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The translation strategy for Toki Pona is different than the general process for natural languages. Most words and expressions might be considered "untranslatable" into Toki Pona, as there are no fixed phrases for them, and must instead be explained through spontaneous phrases and sentences.

  1. Recall any usable context that has been established earlier in the discourse. This can include features of the environment, previous utterances, words that speakers have already related to more specific concepts, and any other shared knowledge between speakers.
  2. Describe what you want to talk about in simple terms, introducing each of the concepts involved. If you are unaccustomed to this, consider ELI5ing, using xkcd's Simple Writer, and other forms of circumlocution. If any important context is missing, introduce it at the start or as it becomes relevant. Conversely, remember that you can refer back to anything earlier in the translation.
  3. If you are having difficulty at this stage, assess whether you understand the topic well enough to explain it, and research if not.
  4. Adapt to Toki Pona's vocabulary and grammar. The sentence structure can be very restrictive, so it is common for even single words to become multiple sentences. For help translating specific English words that are often problematic, see English translations.
  5. Remove any excess, such as information that is already clear from context or that goes into needless detail.

See also[edit | edit source]

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