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May 25, 2007


Andrew Galbraith

This is a very relevant post for me, as I deal with a lot of press releases that have been translated from Chinese. Chinese-language releases are filled with quotes from bigwigs who are excited about a product or event. It's a cultural issue as much as a linguistic one, and I often find myself leaving the quotes in, despite my own misgivings. Am I right to assume that consistency between translations trumps style?

Dan Santow

I'm not really sure what you're asking - when translating should you change a stupid quote to a smart one? Probably not unless you have made some arrangement in advance. (I'm not familiar enough with the culture in which you work to respond with any definity.)

Andrew Galbraith

Re-reading my question, I'm not entirely sure what I was asking either! It was a long day.

I think the basic issue is that the English translations I deal with are often used for internal approval, and are not widely distributed. There is a temptation in these cases to translate in such a way that the essential meaning of the release is kept, but the style (including use of quotes) conforms to English-language press release norms. Like all translation, it can be a tricky balancing act!

Craig Johnson

I was looking for the words to the Pointer Sister's song and hence 'googled my way to your sight.
A local bank, "Berkshire Bank" Pittsfield, Mass, has a complete ad campaign based on this song, tv and radio both.
They even have plate size plastic whack-a-button doohickies at teller stations that play an exuberant snippet of the song.
!!! This campaign, which is the global antithesis of your advice, is enormously 'catching' and successful.!!!
--cognitorex blogspot com--

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Why "Word Wise"?

  • When I started to e-mail out a weekly writing tip to my Chicago colleagues at Edelman in 2002, little did I know how quickly how many people outside my office would start to request it. But word spread, as word is wont to do, and in 2006 the e-mail evolved into this blog. The tips, which are about grammar, usage and style, have a dual purpose – to remind my colleagues in PR of the power of the written word and, more generally, to support and perpetuate clear, concise, creative, honest, lively, stylish, compelling writing everywhere. In 2009 I started to add commentary about and links to stories and other blog posts related to the media, marketing, writing and, sometimes, just interesting stuff. For some reason, I also started Twittering (at SantowDan).