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Writing essays in English for non-native speakers

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Posted

So... I've been asked to help a relative with some sort of essay (and presentation for live audience if it goes through). Some international stuff about disabled people, therefore it must be in English. I suppose it will largely be the expression of thoughts that counts, but nevertheless, some creative use of language, some literary quality and proper grammar will be required. Also fluent talking and pronunciation if it comes to that.

 

That's where I'm supposed to come in - proofread, help with consistence, grammar and generally help with stuff. If I'm the best choice they have, it says a lot, but mostly that they don't have much of a choice.

 

Because writing loads of drek in English is easy. English itself is rather easy, especially on internets where rarely anybody cares of proper grammar, punctuation, structure of sentences and stuff, even among native English speakers. I wasn't any good writing any kind of essays myself - I got away with crude humor at all times. And my grammar is and has always been abysmal, so I don't feel I'm up for the task. Unfortunately I didn't say *no* in time.

 

The question that's now bugging me is how should one proceed with the writing itself?

 

A) Write in one's native language and then attempt to translate to English. It's easier to express and be creative that way, but translating all that will be very hard and, of course, not all expressions can be flawlessly translated.

 

B) Write directly in English and attempt to express oneself with what vocabulary one owns, then repeatedly go through and polish until it hopefully looks ok. This is what I used to do - to switch all thinking to English. I don't have any talent for languages, but most people can't seem to do even that. I've yet to gauge when we meet next week.

 

The question to all non-native English speaking Neowinians might be - how did you or someone you know went with this or how would you proceed if you had to do this without any preparation?

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Posted

Being a native English speaker doesn't really qualify me to answer, but I will offer my view anyway!

 

I would write the essay in English to begin with. It will be easier to manage the language as you're developing the essay. Whereas writing it in a native language means translating the essay retrospectively, which in my opinion, would be more prone to mistakes being made.

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