A Guide to the Benefits of Translation Style Guides
Translation Style Guides: Are They Necessary?
The primary goals that drive any international marketing strategy are the expansion of your consumer base, and subsequently your business revenue. This is achieved through effectively translating your unique brand identity in order to connect with potential consumers in new markets.
A successful marketing approach needs to ensure high-quality translations and the consistency of your message across all platforms, in order to allow you to speak directly to each of your customers as clearly and in the same tone in any other language as you do in your source language and local markets. This is where translation style guides can come in. These invaluable tools offer clear benefits in assuring contextual accuracy and brand conformity in all of your translations.
Translation style guides differ from the widely used terminology glossaries that are databases of key terms used by your brand, as they can also include sets of grammatical rules for linguists to follow when localising your marketing content. These glossaries are imperative in achieving continuity of brand terms, as well as ensuring the effective conveyance of the information presented in your original material. Essentially, a terminology glossary protects the meaning within your content during the localisation process to ensure full comprehension in any language. This is of particular benefit in sectors that require extensive use of industry-specific jargon or phrases.
Brand Style Guidelines
Style guides go even further, as they provide translators with the necessary insight into your preferred brand identity so as to understand not just what, but how you wish to communicate in your new language markets. This can incorporate many different aspects of your branding, including rules for the tone to apply, formatting, structure and, of course, how these elements fit with your wider marketing strategies.
Professional linguists are experts in localising content in such a way as to suit new cultural and language settings. By giving them guidelines for how you wish your company to interact with each new market, you enable them to localize your marketing content even more effectively. This also future proofs your marketing efforts, as if you use content translated by different sources, you can still ensure that your company’s ‘voice’ remains consistent each time.
Should You Use Both Glossaries and Style Guides?
While terminology glossaries are indispensable tools for industry relevance and the consistency of your branding, terms and product names, your localisation team will use translation style guides as a reference point to bridge the gap when translating your marketing material from one language to another. They will use their linguistic skill and cultural awareness to decide how best to address your audience, and refer to the style guide to ensure their approach fully fits with your brand style and that all of your translated content will resonate with consumers in exactly the way you wanted it to.
One of the common reasons why the use of translation style guides can be neglected is that they are often viewed as unnecessarily time-consuming. They require each business to be acutely aware of its own unique branding style, which, for many brands has actually been an organic process that responded to the needs and wishes of each demographic within the local markets.
However, having a universal style guide for all language professionals to refer to will be a valuable time-saver during any localization project. As translators can have their questions answered immediately by your guidelines, this has the dual benefit of eliminating the need for lengthy and often repetitive questions, calls, email chains, etc, whilst also allowing linguists to set about their task with your brand context and preferences already in mind. This removes any need for linguists to attempt to determine what your company ‘style’ is from the source content itself. Naturally, this can often result in varying interpretations of the same sentiment.
The main causes of increased translation costs include editing, revision and the need to relocalise previously translated material completed by another translation service provider to reduce excessive variation in tone, terminology or writing style. If all translators have access to an up-to-date, accurate style guide, such problems can be diminished, saving on significantly more costly than the initial creation of a translation style guide over the course of your international marketing process.
Return on Investment
Enabling your business to have a voice that can be heard in many languages and a product or service that can be marketed in countries and locales across the globe, is one of the greatest benefits offered by translation. In parallel, style guides can ensure that this crucial multilingual communication does not lead to the fracturing of your brand’s message in any way. Consistent use of a style guide for all of your localization needs will allow your business to speak to any market with one voice, in any language. This clearly suggests that translation style guides offer a great return on investment for your business, allowing your international marketing strategies to reach their full potential.