Blog2018-04-06T12:27:21-07:00
2Jun 2019

June 2nd, 2019|Categories: Localization Tips|Tags: |


The Importance of Context in Translation

 

Context please!

This is a seemingly straightforward request, variations of which are all too common among linguists—myself included. Though perhaps a bit curt, this request brings to light a frequent issue that all translators and reviewers face: the lack of context.

We often see ambiguous abbreviations, unclear phrasing, or even just have a single word, the meaning of which is unclear in isolation. For example, I remember coming across the word ‘Back’ while reviewing a gaming project. Lacking any context, the meaning was ambiguous. It had been translated in the sense of “go back” or “return”. However, after reaching out to the client to receive clarification, it turned out that it was intended to refer to the body part.

Thus, what might be crystal clear to the content’s author or to a client is not necessarily clear to its reader—or in our case, the translator. And such clarity cannot be expected: we cannot know the details of every product on the market, every event, every website.

Segmentation and Lack of Context

Another potential reason that lack of context is such a common issue is the way some modern translation or CAT (computer aided translation) tools work: the […]

28May 2019

May 28th, 2019|Categories: Localization Tips|Tags: |


Levels of formality across languages

Levels of formality are key to define the tone of a given speech. Various writing styles, idiomatic expressions, verbal morphology, and pronoun variations may have a different formality level across languages, countries, social groups, or professional domains. These variations may have an impact on those trying to immerse themselves in a different culture.

Across languages, levels of formality can largely be grouped into four categories: formal, neutral, informal, and vulgar.

How formality is represented in different languages

While some languages reflect their level of formality by merely employing a more formal or informal tone, others rely on specific grammar resources to avoid any kind of ambiguity (eg., variation of the second person pronoun “you”). In this article, we will use English, Spanish and French to explain and give some examples of how formality perception can vary depending on the language.

English, simple but effective

English is one of those languages that can solve its register needs without any specific grammar convention. “You” is the only second person subject pronoun in English language, and verb conjugations rarely vary across different subjects. Thus, formality entirely depends on other syntactic elements. The strategies to reinforce the idea of formal, neutral, informal […]

16Apr 2019

April 16th, 2019|Categories: Localization Tips|Tags: |


How long will my first localization project take?

If you’re new to localization, you may be wondering: how long will my first localization project take? Even if you’ve been translating your content for a while, you may be curious why your first project took longer than those that followed. Let us explain.

When you’re first engaging a professional language services provider, it’s helpful to think of your first project as the foundational steps in a budding relationship. For the relationship to be successful in the long term, it must have a solid footing.

If you’ve envisioned a process that simply involves sending a file to a group of translators, and immediately receiving a translated version in return—think again. While such a process may sound desirable on its face, the reality is that such an elementary model would, in most cases, be a recipe for disaster.

1. Understand the context

A number of steps must be taken in order to set your first project up for success—and to create similar success for subsequent projects.

First, your contact at the language service provider—whether they are an Account Manager or a Project Manager—needs to fully understand the intricacies of your project.

Your contact will inevitably have questions […]

23Mar 2019

March 23rd, 2019|Categories: Localization Tips|Tags: |


What is Terminology Management?

Terminology management consists of two main activities:

  • The ongoing maintenance of key terminology specific to a company’s content
  • The continuous translation of this terminology in multiple languages

Why does terminology management matter?

To establish a successful global brand, you need to address your audience in a clear and consistent manner—in all languages.

Your content, products, and services are unique—and, often, designed and developed with a specific target market in mind. By identifying, defining, and accurately translating the specific terminology used throughout your messaging, you can ensure your brand resonates with consumers across the globe.

Content creators, product developers, and translators must collaborate to maintain a global company’s glossary, ensuring each term speaks to the end-users in a local fashion.

Using consistent terminology allows for smooth navigation across your platforms, and showcases your brand’s professionalism—both within your original content, and throughout its international counterparts. The more intelligible and consistent your global content, the greater weight your brand will be perceived to place on its target markets.

In short, managing your terminology helps differentiate your brand from competitors who may be overlooking this step. Terminology management may not be […]

6Sep 2018

September 6th, 2018|Categories: Localization Tips|Tags: |


Getting Ready for Translation: Glossary and Style Guide

Are you looking to translate and localize your content? Then you should prepare a glossary and style guide prior to starting your first project. This will help you keep consistency and accuracy across your translations.

The style guide will explain your brand’s tone of voice, style, grammar, and any other aspects that you think are worth considering to approach your audience. As every language is different, you can create one style guide for each language.

What does a style guide look like? Well, they come in many sizes and shapes.

Some companies initially build a small group of instructions (“please keep the text informal and young, always convert all measures to the metric system and keep the dates as the English”).

Others gather instructions from authorized sources and build a long detailed document including how to proceed with tag lines, capitalization, names, numbers, dates, et cetera.

One key element of the style guide is the way you wish to address your international audience:

  • Should they use a formal/informal form of address (this is critical in many languages such as French, Spanish, etc.)?
  • Should they be friendly or professional?
  • Should they stay away from technical jargon?

Another […]