Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lost In Translation

I have in-laws in a foreign country. They've discovered that having an educated native English-speaking family member is quite handy at times. Right now I and my wife are trying to translate an Australian mental health booklet, for one of them's graduate studies. The writing is hideous academic prose--long, constipated compound sentences, hedged with qualifiers, sandbagged with redundant adjectives, and festooned with buzzwords and jargon and other signifiers of faux precision. Ugh! Our nerves are rubbing raw, as I struggle to reduce the thickets of academicese into a trim lawn of plain English, so she can bash it into the other language. It's almost as bad as when I taught her to drive, years ago.

Eschew Obfuscatory Verbiage, I always say.

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