Technical Writing and Localization

Freelance writers who write technical documents intended for localization need to pay awareness of much more than verb arrangement and active voice. These types of writers should also focus on rules that make it possible for translators to complement the original document in intent and in structure Best Eye Dark Circle Creams and minimize the expense of these translations at the same time. When We researched articles and books on writing for localization, I did find one interesting fact. Following the rules for localization generally made the document better in English as well.

Some basic guidelines

If you are serious about writing for localization, get this book, The Global English Style Guide: Writing Very clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market. Until you have the book, here are some guidelines to get you started:

Employ shorter sentences. Avoid nested clauses or phrases.
Reuse or repeat as much terminology as possible: phrases, conditions, notes and warnings.
Avoid words who have more than one meaning.
Use subjective as nouns and verbs as verbs.
Use ‘that’ in all those places you were taught not to use the word ‘that. ‘ Removing ‘that’ as we were taught in Freshman English only makes translations more difficult and more subjective.
Avoid idioms. Favor usages that are usually in an ordinary dictionary.
Give clear instructions to the translation agency. Make sure everyone is on a single page.
Retain it simple with shorter sentences

This is always a good writing method. I have found that when I am wanting to write a concept and it the idea just are not able to be framed, I probably need to break in the thought into two or more sentences. It is like trying to put 10-pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag.

Keep in mind that sentence structures, even thought structures, are not the same globally. If you want as direct a translation as possible, do not use a sentence framework that is predominate only in English. It can get mangled fairly easily.

Constant verbiage

This is a great rule in that it helps the translation, helps the readability in any language, and it will save on translation costs. Certainly, you are using the same words for all of your UI regulates or technical phrases but if you act like you start most of your user interface tasks with the same phrase, “On the command bar, select… ” or “At the key window, choose… ” You have just made the author’s job easier, the translator’s job easier, the user’s reading experience easier, and you will not be paying for as numerous “fuzzy complements. ”

This is correct for any words, phrases, paragraphs, such as notes, cautions, and warnings, or any constantly repeated and reused product. Repetition also puts the emphasis where it goes: on the content.

Idioms for the Idiomatic

Several idioms and idiomatic terms are incredibly ingrained in our culture that we get become unaware that they are idioms. My best recommendation is to become aware. Some examples of words and phrases follow:

the bottom line
bear in mind
Also, by using a phrase that has more than one meaning in The english language:

‘since’ when you really mean ‘because. ‘
‘figure out’ when you mean ‘determine. ‘
Rules for the Translation Agency

Guidelines breed consistency and they also set up reasonable expectations for your translated materials. In most instances, you would not want an interpretive translation of technical material. That means that you want your copy translated to match the shape and function of your tasks, concepts and references. I didn’t realize how important all this was until a translation organization, a previously reliable translation agency, totally botched the translation of our recently minted DITA XML data files. They had done fine with the trial replicates and in all languages but most of the completed data files needed to be sent back for them to fix.

First, they said they could handle DITA XML when they really didn’t know very well what it entailed. Using their translation tool, it may have been simple. Strip out the phrase, check the context, translate it, put it back in, no problem. Right? Oh, and validate the reconstructed document against a DITA File Type Definition (DTD). DITA has an element, menucascade, lets you enter a menu item > menus item > food selection item structure.

For example, select File > Print. A number of the files arrived back with, “Select Print out on the File food selection. ” Not so bad. However, a few of these were 3-level cascades and they read like spaghetti by the time they were converted. But worst of all, it broke the code.

Another example of interpretive translation took place in the The german language translation. We noticed that some of the words were partially rendered in boldface font. We use boldface font for selectable UI controls and windows. The translation agency provided a translation of the Results window like this, ‘Ergebnisfenster. ‘ That did not work for all of us style-wise. We checked other German translations from other agencies and located that the norm was, ‘fenster Bilanz. ‘

These are are just some of the examples of deals you must make before you go too far with translations. Here are some suggested actions:

Seek the services of really good proofreaders to review your translated documents against the original English.
Keep a record of any and all disparities between your expectations and the translated documents. Use this list on every new job with every new translation agency.
Create a Glossary of terms. This is an absolute necessity for most translation agencies.
Unwind, have fun. This is easy.


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