Tone of Voice | Pauhu Translations' blog

Content = soul, formalities = identity

Content = soul, formalities = identity

Text is just text after all, right? Well, not quite! The anatomy of a good translation is more complex than a bunch of words. There are just so many formalities. Mastering these formalities resolves whether the topic – even if it’s an excellent one in itself – will leave a good or bad impression. To be a good translator, you will have to do the following with consistent accuracy – from the first word to the final full stop.


Show a mastery of the grammar in the target language. No guessing when it comes to what to say, or how to say it.

Master the target language vocabulary with a rich and vigorous touch. No repetition ad nauseum, no poverty of expression.

Apply the correct terms for the same matters consistently throughout the text. Do not confuse the reader.

Keep to the point. Do not use words that do not fit the content.

Make the written whole easy to understand. Do not cause confusion with contradictions.

Tone of voice
Engage the reader in the manner selected from beginning to end. Do not bounce around from one style to another or from colloquial to formal speech and back again.

Grammatical persons
Stay within the selected mode of address. Do not switch from informal to formal styles of personal address in the middle of everything.

Sentence structure
Fluently translate progressive and vigorous sentences. No extended, pieced-together, long-and-winding word streams.

Commas and full stops
Use punctuation marks to highlight sentence rhythm in an easily readable form. Do not forget to use them – the lack of commas and full stops where they are needed can turn a good translation into a bad one.

Use the official professional terminology as required. No machine translation, no Internet sources.


A good translation is a mixture of information, skill and experience. It speaks from one person to another: it is human. It is something no machine is truly capable of doing.


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Linda Ahlblad, | 21.11.2019
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