When we communicate in English, it is usually part of the things we do in everyday life. A business professional, a student, a small business, a large company, a government agency, we all need to communicate in English as part of our daily activities.
Sometimes we need to communicate in lengthy documents. But on most occasions in real life, we write shorter pieces, for our customers, our employees or members, our business colleagues, or members of the general public.
In all of these settings, we need to communicate with accuracy and professionalism, and we want to be pleasing to read.
Specific real-life settings need specific language
When we communicate in real life, we need to adapt our language to the specific setting. A club newsletter, a marketing brochure, a business presentation or report, a sign with information, a danger warning, a student or academic essay, each of these settings has its specific
- type of author (individual or organisation)
- target audience
- communication medium
- degree of formality
The words chosen must be adapted to each of the setting of the communication—this is true in any language. A wedding invitation to family and friends will be worded very differently from an invitation to a business luncheon. A posted sign to employees might read very differently from a posted sign to customers or to the public. In each case, the choice of words, tone and level of formality will be different. If the words are not adapted to the setting, there will be a lack of coherence between the setting and the language used, creating confusion, uncertainty and even resistance on the part of the reader.
It can be very difficult for non-native speakers, of any language, to choose the optimal words for a specific setting. Almost every word in every language has multiple synonyms (words with a similar meaning), reflecting fine differences in nuance, in context, in tone and in degree of formality. Each one is appropriate for a specific setting and inappropriate for others.
The critical starting point – Your “creative best” in a first English draft
The most important first step is to capture your best content—your best ideas, your full creativity, your complete message—in a starting English draft.
At this stage the quality of the English is not important—what is important is that you put your creative best on paper.
Once this is in place, your draft can be reviewed and optimised for native expression by a native-English speaker.
Review and Optimisation: Define the setting – Review the content – Optimise with native expression
Native Review and Optimisation is a sequential process that begins by ensuring that the setting is fully understood. Then the content is reviewed and the English in it assessed. At this stage, there is no attempt to rewrite the English.
Once both the setting and the content have been fully understood, we can begin the process of adapting the English to correct errors and optimise for native expression.
You at Your Best in Real Life
The result is You at Your Best in your Real-Life setting: Your communication adapted to your specified setting and expressed in native English.