The Importance of a Translation Glossary and Style Guide

When preparing to translate website content, developing a style guide and translation glossary can help speed up the process and ensure a smoother transition.

A style guide will communicate aspects of your brand such as grammar, syntax, voice, and tone. A glossary will tell your translator which terms should not be translated, such as your company names and some product names, and the meaning of any terminology that is unique to your business.

Create Unity across Content

Often, the translator you hire will be an outside resource, and on top of that, you’re likely to have several translators from different locations who speak different languages. Because of this, you need to make sure these translators understand your company’s style, tone, and terminology. A style guide and glossary will help translators easily immerse themselves into your company and provide translations that accurately reflect your company’s voice.

Speed Up the Process

The process of translating content will go much more quickly when your translator can easily get a feel for your brand and knows the meaning of special terms developed for your products. Imagine hiring one translator in Spain to translate your content from English to Spanish and another translator in India to translate content from English to Hindi. Communicating style guidelines separately to each translator not only takes a significant amount of time, but the information can easily become fractured and difficult to track. By having a set translation glossary and style guide in place, you have a centralized source of information that makes it easier for employees to update and for translators to find.

Increase Accuracy

Glossaries and style guides are the best way to ensure company-approved meanings and translations are communicated to translators. This clears up any confusion and enables them to produce accurate translations.

Smartling’s Approach

In Smartling’s user-friendly platform, it’s easy to add your style guide and translation glossary. But there are other features that can also help prevent translation errors and speed up the localization process.

  • All-in-one platform: The Smartling platform is the centralized hub where translators and employees can go to see how a project is progressing. There is no need to fish around in several places—everything you need can be found right on the platform, accessible from any web browser.
  • In-context translation: Context can make or break a translation. For example, the word “home” on a web page could refer to a house or to the site’s homepage. Without any context, a translator might have to guess the meaning in that situation. With Smartling, however, a translator can see phrases in the context of the website and hover over a word to quickly find what it refers to. In-context translation saves time and prevents mistakes.

Image source: Flickr


About Amy Rigby

Amy Rigby is a freelance writer and world traveler who divides her time mostly between the San Francisco Bay Area and Cusco, Peru. She has a fascination with words, language acquisition and all things animals. Her writing specialities are marketing, travel, photography and technology.