Collocations and Phrases in Technical Writing and Translation – tcworld India 2016

I’m attending tcworld India 2016 in Bangalore. Ashok Bagri gave a presentation entitled “Use of Collocations and Phrases in Technical Writing and Translation”. These are my notes from the session. All credit goes to Ashok, and any mistakes are my own.

A collocation is two or more words that go together and sound right. These collocations may not be grammatically correct, but idiomatically they make sense. Examples: “gross negligence” is good, but “bad negligence” sounds odd. “Safe drive” sounds good, but “secure driver” does not. “Hermetically sealed” is good. Ashok ran through various types of collocation, based on types of speech.

Ashok described the idea of a collocation tool. It helps you find the collocation you need – that perfect combination of words that’s on the tip of your tongue but you can’t find it. Ashok demonstrated an eWrite Right tool, developed by his company.

Several researches have worked for 24 months to build the database of collocations. The database has over 50,000 headword records of over 500,000 collocations. It includes terms from a number of domains (medical, legal, business etc). The tool also allows company-specific customisation of the collocations, and includes synonym phrases.

We also saw examples of phrases, synonyms, and similes that are useful for standardising documents and making them more easily comprehensible.

The demo showed the eWrite Right tool, first using the medical domain. For example, we searched for the word “administration”, saw a number of phrases using that word, and selected the phrase “for oral administration only”. We then copied it and pasted it into our document. We then searched for the word “access” in the IT context, and so on. The tool also shows you the correct use of phrases, and allows you to find synonym phrases for a particular phrase. For example, “to be a raving beauty” yields a number of phrases including “to be physically attractive”. The phrases are grouped into formal and informal.

You can add entries (collocations) that will be seen only within your organisation. You can even define terms as forbidden within your organisation, and give the preferred term.

Ashok closed by showing the prices of various versions of the tool (basic, standard, premium) and the estimated ROI (return on investment) gained from using the tool.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 26 February 2016, in technical writing, Tekom tcworld and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Dear Sarah,
    Thanks a lot for writing about our tool. I am happy to note that you liked the tool. I am truly amazed that you were to able to take notes accurately at such a speed, given the fact that I had to race through the presentation due to the reduction in duration. One minor point: the phrase “oral administration” = “for oral administration only”. The tool also helps us in deciding whether an adverb comes before or after a particular verb – this is often a problematic issue.
    Ashok Bagri

  2. Could you have mis-heard “co-locution” as “collocation”?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: