Contractions: translating book
Thread poster: Sergio Betini

Sergio Betini
Local time: 15:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apr 11, 2010

Hi there!
I am just about to translate a book on time management, and would like to know if I can use contractions on it.

Take the introduction, as an example:

"Time is money, this you’ve heard it before."
Is the usage of "you've heard" acceptable or should I used "you have heard"?

Since the Introduction is not "too formal", would it be ok to use contractions on the Introduction and not for the rest of the book?

It is PORTUGUESE > ENGLISH translation.

Tks!


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:48
French to English
+ ...
Contractions are fine Apr 11, 2010

Contractions are generally used quite frequently even in factual works where you want to give the impression of "speaking naturally" to the reader. Because they sound more natural, they can give the impression that you're being straightforward and sincere with the reader. I would say use contractions unless you've a particular reason not to.

(There *are* obviously other styles of writing, e.g. an academic paper, where it would be less common to use contractions.)


 

patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 11:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree...contractions are fine Apr 11, 2010

for this kind of writing. I note that your language pair is English to Portuguese and this is a translation from Portuguese to English. Without getting into a discussion about whether we should be translating into a non-native language, please take care not to repeat the subject. It's a common mistake for non-native speakers. In your example, "this you've heard it before", 'it' is redundant and (IMHO) is a clear sign that the text is translated.
Options are:
"you've heard this/it before"
"this you've heard before"
but you shouldn't use "this" and "it".

Good luck with the book!


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 18:48
German to Serbian
+ ...
Depends on the vocal tone Apr 11, 2010

.. also context, rhythm, the character that speaks it ( or is it a narrator?)

What's the general feel/ tone of this character? This will help you decide what to use in that particular instance.


 

Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:48
German to English
+ ...
Other problems Apr 11, 2010

I'm afraid the question of whether to use contractions or not is the least of your worries icon_smile.gif

sbetini wrote:

Hi there!
I am just about to translate a book on time management, and would like to know if I can use contractions on it.

Take the introduction, as an example:

"Time is money, this you’ve heard it before."
Is the usage of "you've heard" acceptable or should I used "you have heard"?

Since the Introduction is not "too formal", would it be ok to use contractions on the Introduction and not for the rest of the book?

It is PORTUGUESE > ENGLISH translation.

Tks!


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:48
German to Spanish
+ ...
Contractions: translating book Apr 11, 2010

sbetini wrote:

Hi there!
I am just about to translate a book on time management, and would like to know if I can use contractions on it.

Take the introduction, as an example:

"Time is money, this you’ve heard it before."
Is the usage of "you've heard" acceptable or should I used "you have heard"?

Since the Introduction is not "too formal", would it be ok to use contractions on the Introduction and not for the rest of the book?

It is PORTUGUESE > ENGLISH translation.

Tks!


I am sorry, but I do not agree to my colleagues who say that to use contractions is fine. Imho, in a professional book (and I suppose a book that deals with time management is one of these) no contractions should be used.


 

Grayson Morr (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:48
Dutch to English
Yes, unless it's a very formal text Apr 12, 2010

To avoid every possible contraction will make a text sound very formal, even stilted. So my rule of thumb is to use contractions wherever I stumble, really stumble, over the non-contracted form when I read back through the translated text.

On the other hand, too many contractions will make a book seem too cutesy or trite, so don't use them everywhere.


 

Sergio Betini
Local time: 15:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 12, 2010

Thanks to all who took their time to comment!
You guys are great!


 


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Contractions: translating book

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