Writing for Localization: Useful Tips

Miloš Matović 8 years ago 6 min read

If the content is originally written for localization (i.e. globalized), the localization process can be streamlined to take significantly less energy, time and resources.

Writing for Localization: Useful Tips | Blog | Ciklopea
Kompleksnost in viri lokalizacije pa so pogosto v veliki meri odvisni od lastnosti izvirnika

Localization is a complex and multilevel process that requires an entire set of language and supporting services, but what is often overlooked is that the extent of its complexity and the resources it requires largely depend on the features of the source material. What works great in one culture may be completely untranslatable in another – and this is where the localization resources extend to include transcreators and creative translators.

However, if the content is originally written for localization (i.e. globalized), the localization process can be streamlined to take significantly less energy, time and resources. This article features some of the writing and technical tips that can help you create highly localizable content.

Know your Audience on the Target Market

Know your Audience on the Target Market

Make sure you know precisely who your audience is. What is their age, social status, are they new or returning customers, what are they expectations – and build your content accordingly. This will help localizers get the wider and more detailed picture about the ultimate intent of the material and make the localization process run more smoothly.

Be Concise

Build your content with concision and precision as the ultimate values. The line between being succinct and saying too little is thin, but it is rarely crossed if you have a clear idea of what you want to say. Re-read your material and ask yourself if the point is made and if there are redundant words. Then re-read it again. And again, until you are sure the ratio of the accurate and complete information and the number of words is optimal.

This approach will produce fewer words for translation and a greater level of understanding for localizers, ultimately reducing the costs and time required for localization.

Be Clear

Being clear in this particular case means composing the content in a neutral and standardized form of the source language. In case your products or services are not particularly targeted to a distinct group, all slang, region and culture specific, or otherwise non-standard terminology should be avoided.

The reason for this is simple – you will avoid the possibility of mistranslation, localizers will understand the text the right way and the quality of your product/service will also be highlighted by the quality of language itself.

Be Consistent

Building glossaries and terminology bases (TB) is a great way to keep your business-specific terminology consistent, achieve accurate and contextual translation of specific terms and save time and money.

However, before creating TBs, make sure to develop a glossary of specific terms related to your product/service and use them without exception during the content creation. Date, time and currency formats, as well as the measurement units should also be used consistently. Precise and concise use of terms in source material will help translators and localizers achieve faster and better results.

Reuse the content whenever you can – this will result in a technically and linguistically uniform material, while the amount of new words for translation will be reduced.

Keep Non-Textual Elements Localizable

Writing for Localization: Useful Tips | Blog | Ciklopea

Design the visual part of your content with localization in mind. Texts in different languages and different scripts may also be different in length, so designing the visual elements with the possibility of space extension is another smart move that will prevent additional costs.

All non-textual elements that feature texts, such as various types of graphics and infographics should be saved in their native, editable formats. CAT software can easily process this type of content, enabling translators to do their part of the job effortlessly. This may come particularly handy in localization of DTP files, where no other services but purely linguistic may be required – provided that the content is created localizable.

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