Global Templates for International Use
When you translate content from one language the translated text will expand or contract. For example, an average, well-written English technical text translated into German expands up to 30% whereas English text translated into Finnish experiences contraction of 25-30%.
To reduce costly layout changes and desktop publishing after the translation is completed, you want to build in flexibility into your templates so that formatting is mostly handled automatically. You should also evaluate which fonts can handle the languages in your target markets.
Global Style Guides
Simple, unambiguous and consistent source material is the foundation for a smooth translation and localization process. You need a global platform that will apply to all writing, but also give room for local variances to ensure you meet local demands. Style guides also address how technical writers can develop content and write texts that are more suitable for a global audience.
The style guide is basically the house rules for language use to achieve consistency. It will include sections such as:
- Product names
- Style of writing
- Correct tone of voice
- Writing to an international audience
- Spelling rules
- Use of active or passive voice
- Rules of punctuation
- Use of italics and bold
XML and Structured Content
Introducing XML authoring where formatting is embedded in the content, but not included in what gets translated, is a tried and tested way of reducing both authoring and translation costs. By also introducing structured authoring, such as the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), an XML data model for authoring and publishing, a company can increase cost savings through:
- Single sourcing – you can use the same content to create books and online information
- Reuse and repurposing – you can organize subsets of the same content for different audiences and deliverables
- Meaningful markup – gives you more useful information, with customizable views and intelligent search
- Interchangeability – based on standards, so can exchange content with others
Venga has extensive experience in managing and setting up technical writing for global companies and we are happy to give you a quote for global templates and style guides.