Now that you're familiar with what Style Guides are and why they're important, you're ready to start building your own Style Guide ready for translation. These are our top 9 tips on creating a Style Guide for translation. Please use them alongside our Style Guide Template.
We can support you in the creation and maintenance of language specific Style Guides, for more information please contact your Account or Project Manager.
1. Localise and adapt
Create localised Style Guides for each of your target languages. This will help you create messages that closely reflect your brand and the needs of local markets. You can involve local experts from within your organisation to make this process easier. While you can use your initial source content Style Guide as a reference, be prepared to significantly adapt (add, remove, customise) it, if you want to create truly useful local Style Guides.
2. Review your brand voice and tone
As a brand ambassador, you’ll have a very good understanding of what the style and tone of voice of your brand content needs to be. You know that your website, branded content, and other communications need to be aligned. Make sure you describe or adapt your style and tone in your localised Style Guides to allow your brand’s identity to come across in any language.
3. Identify and describe your local audience
Consistently re-evaluate whether the local audience in your target market still fits into your categories (gender, age group, interests, pain points, etc.). In the same way that you create your source content with a specific audience in mind, translation choices can be more powerful when they are informed and our translators know whom to address.
4. Categorize your content
Like most organisations, your translation requirements might cover multiple types of content, with different goals and purposes and aimed at different reader profiles. If that's the case, it's worth treating each type of content as a separate entity and establishing separate stylistic guidelines.
5. Add your specific preferences
There are various templates available to help you write your own Style Guide for translation. Some are very comprehensive, others only roughly outline the main components.
Keep in mind that templates are unlikely to cover all your company’s bespoke needs, preferences and requirements. It’s worth making sure to include these in your Style Guide in order to preserve your unique identity. You can create your own writing rules by creating a list of specific DOs and DON'Ts.
6. Be consistent in your writing conventions
Localising the date and time, measurements and number formats, etc., is not only good practice but is also essential for ensuring your translation accurately reflects the meaning of your source content. What you decide to localise here will depend on the purpose of your content and what you want to achieve with it. What’s important is that you record these decisions in your Style Guide to make sure that your translations consistently reflect them.
7. Aim for reader-friendly content
Keep your content free of company and industry jargon and abbreviations and acronyms with no local equivalents. These can confuse or mislead your readers. Where these are required, your Style Guide should include clear instructions on how to localise them.
8. Validate the content with users
The ultimate measure of a Style Guide’s success is the feedback you receive from its regular users. Check in with local reviewers regularly and ask for their impressions on clarity, completeness and user-friendliness. The more content you translate, the more likely it is that your Style Guide will benefit from regular checkups.
9. Keep it relevant
It's likely that some elements of your company’s mission, values or objectives will change over time, meaning your content’s style and tone will adapt accordingly. Make sure to update your Style Guide as well. A translation Style Guide can be one of your most powerful language assets only if it’s a faithful reflection of who you are as a company and how you want to communicate.