A translation style guide – what is it and why do you need one?

Ciklopea 3 years ago 3 min read

Are you planning an international marketing strategy to expand your customer base? Then you’ll need to explain your distinct brand identity to reach new areas.

Is the tone of your brand professional and serious or informal and filled with slang and other colloquialisms? Make sure your translator knows this!

A translation style guide - what is it and why do you need one?

A successful worldwide marketing requires your message to be consistent across all mediums. As a result, any other language must have the same tone of voice as your source language and local markets.

Translators require more than just a chunk of text to render in a new language. They also require direction. They require some context. They must be familiar with your brand.

To achieve this, you may start thinking about including a style guide for translation.

Many organizations use style guides to create content in English, but they may not know how important it is to create one for their translated content. For keeping your company’s voice and image in multilingual publications, you need a translation style guide that specifies style and tone, grammatical norms, and terminology.

For translators, a translation style guide is an invaluable resource. It gives them insight into brand identity, and it provides company information to help them grasp the company tone and voice you choose for your products. It also aids with the creation of consistency in vocabulary, language, style, and spelling, among other things.

A style guide isn’t a grammar book that lays down all the rules of the language, but a document that guides content authors and translators through the process of selecting the best language elements for connecting with consumers and prospects in target markets.


What should your translation style guide contain?


Style guides are a minor investment with a big payoff in the long run. A typical style guide for a medium-sized business takes a few hours to put together and should cover some of these areas:

  • Target audience – The language used should reflect the persona who will be reading the content. Think about the type of users, their interests, age, education level, lifestyle indicators and what is their purpose when they use your product or content.
  • Tone of voice – Every brand has its own distinct tone of voice that reflects its ideals, and it must be conveyed in your translated material. To describe how text should sound, many marketers use adjectives or personality types. Do you want to be formal or informal? Persuasive or instructional? Fun or serious? It is useful in the context of a style guide.
  • Reference materials – Include samples of proper and incorrect usage, as well as links to existing high-quality materials, to make instructions as apparent as possible.
  • Branding guidelines – They give the translator crucial and priceless insight into your company’s personality, vision, and core values, as well as information on how you want to communicate them in your new language markets. Using these standards in your multilingual material will ensure that your brand’s message is not splintered in any way.
  • Formatting preferences – Here you should include preferences about image placement, embedded pictures or text, list and table design, when and how to utilize captions or credits, headline and subhead treatment, alt text, and the usage of italicized, bolded, or underlined text, formats of time and date, numbers, phone numbers, currencies, percentages, units of measure.
  • Language – Additionally, this section should provide instruction on typical grammatical errors to avoid, such as serial commas, capitalization, citations and attributions, jargon, slang, puns, idioms, or culturally specific references, numerals, especially in currency, slogans, headlines etc.

Bear in mind that things will change, and your translators will come to you with a lot of good questions. If you realize something is unclear, don’t be afraid to update or use multiple style guides when necessary.

Your global content performance can be significantly improved by using a style guide. This asset is vital for further translation development and for ensuring quality, controlling related expenses, and speeding up the whole cycle.

For more information about translation style guide, please, feel free to contact us by filling out the form on this link.

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