5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Translation Style Guide

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Translation Style Guide

woman creating translation style guide on mac computerAs we’ve covered in our previous post on the importance of creating a style guide and glossary, taking the time to develop these guides for your translators is a great way speed up the process and ensure their output is on-brand. You probably already have a style or brand guide that your teams use for English language creative projects. But you might not know that your translation style guide should contain slightly different information. Cultural differences can be easy to overlook (and can just as easily lead you right into a brutal translation mistake), so it’s worth it to put in some extra effort up front. That way, you won’t have to sacrifice consistency when it comes to your global brand image. Keep reading to learn five actionable tips for creating the best translation style guide ever.

  1. Know Your Audience

Just as you would as part of a marketing exercise, narrow down the group or audience you are addressing: Is it made up of busy execs? Are they 20-something social app users? Describe your typical audience to your translation team so that they can use the most appropriate tone of voice for their translations. The more information you can provide, the better.

  1. Research Your Target Market

Before you list your linguistic conventions, do your research. You might be surprised to find out that certain countries’ linguistic conventions are drastically different from yours. One example that hits close to home: A comparison of American and British English.

  1. Don’t Limit Yourself to One Style Guide

Smartling lets you have as many style guides as you want, so go wild! Don’t do it just because you can, but because from one language to another, conventions, like tone, use of formal language, etc. might not be the same.

  1. Update Your Style Guide

A style guide does not need to be a static document. On the contrary! Update it every time your company introduces changes to its brand and messaging.

  1. Be Patient

Just because your translator or translation resource team doesn’t get it right the first time doesn’t mean that your style guide was not useful or that the team is not good. Finding out what content translators are struggling with might actually uncover inconsistencies in your own tone and messaging.

Hungry for more? Make sure you download the full style guide best practice document, available in our training center.

Image source: Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

About Dina Bloom

Dina is the Training Manager at Smartling combining both her passions for technology and teaching. She grew up in France and moved to New York from Colorado a few years back, where she worked in Digital marketing for Aspen/Snowmass, while teaching French at the local community college. With a masters in Linguistics, a background in teaching foreign languages, and many years of experience in the tech industry, Dina finds herself very much at home at Smartling.


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