Everyone needs a little help sometimes. That’s why no software product release is complete without user assistance and support documentation. And any software release that includes multiple markets in multiple languages will, of course, require technical translation of the help section. User assistance documentation translation is usually is the last step before product release, yet this final stage of the release process is complex enough to warrant a process of its own, which can be costly and time consuming if you don’t plan for it. Here are some of our best tips for smoothing the process.
So your business plan is in place and you’re ready to enter new markets. But is your content ready? Developing and managing international content for multiple language markets isn’t something that happens overnight. From creating localization-ready source content to figuring out a content management strategy, there are a lot of factors to consider. But with some advance planning, you can set your international content up for multilingual success. Read on for some of our top tips for smoothing the international content creation and management process.
The devil is in the details in any language, and when it comes to ensuring your brand communicates as clearly in Japanese as it does in English, the style guide is your translator’s best friend.
Creating and maintaining a style guide is a worthwhile investment in your brand’s future. Clarity, consistency, and maintaining an on-brand voice depend in part on access to a central reference for translators as they bring your company’s products and service to life in new markets.
Sure, with infinite monkeys, typewriters, and time you’ll produce a Shakespeare play or two, but can you really gamble your international client base on the idea? In this post, we’ll take a look at why a style guide makes a big difference in localization projects.
Effective communication is a concert of the writer’s and the graphic artist’s distinctive voices, harmonizing to express the same message. Good graphic design echoes the writer’s voice in its own abstract way. While some of the cultural context of language may get lost in translation, internationalization of graphic design, the rich visual component of your communications, will ensure that your brand and your message will reach your global markets and stakeholders.
Despite Europe's economic woes, unemployment remains low in Germany and consumer confidence is on the rise. Germany is the powerful motor driving Europe’s economy forward. If you’re looking for strong purchasing power and 80+ million new customers, this Western European market is not to be overlooked.
To truly connect with German customers and get beyond winging it with your “Genglish,” you’ll want to invest early on in translation for this market. Among your top priorities will naturally be client-facing communications, such as your corporate website, marketing materials and product information.
Attention to detail will definitely pay off as you continually build and refine your German branding. In this post we’ll take a look at five pointers to help you develop your strategy and go to task.
Steve Donlon, Acclaro's Senior Publishing Lead, provides some insights about the complexities of document translation. Anyone who has ever cut and pasted may know that sometimes your expected results don't always appear as expected. Throw in multiple languages and often, problems can multiply. As the business world continues to understand the importance of translation and communication, multilingual formatting is getting easier in some respects, but it's far from a perfect science. Interested in knowing more about what the process entails? Read on for more.
The Acclaro blog is two years old! Two full years of snippets of localization savvy, language, and international business, all for you, dear Mr. or Ms. Acclaro Blog Fan. Since 2010, we've done our best to bring some pizzazz to your international business life, and we hope we've succeeded. Come with us as we take a trip down blog memory lane.
When it comes to translation on a budget, less is more, as we saw in Part One of Localization Cost Savings. The more you can reduce the word count of your content, the bigger your savings—25% fewer words, for example, will earn you a no-nonsense 25% translation discount.
So let’s say you’ve already taken a knife to your content; you’ve gotten rid of verbosity, eliminated text repetitions and honed in on the most essential content for your specific markets. How can you shave additional dollars off of your localization budget and finally secure that executive buy-in to move forward with your project?
Conventional wisdom has it that the best, highest-quality translation method is human translation and editing (as opposed to a rules- or statistics-based machine translation tool, à la Google Translate). Certainly when style and nuanced meaning are important, there’s really nothing that takes the place of the human mind for intelligent, effective, accurate localization. But there’s also a great tool that aids our linguists during translation, adding the power and speed of computers to the fluidity and contextual smarts of the human cerebellum.
That tool is translation memory, or TM, and it helps us create better consistency both within and across projects for our clients. Translation memory can also lower costs and speed up timelines for greater efficiency.
Language is a fluid and dynamic means of communication. Historically, translation has been best performed by human beings who can accurately adapt and express this fluidity and dynamism in the face of the logical contradictions and irregularities that most languages present. However, in recent years, “machine translation” (or MT) has started to come into its own, as its once-stoic technology – the realm of 0s and 1s – catches up to human adaptability.
1. Human Translation
A professional linguist (most often, an in-country native speaker) reviews your project and, using guidelines agreed on beforehand, translates it to the language you require. The goal is to speak to your audience in the most natural, effective way. You can expect human translations to be free of idiomatic errors and to flow naturally and fluently.
In Spanish they say, “Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno.” The good, when brief, is doubly good. Brevity is considered a virtue in most communication circles. In the world of translation, however, brevity is even more: it’s a money saver.
The first thing any localization vendor will tell you about the cost of translation is that it's a direct function of word count. The more words your document, brochure, program, app or website contains, the higher the cost for translating it. Rather straightforward, right?
Containing your localization budget through reducing word count at the pre-translation stage requires a challenging time investment on your part, as no one can really perform an “audit” of your resources in your stead. To execute this effectively, you need either to distinguish between must-have and nice-to-have content through a complete content review, or pare down all of your source texts across the board through avid and diligent editing. It would definitely be easier to simply send all of your files to your language partner and hope for the best.
Yet when implemented, this phase of content review will ultimately pay off two-fold: it will save you a good sum of money on translation across all target languages, and it will make your end product better, since content that has been reviewed with a global audience in mind can be rendered more accurately.
Here are a few ideas for reducing your content as you go global with your program or product.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
What are some ingenious ways to do away with words in the context of your product? You may have the ability to substitute appropriate imagery, for example. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take the example of the Apple iPhone OS. English has the wonderful benefit of offering two practical and short words for the settings buttons: on/off. But in most languages, the translation would occupy the whole width of the phone screen and result in what we call TVA: total visual awkwardness. Here is what Apple did to solve that problem:
Writers these days, whether for websites, software, or documentation, face interesting new challenges when communicating technical material and product info to a broad-based international audience. In a recent article for the Content Wrangler, Acclaro President Michael Kriz offers up compelling insights and ten useful tips to help you create content for your diverse global audience.
As we become an increasingly global economy, there is increasing demand on writers — particularly those who work with technical language that describes products and services — to adapt to the changing needs of companies’ customer demographics. When a product is slated to launch in 20 new markets, and over half of the markets require translation of documentation, it completely changes the game for the technical writer. So, to effectively scale a global business, you and your writers should keep a few things in mind.
1. Use global English – For every native speaker of English, there are about three non-native speakers. It’s important that your communication in English is understandable to all English speakers, which means short, simple sentences and no idiomatic expressions or cultural references.
Guest author Christine Kent is an editor with the Content Bureau, a full-service copywriting agency.
The process of transcreation requires writers and translators to come up with alternatives for the idiomatic and casual language often used in marketing campaigns, particularly for consumer products and advertising. However, for some marketing pieces, the transcreation process can be made vastly easier by simply writing clean, usable copy from the very beginning. In other words, assume that your text will need to be translated down the road, and from the get-go, avoid piling on the clichés and idioms.
(Whoops, I’ve already broken this rule in the line above: “down the road,” “get-go,” and “piling on” would not make life easier for writers doing a transcreation. Lucky for me, we’re not planning to get this blog post translated!)
This “think before you write” approach makes sense for some, not all, marketing pieces. Ad campaigns usually demand highly colloquial language, especially for taglines—better to write them in the fashion required for the initial audience, then recast the copy into another language using idioms that convey the same idea. However, product brochures, fact sheets, and white papers likely don’t require the use of much untranslatable wording, so it makes more sense to tone down the casual lingo in these documents.
We’ve already written about the importance of a glossary and why it’s important to create one before starting any major translation effort — whether it be for technical documentation, marketing communications, web, software, eLearning, or multimedia projects. Now, let’s look at what should be included in a glossary.
What goes into a glossary?
What should a glossary look like?
