Editing Your Translations: Size Matters

Syllabus Translation MontrealPart 1 – Getting rid of “of”

Ever notice that English texts are almost always shorter than their French equivalents?

That’s because English is generally a concise language, especially compared to French. It’s good to keep this in mind when translating. The length of your final text can be a good indication of how much editing is needed. Basically, when you’re translating from French into English and the target is as long as the source, you’ve probably clung too closely to the original.

There are a couple things you can look for to clean up your English translations.

Step 1: Hunt for any unnecessary—and unnatural—uses of “of.” Here’s how.

Get descriptive. Use an adjective.

  • The living spaces of the residents have air conditioning.
  • Better: The residential spaces have air conditioning.
  • Frank is the newest member of the board.
  • Better: Frank is the newest board member.

Get possessive. Use an apostrophe.

  • The mission statement of the company was updated in 1999.
  • Better: The company’s mission statement was updated in 1999.
  • Traffic flow and parking were the primary concerns of residents.
  • Better: Traffic flow and parking were the residents’ primary concerns.

Get active. Use a verb.

  • The second phase includes the renovation of the building.
  • Better: The second phase includes renovating the building.
  • The organization of a fundraising campaign is in the plans.
  • Better: We plan to organize a fundraising campaign.

Stay tuned for more easy tips on how to cut your translations down to size!



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