How to Ensure Consistency in Your Multilingual Communications

Ciklopea 8 months ago 7 min

If you’ve decided to make your website, marketing materials, and customer support available in multiple languages, you already have a good chance of gaining a competitive advantage. However, it’s not easy to ensure consistency in your multilingual communications.

How to Ensure Consistency in Your Multilingual Communications

Multilingual consistency refers to the practice of ensuring that the content, messaging, and branding elements across multiple languages maintain uniformity, coherence, and accuracy. This means you need to align translations with the original source material and maintain consistent terminology, style, tone, and the overall communication strategy across different languages.

At Ciklopea, we make sure to offer our clients consulting services and explain our strategic approach to ensuring consistency in multilingual communications. This is how we can set them up for success and ensure that they have solid documentation to rely on in the future. Continue reading to learn more.

1. Start by Developing a Style Guide

Start by Developing a Style Guide

You need to create a comprehensive style guide that includes guidelines on grammar, punctuation, tone, formatting, and specific terms or phrases. This guide should be followed consistently across all languages to maintain a unified voice and branding.

The thing is, you will certainly need to adjust your brand a bit depending on the market you’re trying to reach. Having a style guide as a single source of truth helps you define what adjustments and changes are acceptable. By providing these guidelines to translators, you can ensure that the translations maintain the desired brand voice consistently across all languages.

For example, if your brand is known for being friendly and approachable, the style guide can instruct translators to use a conversational tone in all languages. This might mean a different thing for the German market than for the Japanese one, and our linguists and cultural consultants can help you make the right choice for each market.

Additionally, a style guide helps establish and maintain consistent terminology across languages. It includes preferred translations for key terms, product names, and industry-specific vocabulary. Consistent use of terminology enhances clarity and prevents confusion among users. For example, a style guide might specify that a particular product feature should always be translated in a certain way, ensuring consistency across all language versions.

This leads us to the next important aspect of maintaining multilingual consistency.

2. Use Translation Memories (TMs)

Use Translation Memories (TMs)

Translation memories are segmented databases containing previously translated elements in a specific language pair that can be reused and recycled in further projects. Productivity software calculates the percentage of similarity between the new content for translation/localization and the existing segments that were previously translated, edited, and proofread, and the linguistic team is able to access this information, use it, and adapt it where necessary.

This percentage has a direct impact on costs associated with a translation/localization project and the time required for project completion, as the matching segments cost less and require less time for processing.

TMs help maintain accuracy by providing translators with approved and validated translations as a reference. This ensures that the translations are consistent with the original source content and aligned with your brand’s messaging. Translators can also refer to the TM’s suggestions for consistency in grammar, style, and formatting.

Other benefits of using TMs include:

  • Consistent voice and tone
  • Better collaboration between translators, reviewers, and project managers
  • Improved version control

For example, you can reuse previously translated content such as marketing slogans, product descriptions, or brand messages in different campaigns. This is how you’ll ensure a consistent voice and tone throughout your multilingual communications. It’s useful to have a centralized platform where translation memories can be shared and accessed by the entire team.

3. Hire Professional Translators to Maintain Multilingual Consistency

If you think professional translators are expensive, try hiring amateurs. There is a widespread misconception that simply by being bilingual, you can translate content with confidence. The truth is, translating is not just about bridging the language barrier.

Professional language service providers (LSPs) have expertise in translation, localization, and linguistic nuances. The best translators have native-level proficiency in the target language, ensuring accurate and culturally appropriate translations. Their linguistic knowledge allows them to maintain consistency in terminology, style, and tone across different languages.

Additionally, professional language service providers often specialize in specific industries or subject areas. This expertise allows translators to understand complex technical, legal, or industry-specific content, and navigate these domains with ease.

There’s also the factor of legal implications and compliance questions. Depending on your industry, there may be regulatory requirements or industry-specific standards you’ll need to adhere to. Professional translators are well-versed in these compliance standards.

Other benefits of hiring an LSP include:

  • Established and proven quality assurance processes
  • Access to tools and resources that can help you optimize your costs
  • Fast translation turnaround time
  • Ability to scale quickly and maintain a healthy project pace
  • Long-term partnership and ongoing support
Discover what makes Ciklopea different from other language service providers and how we help clients optimize costs by delegating 85% of administrative and repetitive tasks to Orchestrum, the internal translation management tool we developed.

4. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

One thing that is often deprioritized is transparent communication between all the key stakeholders – both internal and external. If you’re the main point of contact for translators, you need to clarify all requirements and objectives. By providing comprehensive information about your brand, target audience, tone, style, and specific terminology, you enable translators to deliver translations that align with your expectations and maintain consistency across languages.

Also, translators may have questions or face ambiguities and uncertainties during the translation process. Establishing an open line of communication allows them to seek clarification on specific terms, phrases, or context.

An important part of the process is feedback – if you’re able to provide feedback on translations, offer insights into audience reception, or suggest refinements, this can empower translators to fine-tune their work and improve the consistency and quality of future translations.

As you can see, translators can do all the heavy lifting, but your input is nonetheless valuable and necessary for achieving the best possible end result.

5. Test, Iterate, and Document What You’ve Learnt

Test, Iterate, and Document What You’ve Learnt

If you want to achieve multilingual consistency, you have to be light on your feet and open to feedback. This means that you should conduct regular tests and fine-tune your approach as you continue translating and localizing your content. So how does this look in practice?

Some common testing methods include usability testing, focus groups, and expert reviews. You can observe and gather feedback from users from different markets as they interact with your multilingual content. This can be done through in-person sessions, remote testing, or online surveys. This way, you can identify patterns and see whether or not there’s room for improvement.

For instance, if your social media content is performing well on the DACH market but not so much on the Japanese market, what could be the reason? Do you need to introduce some linguistic changes, adjust visuals, or is the cause a bit deeper and requires a change in strategy?

Expert reviews are a good way to find these answers without involving your target audience too much. Language experts, linguists, and professionals with cultural knowledge can evaluate your content and determine whether it is accurate, consistent, and culturally appropriate.

Once you gather feedback, it’s time to evaluate your translations and different market strategies. The next step would be to implement necessary improvements, repeat the testing process to validate the effectiveness of the changes, and finally – identify any remaining areas of concern. Make sure to document everything that you’ve learnt. With iterative testing, you can make sure that you’re continuously refining and optimizing your multilingual communications over time. Plus, customer behavior constantly evolves, which means that your multilingual communications need to keep up.

Ensure Consistency Across Your Multilingual Content by Hiring the Right Language Partner

Do you understand the value of multilingual content, but you’re not completely sure where to start? Ciklopea has over 20 years of experience in multiple industries. With our technology-eclectic and people-first approach, we have earned the trust of the leading brands that are striving towards domination of the global market.

We’re always happy to hear from you: schedule a call to discuss your project, assess if we’d be a good fit, and receive a quote.

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