You’re developing new content and it needs to be translated into multiple languages. So is Steve from marketing and Mary from human resources — the list goes on. Across your organization content creators are producing pages upon pages every day, all with different styles, independent of each other without thought to standardization. Sound familiar?
If so, you’re not alone. According to Common Sense Advisory, “48 percent of survey respondents reported over 50 authors in-house and only one third had fewer than 20 authors.”
With no guidance or visibility into how content is being developed by various authors and no defined style, translation can get chaotic, costly and inconsistent.
Here is some information on why it’s important to standardize your source content and how you can implement these best practices to boost translation quality, consistency and overall cost efficiencies across your entire organization.
Just like a well-oiled machine, every person plays a crucial role in the translation process. Working together to develop predetermined, mutually agreed-upon rules for content creation (e.g. spelling, grammar and punctuation), as well as determining how to write and control commonly used phrases and terms, will eliminate a lot of the inconsistencies in your source documents.
Inconsistencies can range from something as simple as word choice to how a sentence is structured. For example, think of how many ways you can say “large” in the English language — and is that U.S. or U.K. English, for that matter? Or how many ways you can change a simple phrase such as “The fox jumped over the fence.” One person may change capitalization or punctuation: “the fox jumped over the fence.” Then another may change a word without altering the essential meaning: “the fox hopped over the fence.” While both phrases mean the same thing, altering a phrase or even just one word can have a potentially undesirable impact on your translation quality.
Consistent source content means consistent translated content going into your translation memory — or as we like to say, “Quality in, quality out.”
Outside of quality assurance, standardizing your content can save you time and money. Creating consistent source content means higher translation memory reuse over time. This can add up to significant savings and a quicker turnaround.
Also, streamlining content upfront eliminates the need to address costly mistakes later in the game. It’s much easier to do corrective work early on in the content lifecycle, rather than spend time correcting mistakes close to launch. Consider the soft costs too, such as labor associated with fixing these errors; this is time that could be spent on other core responsibilities.
In addition to safeguarding translation quality, standardizing content saves you a lot of time in the long run. When linguists only have one version of a phrase to translate, and terms can be derived from translation memory, projects can usually be completed faster. This helps provide predictability and quicker time to market.
Now that we’ve covered why it’s important to standardize your writing, let’s address how to improve your processes.
First, look at who’s developing content and for what purposes. Are there certain phrases or words that you always want to be the same, such as product and company names or taglines? Are there terms and phrases your department frequently uses that could be standardized? What about style, formatting or tone in your messaging?
Once you have answered some of these questions, it is time to create style guides or glossaries (more on this below!) to help you derive already-approved content from the beginning, across all authors and business units for optimal translation quality.
After looking at your current authoring process, it’s important to think about how your content will come across during translation. Teach content authors to write for translation and set your linguists up to win.
Best practices for writing for translation include:
Style guides and glossaries are important resources for standardizing source content and achieving higher translation quality. These tools help everyone involved to understand how content should be written throughout your organization.
If the idea of overhauling your content process from start to finish seems overwhelming, we are happy to assist. Amplexor can help assess your current state as far as content volume and commonly used words and phrases. We can also help create translation style guides and glossaries.
Through the right set of expert translation and localization services and the most advanced linguistic technology, we help you to reach your customers, partners and employees successfully, ensuring meaningful localized messages in any language.