Your English is Your Face to the World. How Do You Look?

The Earth is getting smaller. The internet has shrunk the entire planet down to the size of your computer screen. Businesses all over the world are going global, and, as the title of this blog says, English is the international language of business.

Whatever the language of its home country, a company that wants to attract customers beyond the limitations of geography must use an English version of its website to inform, promote, convince, and sell. But there can be a huge difference between English written by native speakers and the English written by people who use it as a second language. I have nothing but admiration for people who master a second language. It takes years of dedication. But no matter how much effort one puts into learning English, it is the rare person indeed who can write it like someone born to the task.

Companies who want to sell to English-speaking customers need to pay close attention to the quality of writing that appears on websites, in brochures, and in product literature. Language, skillfully used, has the power to make a connection between writer and reader. That’s a valuable asset in marketing. Well organized, error-free text, written in a pleasing style, will make potential clients feel well informed, comfortable, and confident – and more likely to buy.

But the opposite is also true. Text that is difficult to understand, or that contains distracting mistakes, will fail to connect with native English speakers. They’ll notice the flaws, such as misspellings and improperly used idioms, and their attention will be shifted away from your message. Most people will only give a website a short time before moving on. If understanding the text requires too much work, people will leave. Every time someone stops reading your site because of poor-quality writing, you’ve lost a potential customer.

Let’s look at some examples. The following are excerpts borrowed from the English versions of websites put up by companies outside the U.S. In these case studies, the first version is verbatim, the second version merely corrects errors and phrasing, and the final version is the transformation into a style that is designed to make a connection with English-speaking readers.

BEFORE (as written)
Talented people are our treasure
Producing the first-class brands and satisfying our customers are made only possible by people. If our employees are not capable to make such products or if they have no will to do so, not only such goal cannot be achieved at all, but also there can be no room for promise, growth and development. Therefore, management always need to remind itself that employees of XYZ with capable and enthusiasm are the asset of XYZ, and should always support development of employees’ ability and to inspire their enthusiasm.

AFTER (correction of errors and phrasing only)
Talented people are our greatest asset
Achievement of our primary goals – producing first-class products and satisfying our customers – is only made possible by our employees. If our people are not capable of making fine products, or if they haven’t the will to do so, then not only will XYZ fall short of our goals, but there will be no hope of growth and development. Management must always remember that capable and enthusiastic employees are our greatest asset, and must always support further development of their abilities and inspire their enthusiasm.

BEST (effective text for English readers)
Talented people are our greatest asset
Our talented employees make it all possible. They are the reason we can achieve our primary goals: to produce first class products and to satisfy our customers. Our people have the capability and the will to keep us on the right track and to ensure our continued growth and development. Management never loses sight of the vital contribution our employees make to our success. We work hard to inspire their enthusiasm and to support them in meeting the exciting new challenges they face every day.

Here’s another example:

BEFORE (as written)
Without using any chemical agent or tooth pest just water treated brush will eliminate all harmful bacteria inside mouth which cause bad odor, gingivitis, different type of gum desease, infections etc, ,
No need any kind of tooth paste, ,
Good for health, specially good for chemical sensitive person also good for enviorment, ,
Our product has been tested and certified by dentist but dentists do not want to see the brush on the market, , simple reason, less dental patients to treat, ,
We have a live salaiva test video under microscope to satisfy all of our skeptical customers,

AFTER (correction of errors and phrasing only)
Without using any chemical agent or toothpaste, just adding water to our treated brush will eliminate all harmful bacteria which cause odors, gingivitis, gum diseases, infections, etc.
There’s no need for toothpaste.
Good for your health – especially for chemical-sensitive people. Also good for the environment.
Our product has been tested and certified by dentists. But dentists don’t want to see this brush on the market because they’ll have fewer patients to treat.
We have a live saliva test video showing microscopic proof that will satisfy all our skeptical customers.

BEST (effective text for English readers)
Throw your toothpaste away! Just add water to our Magic Brush toothbrush, and eliminate all harmful bacteria which cause mouth odors, gingivitis, gum disease, and infections. People who are sensitive to chemicals will love this toothbrush. It’s good for your health, and the health of the environment too.

Our product has been tested and certified by dentists. But dentists don’t want to see this product on the market because they’ll have fewer patients to treat.

Are you skeptical? Let us send you our saliva test video showing microscopic proof.

Many people can learn to take text from the first stage to the second. Very few can create the third stage, but this is what companies should strive for. When someone translates from a language that is structured differently from English, the resulting version may still sound “foreign.” If you or your in-house people aren’t capable of producing natural sounding, effective English writing, then get help from somebody who is. It’s a worthy investment.

The type of transformation illustrated above is what I do professionally, and what I promote as part of my philosophy regarding the importance of good writing. Let the text on your website or brochures carry your reader along the path you set for him, and keep him on track. Good writing has the power to do that, and more. It has the power to convince, and to encourage action. And in this case, the translation of ACTION is SALES.

*****

Could your business use my services?

Visit my website at www.jlrco.com or e-mail me at rose@jlrco.com.

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13 Comments

  1. What an interesting contribution! I am not sure that English is as widespread or useful as people claim. I would like to argue the case for Esperanto as the international language. Esperanto is a planned language which belongs to no one country or group of states. Take a look at http://www.esperanto.net

    It does not aim to take the place of English, you’ll be relieved to know!

  2. Mrs. would you mind to help me. I am a student University and know I need the title for my thesis, please give me the title for me…

  3. this is my email aikhkmt@ymail.com (Iip)

  4. Hello Iip,
    I can’t give you a title for your thesis. You haven’t told me what the subject is. But even if I knew the subject, creating a title is part of the work of writing the thesis. If you are not sure what may be a proper title, look up the titles of other theses in the same subject area as yours. Notice how they are expressed and formatted. That may provide a guide for you. I’d recommend talking with your professor if you need more help.
    Judy

  5. hm.. informative :)

  6. Ma’m,

    Thanks a lot though I have to read it again and again to acquire strength for passing any comment.

    However, I’m looking forward for further help as i’m trying to acquire knowledge for drafting, be it legal or general.

    Whatsoever, please accept my hearfelt thanks for the job you have posted in the web upto this much.

    Looking forward for a befitting reply which will encourage me in the time to come.

    Thanks,

    Amit

  7. […] useful resources Ten Practical Tips For Writing in English Your English Is Your Face To The World English Grammar- An […]

  8. Interesting post! I really like your ideas and the way you presented them. English is really an international language, and one’s level of English says a lot about this person in the modern world

  9. I think that you made a good point about the english wirtten lanuage but

  10. Nice post. Very professional..

  11. Very cool post. My nephew is in 2nd grade and the stuff he’s learning already is just rediculous! But kids need to learn all the writing and reading they can. Its suprising how many people cant even read.

  12. I like your articles very much.you have a quite exceptional view.
    Thanks for being here and being so awesome! Don`t stop, keep on.
    So finally This article is very good. I got many unknown information from this article. Thanks for this great article.

  13. I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and have my friends check up here often. I am sure they will learn lots of new things here than anybody else!


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