Sunday, January 27, 2008

Edit globally, groan locally

I have taken on an assignment for an e-learning site that involves editing contributed articles from business people from all over the world. It turns out that entrepreneurs from India are very interested in being published on a U.S. site.

They love to write in English, but their English is fluid rather than fluent. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Indian business people write in a dialect of English. However, for a non-Indian website, this dialect sounds odd and isn't very clear. Editing it is a challenge.

The Indian writers keep injecting the phrase "One tight slap!" which, I've discovered, means "Wake up!" Or "Take notice!" I rather like it, and hope it will catch on here.

They favor phrases that we'd consider notorious cliches, like "the bigger the better" and like to put them in quotes with initial caps and a concluding exclamation mark ("The Bigger the Better!"). And they love closing their articles with energetic exhortations to success. Like this inscrutable paragraph:

"Patience, Persistence and Handwork -- These three words are self explanatory, and beside above stated qualities, you must love your work and self driven. Also, remember one more thing – sitting idol doesn’t mean you are doing, noting at all; this time has its own importance. Taking time off from work is Good. On the flip side; you have to check all the closed doors and no stone should be left unturned…..Success is Just few steps away!!"

Yes! Yes! Er, no. No. Toning this stuff down is not all that difficult, but doing it leaves me feeling rather like a wet blanket. Or perhaps "A Wet Blanket!"

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