English Style Guide to get a quality translation

Languages, Translations
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Translator’s style guide is a document outlining stylistic instructions for use in translation of content into another language.

While many businesses understand the importance of using style guides for the creation of content, many are unaware that similar documents can be designed for translation projects. As a matter of fact, they become even more important when you consider translation of content, since every additional language increases the risk of inconsistencies and errors.

Style guides are indispensable tools that help translators recreate your global brand voice in local markets. Replicating your brand’s look, feel, and overall character in each target market is an important way to cement your global corporate identity and provide a consistent customer experience everywhere.

In addition to the regular contents of a style guide, you need to add localization, language and locale specific information, and to clarify issues that may occur during translation and localization. Showing samples of correct and incorrect language makes stylistic instructions easier to understand and follow.

Quality Department of Ieb Translation Services presents an English Style Guide specially develops to our translator network.

Here we summarize some important tips:

Addresses:

  • Only translate the city (if there exist an accepted translation) and the country names. Street names should never be translated, keep the source format in the target text; i.e. Av. de Mayo 871 will never be translated as 871 Mayo Av.

Capitalization:

  • Capitalize important words in a title. Do not capitalize articles and prepositions (except when they are the first word of the title).
  • Capitalize the main words of job titles (do not capitalize prepositions): e.g. Chief Executive Officer.

Dates:

  • For projects whose target language is English, the date format is MM/DD/YYYY or Month D, YYYY
  • For UK English the format is DD/MM/YYYY or D Month YYYY.
  • Canadian English use both formats. Be consistent through the document. If the client requests a specific format, you will be informed.
  • If the source text does not follow a standard date format in the source language, please, replicate it in the target text (e.g., YYYY/MM/DD). In case of doubt, ask a PM for further instructions.

Job/Academic titles:

  • If applicable, use the official translation or translate to the closest English equivalent.
  • Where there is no direct translation into English, replicate the foreign text in the translation, with the closest English equivalent between hard brackets, e.g. Privatdozent [Professor].

Geographical names:

  • Translate names of countries, cities, seas, rivers, etc. when there is an official/well known translation.
  • For country names, the UN or the EU, for example, are good sources for verifying the translations.

Measurements:

  • Display degrees without a space between the number and the degree symbol (e.g., “45°C”, “113°F”). The same rule applies to percentages (e.g., “100%”).
  • All numbers and units of measurement are separated by a non-breaking space (e.g., “2 cm”). However, if the measurement serves as a modifier, a hyphen should be placed between the two elements. E.g., the 3-ft pipe has a diameter of 1 inch.
  • Do not convert imperial measurements into metric measurements and vice versa, unless instructed to do so.

Numbers:

  • Use a period as a decimal separator (e.g. 8.15).
  • For values less than zero, the period must always be preceded by a “0” (e.g. 0.25).
  • In a sentence, numbers greater than “ten” should be written as figures, but the numbers “one” to “ten” should be written out, unless they appear together with bigger numbers that refer to the same items.
  • For figures of four or more digits, place a comma every 3 digits.
  • When the figure is written out, place a comma between the words as if they were figures (e.g. 25,642 = twenty-five thousand, six hundred and forty two).
  • When writing out fractions, a hyphen should be used (e.g. one-fourth).

Proper names:

  • Keep all proper names as per source file.
  • For non-Latin alphabets, transliterate the name.
  • For international organizations or entities, use the official name of the organization in English (e.g. OTAN => NATO).
  • Translation of names of kings, popes, saints, etc. Use the English standard version (e.g. Papa Francisco => Pope Francis).

At ieb Translation Services, more than 12 million words are translated annually. English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Portuguese and Asian and Arabic languages; all of them in all their combinations.


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