netherlands, it is common to write informally, while in Germany formal writing is more common.

For the original site

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether to write formally or informally in your text.

First, consider who your audience is. If you are writing for a general audience, then you can probably get away with more informal language. However, if you are writing for a specific audience, such as a professional or academic audience, then you will need to use more formal language.

Second, consider the purpose of your writing. If you are writing something intended to be read by a wide audience, then you need to make sure your language is clear and easy to understand. However, if you are writing something intended for a specific audience, then you can use more specialized or technical language.

For the translation

Consider the culture of your audience. In some cultures, formal language is the norm; informal language is more common. You will need to use the appropriate level of formality for your audience. Translation between cultures can be challenging, especially when it comes to writing formally or informally. In the Netherlands it is common to write informally, while in Germany formal writing is more common.

Examples

The following sentences are written in an informal style.

1. Man, I'm hungry! I'm going to get something to eat and then call you back.

2. We have to finish this before we can go anywhere.

3. When writing papers for class, remember to use a more formal style than when talking to your friends.

4. Let me know if you need help.

5. You're wrong! I paid twenty-five dollars for that!

The following sentences are written in a formal style.

1. I'd rather you turn down the television.

2. According to an eyewitness, the event took place at about three in the afternoon.

3. The project must be completed by the end of the week.

4. Are you available to attend the meeting tomorrow?

5. Students must report immediately upon entering their classrooms.

6. Participants are invited to choose the item of their choice.

 

Conclusion and Tips

Determine the purpose of your text and the audience for which it is intended.

it is important to determine whether you should write informally or formally. For example, if you are writing a letter to a friend, informal is more appropriate than if you are writing an official document for an employer.

Use the right tone.

Informal writing can be friendly and relaxed, while formal writing is formal and professional. Try to adapt the tone of your writing to the purpose and audience for which it is intended.

Use the right choice of words.

In informal writing, it is common to use short and simple words, while formal writing requires more formal and complex words. Try to choose the words that best fit the tone and purpose of your text.

Use proper sentence structure.

In informal writing, it is common to use short and simple sentences, while formal writing requires more complex sentences. Try to construct sentences in a way that best suits the tone and purpose of your text.

Use proper punctuation.

In informal writing, it is common to use less formal punctuation, such as abbreviations and exclamation points, while formal writing requires more formal punctuation, such as commas and periods. Try to use the punctuation that best suits the tone and purpose of your text.

In general, it is important to consider the purpose and audience for which you are writing, and to use proper tone, word choice, sentence structure and punctuation. If you follow these concerns, your text will come across well to your readers and they will understand what you are trying to say.

Still have questions?

If so, please fill out the form below.

Related blogs: