Shorter Sentences Video Thumbnail Image

“The integrated end-to-end suite provides shared services that include multiple levels of security, a repository for storing and organizing your resources, a semantic layer that greatly simplifies creating reports, a report scheduler, distribution of information, and many more features.”

“Featuring a native Eclipse UI, first-class REST support, and Java developer tooling alongside the zero-code model driven development, typical of TIBCO’s integration solutions, TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks Express enables the fastest time to market for web and mobile application integration.”

“Persons or businesses that do not maintain a place of business within the state but voluntarily or by law collect tax on sales into California or businesses with sales personnel with no fixed business address can apply for a Certificate of Registration – Use Tax by registering online.”

“It focuses on tutoring journalists in the skills needed to cover important news involving science and building the capacity of media professionals in many countries “to undertake engaging, incisive, accurate, impartial, high quality science journalism.”

If these sentences leave you scratching your head, I don’t blame you. I find them equally confusing. Now, imagine that you are an average American who has a 6th or 8th grade reading level. Or, imagine that you are tasked with translating these sentences into four, six, eight, or even twenty-four different languages. Let’s take it a step further – You are tasked with translating these sentences using machine translation.

What a mess.

There are many things you can do to improve the quality of your writing. However, one technique stands out. And it is the easiest of them all:

Write shorter sentences.

Keep your sentences as short as possible. As a rule of thumb, try to keep sentences to no more than 26 words. If you are using machine translation, sentences should have less than 24 words. The fewer words, the better.

If you are a grammar nerd like me, and you like a good challenge, check out Marcia Riefer Johnston’s new challenge, “Tighten This!” Each week, Marcia posts a sentence. The challenge is to remove as many words as possible and rewrite the sentence so it has the same meaning. Why not give it a go? Just click here.

And if you need help with shorter sentences and other content optimization techniques, contact us. At Content Rules, we use state-of-the-art software and specially-trained editors to help companies make their content easier to read and cheaper to translate.

 

 

Val Swisher

Val Swisher is the CEO of Content Rules. She is a well-known expert in global content strategy, content development, and terminology management. Using her 20 years of experience, Val helps companies solve complex content problems by analyzing their content and how it is created.

When not blogging, Val can be found sitting behind her sewing machine working on her latest quilt. She also makes a mean hummus.