A glossary can be a complex database or a simple spreadsheet. It depends on your global reach and the size of your overall globalization efforts. If you are just starting out, you may just want to use an Excel spreadsheet. Then you can work your way up to a more complex database.
Those of you who are new to localization may think that a glossary is only used for term papers and reference books. You have yet to discover how this very simple item can revolutionize your daily work life by sparing you countless redundancies and/or inconsistencies in the original English, as well as in the foreign language versions of your products and documents.
Creating a glossary of approved terms in each target language at the beginning of your translation project is essential. It will not only save you time and money (not to mention headaches and sleepless nights), it will also guarantee successful branding of your products in foreign markets.
A glossary (from the Greek glossa, meaning obsolete or foreign word), ensures a consistent style and voice, an accurate rendering of the original text and a level of translation quality that is even throughout. Glossaries are especially critical in the case of technical translations and marketing communications, but should really be employed for any localization project.
When you think of certain brands, you automatically think of high quality. You trust that brand and its products or services. You may pay a little more for it (the $100,000 Porsche, for instance). You may recommend it to a colleague or friend.
Quality can be more than the physical craftsmanship of a product or the expertise of a particular service. It can also be linguistic. Linguistic quality assurance (QA) goes the extra step to make your brand stand out among your competitors in any language. Instead of just getting the general meaning across, with linguistic QA you now have more clarity, eloquence and adherence to your overall brand guidelines. Linguistic QA is a best practice for anything that is translated or localized: documents, advertisements, brochures, websites, multimedia, software — anything. Even the language jumble of the sign above needs linguistic QA!
Professional translation ensures a correct translation, but when coupled with QA, it really makes it shine. If you’ve done your translation internally or through in-country partners, you should consider professional QA to double check that the overall meaning follows the original content, that the brand personality is adhered to, and that the translation is of the highest quality.
Last week Acclaro held a webinar on the basics of technical document localization. We touched on a lot of areas in document translation, including how to write in Global English, best practices for images, and an overview of the document localization process.
One burning question many people have concerns file formats and desktop applications — specifically, what they can do to make the localization process easier.
First, let's just note that if you aren't using XML, you should! XML is by far the best file format for localizers to work with on large documentation projects:
XML and to a lesser extent HTML (it's not as customizable) are great tools to use for document localization. Formatting is embedded in code that typically gets externalized during the translation process. Because of this the engineering end is lighter as it's less likely to have the same problems as MS Word, FrameMaker, InDesign or Quark. With most XML projects, we've seen that the client remains in control of their docs. Acclaro will execute a quick QA, but once prepped and translated, the bulk of our work is done. What does that mean for you? Fewer costs!
Technical communicators generally write, design, illustrate and conduct research for a specific target audience in a specific country. But what should a communicator do when the product is slated to launch in 20 new markets?
During this live, one-hour session on Thursday, July 22, Acclaro's Ora Solomon and Lydia Clarke team up to share best practices and practical, actionable tips for developing technical communication that can easily be transported across languages and cultures.
This is a must-see webinar for any company looking to launch products and services in new language markets: today, tomorrow, or anytime in the future. Register today to be better prepared for that very moment, and minimize headaches, costs and turn-around times on your project.
Welcome to Las Vegas and the 24/7 craps tables. While not the easiest game to play in the gambling pantheon, craps is the one most like a team sport. Players actively root for one another and often bolster each other’s bets. When a table is “hot”, players scream, holler, give high fives and yes, even do chest butts.
When it comes to the English language, craps has actually contributed its fair share of terms into our day-to-day speech. However, be careful when using craps and other gambling terms in your documents and marketing campaigns that eventually need to be localized. These terms, although common in English, may or may not “translate” well into other languages and may require substantial reworking by a translator, ultimately adding extra time and cost to your localization project. Read more about how to write for international audiences.
Ever notice that when you plan ahead, and do something "right" from the very beginning, you end up saving money?
We have. And if there's one thing we like to emphasize to newcomers to globalizing content, it's to plan ahead. When you know what to expect, you're much more likely to solve problems before they actually occur.
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