Marketing your products and services to a global audience isn’t much different than marketing on a local or national scale. You need content—and lots of it. Everything from websites and email blasts to technical manuals and product documentation help you reach your audience more effectively and ensure they’re satisfied with their purchases. Of course, when you’re attempting to reach a global audience with translated content, the usual business realities apply—time is of the essence, and costs need to be kept to a minimum.
The key to meeting these requirements is global authoring, also called “writing for translation.” This is the practice of creating content that is clear and unambiguous in English prior to translation. While that sounds pretty straightforward, there is a lot of work that goes into getting it right.
Establish Global Authoring Guidelines
Taking the time and effort to outline and enforce global authoring guidelines in your organization is well worth it. Even if you never translate a single document, requiring that authors adhere to global authoring standards – as a baseline for all content – results in clear, well-written content that is easier for native English speakers to understand. It also makes content more accessible to the 600 million people worldwide who speak English as a second language. If you do decide to translate your content to make it more appealing to non-English speakers, high-quality global authoring will have a big impact on your translation timelines and budget.
Benefits of Global Authoring
Global authoring increases:
1. Accuracy and quality
2. Efficiency of translation
3. Effectiveness of machine translation
4. Translator queries
5. Risk of rework
6. Turnaround times
Getting Global Authoring Right
At a basic level, writing global-ready content for translation is just good practice. It consists of writing short, simple sentences in the active voice. Global authoring avoids the use of acronyms and abbreviations, as well as culturally-specific references, idioms, jokes, and word plays.
When you adopt global authoring techniques in your organization, the result is clear, concise, and grammatically correct source material that reduces translation complexity to cut costs and timelines, while improving the quality of the finished product. This ultimately makes your content much more accessible for both English and non-English speakers alike, and improves the overall usability of your content.
If you’re interested in adopting global authoring techniques in your organization, watch my recent webcast:
And stay tuned to this blog for more tips and best practices for designing your own guidelines.