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Ten Tips to Make Localisation Easier

Ten Tips to Make Localisation Easier for Designers and Marketing Departments

Localisation can be a real minefield for designers and marketing departments. The multilingual documentation process can be repetitive, and frustrating. The following ten tips will allow you to design, localise and share documents easily, to make life easier for everyone. 

1. Consider the Impact of Your Brand Identity

While it’s recommended to be consistent with your brand identity, make sure you have some flexibility built into it. In certain situations, you may be required to tweak your brand identity to better suit the tastes and preferences of an audience in a particular country. Culture can be complicated; and something that sounds ‘snappy’ or humorous in English, might sound quite different in another language.

2. Create editorial guidelines

Creating an editorial guideline will offer translators, and anyone working on the product, step by step instructions on how to keep the branding consistent with no questions, and therefore delays, on how to proceed. 

3. Microsoft Office

Utilising Microsoft Office allows you to easily share and edit documents that you are working on. It also allows everyone to keep track of edits and comments made. This will ensure that the whole team are working towards the best final product. 

At QuickSilver Translate, we also offer Bilingual RTF files — containing the original text and its translation — which can be easily edited in Word (or similar software) and then simply re-imported back into our specialised software, and into your document.

4. Email

Communication with your translator, or Project Manager, is very important and email is usually the best way to do this. You can send your content as an attachment and include all of the project details in the body of the email. Once it is translated, the finished content will be delivered back to you by email. 

5. Choose fonts wisely

For a consistent brand look, you want to think about utilising the same font across all languages. Remember that not all fonts support all characters: Some European languages use accents and characters not used in English – does your brand font support the French “â” or “æ”, the German “ß”, or the Scandinavian “å”? If translating to Russian, for example, does your brand font have a Cyrillic version? Using a comprehensive font allows your brand style to be adapted easily from language to language.

6. Create a flexible layout

When translating different documentation there are many subtle considerations to think about. Not only do you have to consider whether certain phrases or pictures will work from language to language, but also how much space you will need for the translated text. For example, a Spanish translation will usually take up 30% more space than an English source text. It is worth making your original document spacious to allow for this.

7. Use direct language

To keep the translation process less complex, utilise direct language and avoid colloquial humour, slang, or phrases that might not translate well into other cultures. By considering the translation when you write the copy, you can guarantee you have translation-friendly content. 

8. Don’t rely solely on machine translation

In some circumstances, machine translation can be useful as a starting point. But we would always recommend post-editing by a professional translator — sadly, the machines are not infallible! However, if your copy is more technical, involves specific terminology, or if you wish your content to have an informal, or conversational tone — then you should only use translators who are native speakers of the target language. 

9. Evaluate translations on their own merits

Once a translation is complete and accurate, it is a good idea to give the translated copy a final read-through, without comparing it to the source text. Are you sure that it is phrased in a way native speakers of the language would use? Does it sound right? Does the copy flow?

10. Translation Management System

If you get to a point where email and Microsoft Office are not allowing you to keep track of everything. Look for a translation management system to assist you with the work, and keep everything organised. At QuickSilver we offer a Customer Portal which offers easy access to quotes, invoices, and to your Account Manager. Also, web platforms like WordPress offer Plugins that can manage translation work easily — such as the WPML Multilingual Plugin, which includes a Translation Management system.

Moving forward…

Our world is only going to become more connected. As a business owner, failing to adapt your product to different regions will impact your ability to stay competitive. Take these ten tips to heart and start implementing them into your design and marketing strategy today. Finally, we’re here to help! Contact us for more information.

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