How to write simply and easily for easy translation #소통 #언어 #疏通

I’ve written many times about breaking down language barriers and getting English speakers and non-English speakers to sit down and talk together.
I hope that non-English speakers, especially the shy ones, don’t give up trying to communicate.
I also hope that English-speaking users will be more considerate of users who are unfamiliar with or intimidated by English.
So I’d post some thoughts on how to use translations to make your writing more communicative.

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Use short sentences.

Even if your entire post is a bit longer, it’s best to keep each sentence short.

Write common, plain and easy expressions.

Imagine you’re talking to a child or someone who hasn’t had the benefit of an education.

Avoid slang, abbreviations, and proverbs.

If you feel compelled to use an analogy to illustrate what you’re trying to say, be sure to explain what you mean for those who can understand it.

It may be better to use common words rather than idioms.

This is especially true for those who have learned a stereotypical foreign language. E.g. put one’s feet up → rest

Sometimes it’s better to be dull and dated expression than fresh and new expression.

This is especially true for people who have learned a foreign language in an unconventional way.

If you feel that it is particularly difficult to explain, one way is to explain it again, changing the expression.

If you’re having trouble explaining something, try using an example.

However, keep in mind that while examples can seem clear, they also run the risk of driving the point in one direction, and the wrong example can make the problem more complicated.

Sometimes, even emojis can be misleading.

On the one hand, facial expressions and gestures are clear, but on the other hand, they are rooted in culture and can be easily misunderstood. (Gestures are similar in speech).

On the flip side, if you see a phrase in the other person’s writing that doesn’t make sense, don’t assume it and ask for clarification.

Machine translation is machine translation, after all, and even with a human interpreter, it’s not easy to translate the essence of one culture into another. It’s always worth checking to make sure you’re not getting the wrong translation and misunderstanding the meaning.


I like this suggestion. Discourse makes it so easy to include a screenshot or photo. On the mailing lists, I have to use many more words to describe the same thing.

If you ever suspect that you’re getting a poor translation, try comparing it to another machine translation service, because every service has its strengths and weaknesses. This forum’s translation button uses Microsoft Translator, but you can also use Google Translate and DeepL.

For me, Microsoft translates text into Vietnamese very literally, word for word, so I have to translate it back to English in my head before I can understand it at all. Others have also noticed this when translating German to English using the built-in button. Unfortunately, avoiding idioms can’t prevent this from happening. Even very basic English grammar can confuse Microsoft Translator.

I don’t mean to pick on you, but just to demonstrate my point:


Đôi khi nó tốt hơn để buồn tẻ và ngày tháng hơn là tươi và mới.

(Sometimes it betters itself in order to be dull, and a date is more than being fresh and new.)


I get the best results when I use ChatGPT to translate something for me, because it actually “understands” the meaning and can even rephrase things into simple English.

Not all Asians can be generalized as shy. While there are cultural variations, it’s important to recognize that shyness is a personal characteristic. Reserved demeanour is very common, though.

Or putting it into more simple English (thanks, ChatGPT):

Not everyone from Asia is shy. People have different personalities, even within their cultures. Shyness is something personal that varies from person to person. However, it is quite common to see a reserved behaviour in many Asian cultures.

And for you English speakers:

  • Don’t use slang!
  • Don’t use idoms!
  • Write simple sentence. Like you talked to a 5 year old.

(Advices from a non-English speaker).


Beste Zusammenfassung, kurz und verständlich!

Hinweis: das sollte für alle (!) Sprachen gelten, insbesondere in den internationalen Foren. Dann wird es für jeden einfacher. Dann kann jeder seine eigene bevorzugte Sprache verwenden (mit der Einschränkung dass diese mit dem Microsoft Translator übersetzbar ist).

Solche Regeln nur für Englisch Sprechende sind irgendwie auch wieder diskriminierend.


I agree and sympathize.

And most importantly, it’s NOT a “rule” and it’s NOT “agreed upon”.
It’s just a ‘wish’ and a ‘recommendation’. :wink: