English

Punctuation rules

PunctuationPunctuation

Every time we write, translate or correct a text, we use punctuation marks. The main idea of punctuation is to divide the text into information blocks, which at the same time serves to make the text easier to read and thereby understand.

Punctuation has always been a tricky part of learning a language, e.g. some languages use the grammatical comma, where the comma divides the main and the subordinate clause. In other languages there is no comma between the main and the subordinate clause. However, you can also find languages, which doesn’t use punctuation at all. This is seen in the Thai language, where the words are written in one continual line or in the rune language, where a space was used to indicate a new sentence.

Where to use what?

I’ve uploaded a table that shows, where you use the different punctuation symbols in a sentence: Proper-Punctuation (Source)

The English punctuation rules

If you want to get a deeper knowledge of the English punctuation and grammar rules you can have a look at this homepage. Here you get all the rules and there is even a test that you can take at the end of each topic.

The Danish punctuation rules

Back in 2004 Denmark changed its traditional grammatical punctuation (like the one we know from e.g. German) to a more flexible punctuation rule (like the English, Swedish and Norwegian). The Danish punctuation rules are set by Danske Sprognævn (the Danish language council) and can be found in Retskrivningsordbogen (the Danish spelling dictionary).

Where the old comma divided the main and the subordinate clauses, the new gives the writer an option to leave out the comma between the main and subordinate clauses.  Because the rules are many I suggest that you have a look in the newest edition of Retskrivningsordbogen. You can also get an overview here.

If you want to test your Danish comma skills you can do so here.

/Sembach

 

Copy writing

How to start…

I recently had to create text for two new homepages: Knau and Adelberg. I had a month to finish the project, which at first seemed to be plenty of time. Before I could get going on the actual writing, I had to do some research about the two brands and about white goods, to get the wordings and information right. Luckily I had the resources on hand to gather information from. Another important point to remember is finding a common thread in one’s work to make the text coherent and of cause to remember the target audience.

You always have to modify the text for the target audience. If you want to sell a product, for example a car, you must keep in mind: what is special about my car, who am I communication to, what does this  group have in common and what is important for X.

The writing process

When writing it is often a good idea to start out writing, without worrying to much about the content, just to get going. Afterwards you can become more critical and focused on the content. As I was creating text on basis of few headwords and some background information, I was bound to be creative. My first couple of attempts to create the text lacked flattering adjectives and volume. But after getting the skeleton in place, I started working on the smaller details and getting some volume in the text.

As the homepage consisted of more pages, this was an ongoing process. As well as making sure the pages didn’t overlap too much information.

The hard part was to create around 10 small similar texts describing fridges and refrigerators, so that the text differed.

The next step: Translation

After completing the text it had to be translated into English and German. Most of the text was easily translated, but you always have to take cultural differences into account. And pay attention to, how for instance a German would express him selves.

Again, remember to do research about the topic in the language you are translation into. You might know a lot in your own language, but maybe the target language has another way of expressing a certain mechanism. Plus it is always good to get the wordings right, which is best done by finding similar text.

It can also be recommended creating a corpus within the field of work. This way you have 5-10 text to compare and to get an idea, how the structure and wordings are.

Finishing up

After creating the text for one homepage in three languages I started all over on the second homepage. After doing the first homepage the second was easier to get started with. You just have to get into the way of thinking and the working process gets easier and you more efficient.

The last thing to do, before pronouncing it finished, is to proofread. It’s also recommendable to get another pair of eyes on you work, before making it public.

Of course there are more aspects to discuss, when doing copy writing and translation. Why I’ll try to get around it in the future. You are always welcome to leave a comment either about this post or if you have a good idea for a new post/topic.

/Sembach