We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king”. When it comes to localization, this statement is especially true since your content will be recreated in multiple languages. If there are issues in the source, these issues will be compounded across all of the languages in your project. Fixing these issues often results in scheduling delays and cost impacts. So, how do you make sure your content is localization-ready?
In the series so far we’ve looked at how you can set SLAs with your LSP, so that everyone involved in a project understands their role and the parameters of the relationship. We’ve also looked at perhaps the most important aspect – getting to know your project manager, building a relationship that ultimately builds trust and understanding on project expectations. This next blog offers a few best practices to consider when creating content that will be localized and help your project go smoothly.
Your source content is where it all starts. Every project decision, from workflow to translator selection, will depend on it. Good grammar is essential, but quality source content requires more than that.
In a perfect world, the content that you intend to translate will be created according to the rules of global authoring (aka writing for translation) from the start. Well authored content is easier and faster to translate, and it leads to consistent and accurate translation.
If the content you want to translate has already been written, there are a few things you can do to prepare it for translation:
- Grammar and structure: This is the most basic aspect of content quality. Correct faulty grammar that may lead to misunderstanding and mistranslation. Word play and rhyme do not translate well, so add notes explaining the intended message.
- Cultural appropriateness: Review your content for cultural references that may be difficult to find equivalents for in the target language, may offend or insult readers from another culture, or just may not apply to the target audience.
- Consistent terminology: Make sure terms are used to express the exact same meaning and term spelling is consistent.
- Style: In addition to grammar, check your style. Is it too informal for some cultures? Does it flow in a logical progression that is easy for most readers to follow?
- Ambiguities: Most of all, you don’t want to make the translator guess. Sentences that are left to interpretation can be misinterpreted and, naturally, mistranslated. Make sure your message is clear so the translator doesn’t alter it unintentionally.
- Layout: When translated, your copy might expand or contract. Shorter text can be easily accommodated, but make sure your layout has room for expansion.