The Value of Style Guides in Translation

The Value of Style Guides in Translation

Category: Language, Translation Services

A style guide (also known as a style manual) may bring back “the college term paper blues” for you, but for teams tasked with representing your brand consistently, a style guide is a time-saving tool. A style guide provides a set of standards that translators and editors can quickly reference when working on your localization project. Questions about usage, formatting, voice, and terminology can be easily resolved with one of these handy, authoritative guides in place.

A style guide is typically prepared early on in translation projects, as translators first review your content. The guide is intended to give the linguistic team as much background information as possible to ensure that they fully understand the message, intent and nuances of the original text. Not only does this style guide define typographical conventions, but it also explores tone, audience, and medium.

Without a style guide, your brand’s voice could risk coming across as inconsistent or confusing. This is especially true of technical projects, such as the simultaneous launch of a new app or software version in multiple languages. It’s crucial to represent customer instructions with uniform (and familiar) typographical elements.

Translators essentially recreate your company’s work in each language. Even if your project requires a relatively small team, a style guide is a common touchstone. With globally dispersed team members, the style guide provides consistency across the many minds working on your brand’s content.

A good style guide is also like a good business relationship: it grows with and adapts to your needs. It’s not uncommon for style guides to evolve as conventions change and as new languages dictate. With a process in place to compile and roll out new editions of language-specific style guides to global teams, you can feel confident that your brand will convey quality from market to market. After all, quality never goes out of style.

Photo attribution: davidking