Many people use ‘essay’ and ‘text’ as synonyms, but do these words actually mean the same thing? In fact, there are differences between them: text is a more comprehensive term while essay is a text in a specific format.
Let’s explain better: a text is not necessarily in writing form; we can use the word to describe enunciations of different formats, whether oral or written, short or long and with different levels of formality. In its widest sense, a text is an exposition of the author’s idea, the message he wants to convey – and several media may be used for that.
Now an essay is necessarily a written text, whether manuscript or typed. Besides, a good essay should follow certain basic principles: to present clarity, text correction, connection between the ideas presented and adequacy to the target readers.
To compose or produce texts?
Another common doubt is on the difference between composing (as in writing) and producing texts. In the same manner that there are intersections between texts and essay, here we have some points in common. To write or compose texts means necessarily to produce written messages, while the textual production can be made in different formats, including by audio. Besides, in practice, we tend to use “essay” to speak of the writing in other formats. When the texts are short or made for different formats, we usually call this task “production”.
As translators, we produce texts in its widest sense, conforming ourselves to the most different formats and target publics – all to assure that, in the end, the message will be conveyed clearly and efficiently.