What’s in a language? (38)

Als voorbereiding op onze training Legal English Writing Skills sturen deelnemers altijd twee, door hen zelf geschreven, teksten in. Eén formele en een informele. Deze teksten voorzien wij van commentaar naar analogie van onze trainingsmaterialen. Hieronder vindt u een voorbeeld: de oorspronkelijke tekst, ons commentaar en de nieuwe versie. (NB: het is natuurlijk niet een “echte” tekst; deze tekst is samengesteld uit een aantal teksten die we het afgelopen jaar hebben ontvangen).

“Ingestuurde” tekst:
Zwolle, May 18th 2019[1] [2]
Dear Ms. Courtney[3],

In the context of pre-course task for the English language course that has been[4]
organized[5] by Branch Out, I hereby provide you with some further information regarding my work and my educational background[6].

Since October 2018[7] I am working[8] as an attorney at (…), at the department of (….).[9] My colleagues and me[10] mainly advise [11] foreign clients. That is why we do correspond with the attorneys of counterparties in English and conduct arbitration proceedings in the English language from time to time[12].

Although I’m[13] used to speak[14] English when I give advice[15] to my clients, I
sometimes have problems to find the proper words. For that reason[16] I really like[17] to educate myself better.

I look forward to meet[18] you and, of course, to the workshop. in case[19] you have any questions, please don’t[20] hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards[21] [22],
Janneke van Asselt

Op- en aanmerkingen:
[1] UK Conventions: city is not stated in an English letter
[2] UK Conventions: date as in Dutch correspondence
[3] UK Conventions: no dot or comma in salutions
[4] Clarity: try to avoid the passive
[5] Consistency: UK spelling=organised, Use same spelling/conventions throughout the document
[6] Conciseness & Clarity: this sentence is too long and contains several unnecessary words; “hereby” is archaic
[7] Clarity: if you don’t start a sentence with the Subject, add a comma just before the Subject.
[8] Correctness: use Present Perfect Continuous “have been working” for activities that started in the past and are still ongoing
[9] Clarity: Follow SVOMPT (= Subject-Verb-Object-Manner-Place-Time)
[10] Correctness: “me” is object, you need the subject form: “I”. Tip: use “we”.
[11] Clarity: Follow SVOMPT
[12] Conciseness: remove redundant and unnecessary words, use fewer words when you can.
[13] Courtesy: try to avoid contractions in writing; they are often too informal
[14] Correctness – “To be used to” is followed by a gerund: speaking
[15] Conciseness: “to give advice” is “to advise”; use fewer words
[16] Conciseness: remove redundant and unnecessary words, use fewer words when you can.
[17] Correctness: “would like” means “want”; “like” means “enjoy”
[18] Correctness: “to look forward to” is followed by a gerund: meeting
[19] Correctness: This is a condition, not a precautionary action.
[20] Courtesy: try to avoid contractions in writing; they are often too informal
[21] Courtesy: this closing matches the salutation “Dear Ms Courtney”
[22] UK Conventions: no dot or comma in closing

Nieuwe versie:
18 May 2019
Dear Ms Courtney

I am writing regarding the pre-course task for the English course provided by Branch Out (or: that Branch Out provides). I would like to inform you about my work and educational background.

I have been working as an attorney in the (…) department at (…) since October 2018. We advise mainly foreign clients. Therefore, we correspond with counterparties’ attorneys and occasionally conduct arbitration proceedings in English.

Although I am used to speaking English when advising my clients, I have problems finding the proper words sometimes. Therefore, I would really like to educate myself better.

I look forward to meeting you and, of course, to the workshop. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely
Janneke van Asselt

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