On Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM, Jim Henry<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Speaker fluency and translation bias may also enter into it. When we
> say something original, we fit our thoughts to the medium for
> expressing them more freely than when we translate something someone
> else said; similarly when we speak in a language we're more fluent in
> vs. one we're less fluent in. Both factors tend to make original and
> fluent speech and writing more concise than translated or less-fluent
> speech and writing. A lot of the bilingual or multilingual texts we
> see (e.g., instructions on packages and the like) were written
> originally in English and then translated into other languages.
I did some self-experimentation on this some years ago, writing texts
in Swedish or English, and then translating them, fairly literally,
into the other. The English originals reliably got longer in Swedish,
whereas the Swedish originals often got slightly shorter in English.
Since, presumably, my Swedish is rather more fluent, this suggests the
inherent "compactness" of English outweighs the originality and
fluency factors, at least for people reasonably competent in both
Why can't you be a non-conformist just like everybody else?