Elegant variation refers to using several words to refer to one thing.
Many of us learned in school that our writing would look poor if we did not use synonyms to avoid repeating the same words.
For instance, since the general public uses terms like immunization and vaccination interchangeably, one could alternate them in a text to "enrich" it.
However, if you are looking to convey critical information, you must be as clear, concise, and precise as possible.
In medical translation and medical writing, consistent terminology is essential to ensure clarity. Therefore, using immunization and vaccination to refer to the same concept would not be acceptable.
The truth is that those terms are not synonyms. According to the World Health Organization, immunization and vaccination are related, but the former describes a process, and the latter describes an action.
If you are writing to impress, elegant variation will work for you. Otherwise, it is best to use one word to mean one thing.
As a medical translator and medical writer, impressing readers is not my goal. I want readers to understand information the first time they read it.
How do you feel about elegant variation? Is it necessary in your field of specialization? Or do you avoid it at all costs?
Let me know in the comments below!