Throughout my career as a translator and language trainer, I have seen the same issues keep reoccurring time and time again. One particular issue when non-natives write in English is that they tend to over complicate their writing. We all want to express ourselves as eloquently and sophisticatedly in another language as in our own. This in itself can be a very tall order. We often tell children to walk before they can run, and this is the same when learning, improving in and mastering a foreign language.
When we approach a new language and as we begin to communicate more in it, we have to remember that not only are the words the foreign language uses different, the way the native speaker of that language thinks and expresses themselves is also different. For example, in Spanish (and in a number of Romance languages) sentences tend to be far longer, with fewer punctuation breaks. An entire paragraph may contain one or two sentences in total. This is totally different from English (and many Germanic languages, which tend to be far more economical).
Spanish is often more ‘flowery’, that is to say longer sentences with more words used to express the core idea behind each sentence. However, in English sentences are shorter, more concise and have their core idea expressed briefly. This divergent style between the two languages can cause the non-native speaker problems when it comes to putting pen to paper. When it comes to expressing yourself, specially in a business setting, it can often be better to do so in the most concise way possible- this is certainly the case certainly in English!
This is where a good kiss can come in handy…
“KISS” stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid!” This is a basic rule we should all remember when we write something for a business audience- be it in our own language or in a foreign language. Remember why you are writing and more importantly for whom. Nobody likes their lives to be complicated and your reader is no different. Make life easy for them- do this by writing concisely, clearly and with confidence!
Do you agree that we should always keep our writing simple, or maybe you think another approach can be taken to business writing? Share your thoughts in the comments section!