Science Writing: Beyond Translation

Scientific publishing can be a slippery slope as one teeters between rigor and simplicity. Understanding the audience is key to disseminating scientific information and gaining readership.

When writing science for the general public, the author writer should have a stylistic repertoire for translating technical jargon for the general public. Many authors refer to writing science for the public as a translation of language; it needs to be concise, easily understandable, accurately written, clear, and it needs to grab the readers’ attention. Most people do not know or care about nanoparticles, causing a headline about new synthesis techniques of nanoparticles to be quickly skipped over. However, if a science journalist gives the article a catchy title and takes the same science findings and stresses the applications of bio-imaging, the possibilities to save Florida’s citrus industry, and the innovations of personalized medicine through drug therapy, nanoparticles can become so engaging and interesting!

How the author frames the work and translates the science is very important and influential in the reception of the article and information.  The narrative that surrounds the science is most important for grasping the attention of your audience and for keeping their attention. Dry data and facts are not invigorating unless properly contextualized and framed. Metaphors and narratives help the flow and reading of scientific information for the lay person and can greatly add to readership.

Gross, Teodoro León. “From The Rhetoric Of Science To Scientific Journalism.” Interactions: Studies In Communication & Culture 5.1 (2014): 25-40. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web.

Above source on science translation is from a peer-reviewed communications journal available through UCF’s database.


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