When writing content that’s intended to be translated and localized into different languages now or even at some point down the road, it’s always a good idea to think translation – that is, to think in terms of how easy it will be to express the same ideas and concepts in different languages and how well your target audiences will understand the content.
With our Content Evaluation & Adaptation (CEA) services, our teams of multicultural marketing experts, in collaboration with our translators and editors in the target markets, evaluate and adapt all kinds of content before it’s translated, making it more “translatable” or “localizable”. The translation and localization process will not only be easier and less expensive, but most importantly, it will not sound like a translation and will resonate more with your global customers.
Focus on key areas
It’s important to remember that simple, straight-forward content will always be easier to translate and will save you time, money and resources. Try to keep these things in mind when developing your content:
- Make sure that the content is written clearly and accurately in short, simple sentence structures that will be understandable even by a 10 year-old. The easier the content is to read and understand, the more translatable it will be. It will also be easier to create useful keywords for multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if the content is intended to be used online.
- Avoid buzzwords, slang, colloquial expressions and/or industry jargon that may not be understood by readers in other languages are replaced with translatable terms so that specialized terms and expressions will not lead to confusion.
- Select images and graphics that are appealing and culturally authentic for the target audiences. If not, we recommend other images. Remember: A picture is worth a thousand words.
- Provide context whenever possible, especially for ideas or concepts that require explanation. Items that are irrelevant or that may create ambiguities are flagged.
- Make sure that the content does not contain unclear modifiers or modifier strings.
- Provide wherever possible call-outs for illustrations, photos and graphics.
- Double-check the content to make sure that all terminology including product or service names, parts, etc., is used consistently.
- Use abbreviations and acronyms that are understandable and translatable. More often than not, acronyms cannot be translated and need to remain in the source language followed by explanations in parenthesis.
- Provide a glossary or even a short list with definitions of industry or product specific terminology is provided. This is especially helpful with Instructions For Use (IFU) manuals and product catalogs.
- Allow for plenty of S P A C E for translation expansion, especially for print content such as manuals, catalogs or brochures.
- Allow for sufficient string length for software strings and code.
- Make sure that your ideas and messages are completely transferable to people of other cultures who speak other languages.
- Flag any numerical values that require conversion from imperial to metric.
When we evaluate and adapt content for translation and localization, we address the many “red flag” areas in the content that may cause translation and localization stumbling blocks or hurtles. Using simple content annotation and change tracking tools, we flag these areas and address them with notes and suggestions so that clients can review and approve the changes before they’re actually implemented. It is a collaborative process between intránsol and our clients. We present recommendations with clear explanations and together we determine the best final translation and localization-ready version of the content.
By Jason Wood
CEO & Managing Director