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CONSISTENCY

Anne Fries makes sure that texts are consistent. What does that mean exactly?

Anne Fries Lektorat & Übersetzungen über Vereinheitlichung von Texten

“Inconsistent” – our word for “right each time, but still wrong”

Well, not really wrong, but also not quite right; careless, you might say, and not professional enough. This often results from the fact that two copywriters were involved in writing one text – or that it was pieced together out of several older texts.

Anne Fries tidies up: here, for example

Typical examples of inconsistencies are abbreviations and units. It says for example in the first paragraph and e.g. in the second. Another classic is next to EUR or Euro, % next to per cent, kWh next to kilowatt hour. And then there are hyphens: it’s confusing when tin-foil, tinfoil and aluminium foil come across as multiple personalities, when in fact they are one and the same thing. And on it goes with numbers and figures: here there are three employees, there 4 injection moulding plants, here twelve sites and there 11 anniversaries, all in the same article about the same factory in Wuppertal. But you can even cause confusion without any letters at all: 1000 is correct, so is 1,000, and 1 000 is acceptable, but using all three together is messy.

Key terms in focus

This and much more is taken into account when checking “consistency of key terms”. We focus on terms that we consider to be important in the context of the text or that appear physically close together so that the inconsistency is obvious. So if it says website on the fist page and web presence on the twelfth, we’ll let it be, particularly if the text is now dealing with something completely different, such as health care. But this definitely shouldn’t then be written in the next paragraph as healthcare. And definitely not as health-care.

One text – one approach

We always ensure consistency in whichever medium we are currently working on – e.g. a brochure, flyer or poster. Do you want wording to be consistent across different jobs? Then read our information about corporate language.

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