Get ready to go global – prepare your content for translation

October 2, 2017

Get ready to go global, starting as early as possible, and prepare your content for translation for project success. Translating your marketing content is crucial for engaging global audiences and optimizing business results. Start by defining your company’s localization strategy, selecting the right languages, and setting a budget. Once you have the framework of the project formed, you can work on creating a checklist to guarantee success.

Writing content to be successfully translated involves more than just positioning your message to effectively target your audience’s different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. A good content style guide is essential and preparing your content for translation will help the process.

For planning and creating content that improves translation quality, shortens delivery timelines and lowers costs, we’ve prepared a copy-editing checklist.

Content creation guidelines: 8 key items for your copy-editing checklist

1. Personalize it.

Create content that is relevant to your audience / target personas as this is the number one factor driving content effectiveness. Know your audience and personalize your content to match your company’s brand voice.

Know your target market!


2. Don’t forget grammar and spelling!

Check, and double check, your content. Proofread your text to check for grammar and spelling mistakes as they will not only result in in poor-quality translation, but they will also affect translation memories for future use. It’s not uncommon for your translation team to find errors in the source text however limiting those errors will help you stay on budget and timeline.

3. Is the message clear?

Make sure your sentences are clear, concise and contain proper punctuation. Avoid choppy sentences that can distort the final message and make the meaning of the content difficult to understand.

4. What about readability…

Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague to review your content for readability and objectiveness. Readability in the source files is key to readability in the target file.

5. Let’s talk tech: source file format

Provide original, editable file formats as source documents instead of PDFs. The format of your documents and content is a huge part of project success and working with PDFs is not possible. Pre-processing PDF content into a format that is friendly for computer assisted translation (CAT) tools will increase your translation costs.


6. Don’t overlook the small print: page length and font size

Ensure text fills no more than two thirds of each page. This ensures the number of pages will remain the same for long-running languages. Additionally, don’t use small font sizes as they make some language characters illegible. Chinese characters, for example, are illegible at a six-point font.


Did you know? Most languages are at least 30% longer than English!
7. Images! And graphics

If you use pre-existing graphics and images, ask your translator to recommend solutions (such as a reference table) so readers can understand the meaning of those graphics and how they relate to your message.

8. Automatic formatting

Use the automatic formatting tools available in typing software (e.g., Microsoft Word), such as page breaks, indentation, numbered lists and syllable separation. These tools ensure text is correctly and consistently displayed in translation memory and computer assisted translation tools.

In conclusion…

Preparing content for translation requires a well-planned and structured writing style guide. Too often, translation projects go over budget or translation quality is compromised because the correct processes were not followed. Get in touch with INGCO International now to learn how to prepare your content for translation.