Think you’ve got your translation workflow sorted? If you haven’t created a localization style guide yet, think again!

Simply put, this is a unique set of guidelines for translators to follow when working with any of your content. While coming up with these guidelines will require time and effort on your part, we believe the benefits make it worth it in the long run.

So, what do you need to know before you get started? Let’s take it from the top together.

Why do I need a localization style guide?

Entrusting content that you and your team have put heart and soul into can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience. But, when you hire the right translator and provide them with a clear framework, you can breathe a collective sigh of relief – safe in the knowledge that your hard work won’t go to waste.

We’ve mentioned in previous blogs that a localization style guide can help to ensure consistency; no matter who’s working on what – and for what target audience – your brand’s voice will remain strong and your message will come across authentically. Why is this so important? Presenting a harmonious image of your brand will help you to build trust and rapport with customers. In addition, remaining consistent as a brand can help consumers to recognize you within crowded markets. Check out these stats from Renderforest if you still need convincing:

Localization Style Guide

Utilizing a style guide also allows translators to work more efficiently on your projects, thus saving you time and money. All of this makes for an improved workflow, better quality translations and an increased likelihood of converting website visitors into customers.

How do I write a localization style guide?

A good style guide should be comprehensive but concise. It should also set the tone for how you want to come across to consumers. Present your localization style guide in a way that’s easy for translators to follow, so they don’t have to waste time clarifying with you as they work. Including examples to illustrate your points can be a good idea; but, again, keep it short and sweet. Finally, remember that you may want to add or change points in the future, so store your style guide in a place that makes it easy to access, share and update.

Do you want to see how heavy-weight tech companies deal with style guides? Visit this Microsoft page and download a style guide for your language.

What should my localization style guide include?

Localization style guides don’t need to be convoluted, but there are some important aspects that should always be present. Read on for our advice on what to include!

#1. Brand Overview

It’s a good idea to give the translator a brief overview of what your brand stands for. What kind of products or services do you offer? Who do you generally cater for? What do you want consumers to know about you? That way, the translator can fuse their knowledge of the target market with knowledge of your brand to come up with great quality material.

#2. Writing Style

Here, you can indicate whether you want the tone of your content to be formal, informal, or somewhere in between. Translators will need to decide, for instance, which version of the word ‘you’ to use when localizing. More than that; they will need a nuanced understanding of how to address your readers.

You may also wish to specify sentence lengths, as well as how closely the translated text should stick to the original source material. While you don’t want to limit artistic freedom too much – especially with transcreation – being clear about what you want from the get-go will save on edits and make for a smoother process all round.

#3. Formatting and Typography

This is vital when it comes to global marketing, where things like currency enter the equation. While this isn’t necessarily designed to be a grammar guide, it’s important to lay out some ground rules in order to achieve consistency across projects. Be sure to clarify any possible discrepancies that could arise, including date format, use of punctuation, capitalization, acronyms and abbreviations. This will all depend on a combination of personal preference and the rules of the target language, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

#4. Company-specific Terminology

A terminology glossary should go hand in hand with any localization style guide. It’s likely that your translator will be dealing with a lot of industry-related jargon, as well as vocabulary that’s specific to your brand, so providing translators with an approved glossary can help to eliminate confusion. For words that have multiple meanings, it can also provide translators with that all-important context. Again, utilizing a terminology glossary will help to ensure your brand appears unified and cohesive, across all projects and platforms.

How can Text United help?

With our solutions-driven technologies, working a style guide into your existing localization strategy is simple. Our centralized workflow platform puts collaboration at the forefront, making it easy to achieve consistency across projects.

We encourage you to contact our Customer Success team about managed translation services. The preparation of style guides and their continued use by translators is a standard part of our fulfilment process.
Start with TextUnited free trial here.