For budget reasons as well as for expertise, companies may hire marketing writers, technical writers, SEO specialists, and others who speak and write English as a second language. As someone who understands only one language–English–I am in awe of those who communicate in several languages. But writing English as a second language is difficult.
One of the services offered by my company, TWP Marketing & Technical Publications, is to review content written by those who learned English as a second language. I revise the content to match professional standard English. The companies who take advantage of this service range from corporations with an international staff to local business owners who have hired offshore sole-proprietorships to handle specific tasks.
In the course of helping companies, I’ve discovered four main areas where writers who learned English as a second language may run into problems:
- A misunderstanding of the subtleties of English, where there are many synonyms for a concept (for example, using “chattels” as a synonym for “assets”).
- A tendency to choose words for their proximity in sound or spelling to another word, whether or not they share a meaning (for example, assuming that “fixative” is the same as “fixture”).
- The substitution of the writer’s native grammar for English grammar, leading to a dropping of words (such as “a” and “the”), a reversal of sentence structure, and similar issues.
- Lack of knowledge of the culture, leading to assertions that are not appropriate to the company or its customers.
The result is a sentence like this one: “Depending on desirable taste of clientele, our team adorns living space with new trends, modern or rustic.” The writer meant to write something like, “Our team designs your living room to match your tastes and the latest trends, whether modern or rustic.”
That’s why TWP Marketing & Technical Communications helps so many companies make the transition to clear, passionate, accurate and professional English. Contact us today.