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Style guides –
high-quality texts, right from the start

We work with you to create style guides and design guidelines so that you can improve your technical writing and the entire translation process.
Our technical writers have many years of practical experience in different industries, working on a variety of documentation projects.

Creating in-house style guides – where do I start?

In your style guides, you should define your target audience and the typical writing style that your business uses to communicate; including rules for the structure of documents, layout, fonts as well as format specifications. This style guide will also outline the differences in writing style between marketing texts and technical documentation.

The guide should also include writing rules that help to ensure texts are optimised for translation. This is how you achieve consistency in your text creation.

A style guide should not be static; it should be constantly evolving. All questions of language, phrasing or content should be included in the style guide as additional information.

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Writing with translation in mind leads to faster processing times and improved reuse

Source texts that have been written with translation in mind take into account the following considerations:

  • Unambiguous, consistent naming of functions and components reduces the variants in the source and target languages, and therefore leads to higher re-use rates from the translation memory.
  • Texts comprised of short, easy-to-understand sentences are not only better for the end user; they also reduce the effort needed for translation and prevent potential mistakes being introduced through incorrect interpretation.
  • When using a content management system, clear tagging and providing context or previews makes the translator’s work easier.
  • In this way, improved source texts can also reduce the costs and time needed for translation.
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Key benefits at a glance

  • Reduced translation and DTP costs thanks to clear guidelines
  • Higher level of customer satisfaction thanks to clear information that is tailored to your target audience
  • Logical formatting from the very start that pays off time and again
  • Time invested once in careful preparation will always get you to your goal faster

Formatting that is optimised for translation:
Start at the source!

It’s not just about content; the layout and design have to be right too. If the source text formatting has been optimised for translation, you will save time and money when it comes to formatting each and every target language.

  • “Document automation” when using a layout-based creation program, such as FrameMaker or InDesign, reduces the time and effort involved in post-processing in the target languages.
  • Allow sufficient white space for target languages that are longer, such as romance languages, Greek or Russian. In comparison with English and German, these (and many other languages) require more space to convey the same ideas. Final formatting of translations can be particularly labour-intensive if the layout of tables and the size of text boxes are not carefully considered.
  • Use soft returns instead of line breaks in continuous sentences, so that the translation memory system can keep text together. Unity of form leads to clarity of content.
  • Graphics containing text that requires translation: Instead of embedding the text in the graphic, place it in a text box or a legend. This avoids the additional effort needed to include graphics texts in the translation process.

Download white paper – Formatting guidelines

Quality of the source text

Errors and unclear phrasing in the source text often leads to queries, and in the worst case scenario, to poor quality translations. This is why it is worth checking and optimising your source texts. This optimisation is particularly beneficial for multilingual projects: Improving the source language leads to reduced efforts in the many source languages.

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Need more advice and information?
We are here for you!

Hartmut Timmler

Technical Writer
+49 (0) 7031 21 700