When performing translations, writing skills are a key differentiator. A key skill is making accurate word choices; however, many translators tend to use common words instead of selecting words that reflect a more meaningful sense of the text.
As a translator, your word choices can make or break your translation’s effectiveness. A broader vocabulary gives you more options to translate tricky texts and more credibility as a translator. When you expand your vocabulary, you invest in your career and instead of relying on worn out words, more fabulous choices can brighten your translation.
Following is a list of overused words along with some alternatives:
The word “angry” is far too general: A wife can be angry at her husband, you can be angry at your boss, and so on.
But from your source text, what can you extract? Is the person just angry, or is he annoyed, bitter, cross, displeased, enraged, fuming, furious, heated, incensed, indignant, infuriated, irate, irritated, livid, offended, outraged, resentful, riled, or just uptight?
This is an overused word. There are so many beautiful scenes, beautiful people, beautiful towns, or beautiful countries.
Or was the beautiful thing more exactly alluring, appealing, bewitching, charming, dazzling, delightful, elegant, exquisite, gorgeous, graceful, lovely, magnificent, marvelous, pleasing, radiant, stunning, or sublime?
How can we express big in other ways?
You can use humongous, enormous, gigantic, huge, vast star-speckled, in addition to colossal, considerable, extensive, hefty, mammoth, massive, monster, sizable, substantial, tremendous, immense, and gargantuan.
Is something ‘funny’ or is it more accurately a knee-slapper, amusing, clever, entertaining, good-humored, hilarious, laughable, ridiculous, silly, whimsical, or witty, or just funny?
Good deals, good people, good things, good lives, good movies, good songs, good books, and good food abound in writing today.
But try alternatives like decent, excellent, fantastic, first-rate, marvelous, outstanding, superb, superior, terrific, valuable, and worthwhile.
This is one of the safest words in English, but it doesn’t really tell us much about how something is perceived, or which precise meaning the author intended.
Words such as alluring, amusing, arresting, attractive, captivating, compelling, curious, delightful, enchanting, engaging, enthralling, entrancing, exotic, fascinating, gripping, impressive, intriguing, pleasing, provocative, refreshing, stimulating, striking, and thought-provoking can tell us much more what a writer seeks to convey about an action, event, person, comment, clue, or sound.
Can you think of other overused words and the alternatives?