A translation style guide is a must for optimising your translation projects. This document lists guidelines tailored for your company specifically and for each language individually so that translators have very precise instructions to follow while working on your translation projects. A style guide usually includes a set of rules about writing style, translation tone of voice, spelling, punctuations, brand voice, and other textual and visual elements. It greatly benefits your company by improving the overall translation quality with high consistency and rigor in nailing down the requirements listed in the style guide, which will in turn reduce the project turn-around time.
Initially, the process of creating this guideline might be time-consuming but is a worthwhile effort that will bring you multiple benefits in the long run. A translation style guide contains information written in the source language in order to explain the source elements and their expected outcomes clearly to our linguists.
The immediate advantages of having a translation style guide in place are two-fold.
First of all, it allows the linguists to remain consistent with the client brand voice by ensuring all language elements and writing styles the translators choose are coherent with the previous materials and the brand messages in different languages, which means our client’s company can communicate effectively with customers across the globe with the same brand voice and reputation.
Second of all, it allows to save time. Indeed, since the translators now have a set of standard rules and references to follow, both our client and the translators can save a great deal of time from sending back-and-forth emails to discuss the basic rules or going through reworks after the first delivery.
Here are the 5 key elements that we include in our translation style guides:
Every Style guide should start by giving a brief description of the client’s organisation and the typical type of content that is sent out for translation, the type of products and services offered and some information about the purposes of the content (marketing campaigns, websites, social media, trainings, legal documents, etc)
Tone of Voice
Every brand has its own tone of voice to communicate and to convey the message to its target customers. The purposes of the content also influence the tone of voice translators should use. Content for social media for instance should be in a more simple and conversational tone while documents for legal purposes should be written in a formal and sophisticated tone of voice.
It is key that the target audience is well defined, so the linguists know how to adapt the terminology and vocabulary they use accordingly. This will provide the translators with a clear picture of the language they should use to effectively communicate with the target audiences. In order to precisely define the target audience key demographic details must be shared such as ages, locations, education levels, lifestyle indicators, genders, customers’ fears and concerns, notable market obstacles, etc.
Elements that shouldn’t be translated
Some elements might be required to stay written in their original language such as person names, product names, job titles, websites, etc. It is indeed very common for international organisations to leave words or wordings in English for instance.
The linguistic preferences of each company are unique. They are based on the nature of the content and the company’s writing style. A variety of elements can be listed under this section, however the most common elements are instructions about spelling, abbreviations, acronyms, punctuation, names, addresses, numbers, measurements, currency, date format, time format, etc.
As a rule of thumb, any marketer, or anyone else familiar with brand strategies, should work on creating a style guide and glossary before translation happens. Transladiem can help organisations develop these materials.