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Is the usage of slashes, en-dash, and parentheses in the following line OK?

Objective: Working as a translator (English/Spanish/Portuguese–Arabic)

*It's part of a resume.

Thank you for your assistance.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Edwin Ashworth, Rory Alsop, NVZ, Dan Bron, choster Jan 30 '17 at 4:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Could you clarify what the slashes and en-dash are supposed to indicate? It is not clear to me what languages you translate between and whether there is such a language as “Portuguese-Arabic” (which would be hyphenated). So whether or not it is linguistically correct, it fails on clarity. Why don't you write it out in full? – David Jan 29 '17 at 14:03
  • @David For a translator, it's clear she does three languages into Arabic. I have explained it below. The slashes are the source language and what comes after the dash is the target language. – Lambie Jan 29 '17 at 16:10
  • @Lambie — She's misusing the en-dash in my opinion, but the main question in my comment remains: why not remove all possible ambiguity and write it in full using short prepositions and conjunctions? Is she trying to squash things into one line or what? – David Jan 29 '17 at 16:37
  • @David I agree with you re the dash. Please read my answer. I dunno if you have thought about it, but often, at the top of a resume, when there is an Objective: [like hers], one tries to be succinter [ha ha] rather than longer. Slashes here to separate languages are, however, common in translation contexts such as a resume. That said, I'd throw out the parentheses altogether. – Lambie Jan 29 '17 at 16:41
  • @Lambie — It would be good to know the constraints she is working under, as it that influences what one might suggest. I'll comment on your own answer. – David Jan 29 '17 at 18:55
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In the field of translation (which is my field, by the way), I always write it like this: Spanish/French/Portuguese> English.

Directionality in translation is often given by the symbols from math: < and >. A bilingual translator (of which they are very few good ones) would write: Arabic<>English. The left side is the source language and the right side is the target language.

For interpreting, which I also do, I write it like this: Spanish/French/Portuguese<>English.

Finally, I suggest: Working as a translator in these combinations: English/Spanish/Portuguese>Arabic.

Personally, I would avoid the parentheses, as the actual combinations are a crucial part of the information, whereas information in parenthesis is used for clarification.

Also, if you don't like the math symbols, I suggest into: Working as a translator from Spanish/French/Portuguese into English.

  • It's also possible that real arrows might be used, if there's one which looks good in the context. That's these characters: ⟵⟶⟷ (The font SE uses for comments isn't brilliant, although double-arrows might work better here ⟸⟹⟺) – Andrew Leach Jan 29 '17 at 0:24
  • Yes, arrows are OK, too. Personally, I prefer the guillemets as they are less disruptive of the text flow. – Lambie Jan 29 '17 at 0:37
  • Assuming there is a constraint of space, and accepting that the use of an en-dash (or even a British space–em dash–space) is unclear, I don't warm to the use of mathematical symbols (and I'm a scientist). Why? I think their meaning is equivocal and they look odd in the context of a non-science resumé. I prefer your final suggestion. – David Jan 29 '17 at 19:00
  • @David the dash is wrong, period. That said, the meaning is /into/, as I have now stated several times. – Lambie Jan 29 '17 at 23:05
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Welcome to our site, Mariam: bienvenida and bem-vinda as well.

I fear that there exists no authority whom anyone can cite that will confer approval or disapproval on this stylistic matter. The most you can hope for is a sort of “Goldlilocks and the Three Bears” test whereby people variously respond without citations or authority as to just how much they personally like it or dislike it, or that it’s just a neutral matter that they have no attraction nor aversion to.

That said, I personally find what you have written to be succinct and reasonable for the abbreviated context of a résumé. I presume it to mean that you translate texts from English, Spanish, or Portuguese into Arabic, or perhaps from Arabic into any of those three others.

  • Yes, definitely. That was what I intended to show with that punctuation. Thank you so much for your answer. Best regards. – Mariam Jan 31 '17 at 18:17

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