Why You Should Work With a Translation Style Guide

The answers to all questions: a translation style guide. Whether you are ordering translations at our LSP (Language Service Provider) partners or if you work with your own translation team, as soon as you have more than one translator working at your translations you will run into the same issues.

The most obvious issue is how to maintain the consistency of tone and style. This can relate to questions like:

  • Should proper nouns be translated or not?
  • Is the voice of the translation supposed to be formal or colloquial?
  • Should the polite form be used to address the recipients or the informal one?

The answers to these questions can deliver a style guide.

What Is A Style Guide?

A style guide is a manual that informs the translator of the rules regarding the tone of the language, a certain format or special terms that should be used. This manual can be rather long and very detailed as often used for translations in the academic sector or it can be a short instruction for the translators as used for daily business.

In our case, rather short instruction is the best choice.

Let the translators know about the voice and tone you would like to see in your translation. For example: “the translation should be formal and serious” or “it is meant to be loaded with slang and other colloquialisms”.

It is also a good idea to let the translators know the context of the translation project they are working with, e.g. which piece of software are they translating – a mobile app, a web application, or something different? What is the purpose or the audience of the software?

This information together with a screenshot can be very helpful for a translator, especially when translating buttons and other short phrases as they are typical for software translation.

How Do I Get The Translators To Use The Style Guide?

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Keep the style guide short and precise. Provide examples and screenshots if possible. When sending the order on its way, you can select one of your pre-defined style guides that will be made available to the translator that works on your order.

In the style guide section, we help you with asking for the most important information on

  • your business
  • your audience
  • the overall tone that the translation should have
  • how literal it should be
  • and grammar consistency

We also ask you:

  • to provide samples
  • to indicate formatting requirements and character limitations
  • to describe your company branding
  • and to specify glossary terms

Make the translators that are working on your translation projects happy and provide them with a short, precise and informatastic style guide. You can be sure they will deliver great translations on return.

If you need help with the creation of your style guide or have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

Not yet using Phrase for your software translation? Sign up now and start localizing your software better.

Be sure to subscribe and receive all updates from the Phrase blog straight to your inbox. You’ll receive localization best practices, about cultural aspects of breaking into new markets, guides and tutorials for optimizing software translation and other industry insights and information. Don’t miss out!