Using register

There is always more than one way of saying something!! Be aware of the difference register can make to what you say, and be aware of which register you are using.

If you are interpreting into a foreign language, the correct use of a variety of registers will be one of the most difficult things for you to master. For practical purposes it will often come down to a choice of two registers (formal and less formal) for the non-native speaker.

Have a look at the examples below where you will find pairs of synonymous phrases in the left and right-hand columns. These examples are taken from David Walker’s excellent Committee Guide, a thematic and lexical handbook for interpreters working in the European Parliament.

actively considering thinking about it 
afford an opportunity give a chance 
and indeed and 
as matters stand the way things are 
at an early date soon 
at their earliest conveniencesoon 
bereft of without any 
brought fully to the attention take up with 
came to recognise realised 
carries with it involves 
conspicuous by its absence not there 
consonant with in keeping 
debarred from prevented 
decline their invitation say no 
have an opportunity be able 
don’t think it differs very markedly much the same 
drew a positive response was welcomed 
endeavouring trying 
express my gratitude thank 
far in excess of much more than 
have shown no indication don’t seem to 
fortified encouraged 
have other ideas disagree 
I am reminded I remember 
I have in my possession I have 
in readiness preparing for 
indicate a willingness say they will 
initiate urgent discussionsget on to 
it was for that reason that was why 
it’s my intention I intend 
likely patterns forecast 
little to tell them apart similar 
made statements said things 
make common cause join forces 
make alternative arrangements do something else 
make available provide 
make representations protest 
nigh on nearly 
no dearth plenty 
on day one of accession as soon as they join 
omits to mention doesn’t say
persist in efforts keep trying 
put a statement out issue a press release 
secure an accommodation get an agreement 
seek a response ask for a reply 
set them alongside compare 
7 or 8, no-one really knows 7 or 8 
should acquaint themselves find out about 
some but not all some 
taken in conjunction together with 
that puts one in mind that reminds me 
their phrase for how they describe 
therefore seeks leave to asks permission 
under debate being discussed 
use their best endeavours try their best 
we’re ad idem on we agree 
wishes to wants to 
would do well to ought to