A translation style guide is a set of rules for how your organization presents itself textually and visually. Think of it as a guidebook for TWB that includes rules about voice, writing style, sentence structure, spelling, and preferred usage for your organization. A style guide isn’t a grammar manual with the rules of language. It’s a document that helps content creators and translators choose the preferred language elements to communicate with people through our translations more effectively.
A style guide should contain:
- Reference materials. Important background information, the objective or purpose of the material to be translated, how closely to adhere to the source text, and whether the information should focus on information or style.
- Audience. Describing each persona or audience gives a clear picture of the prospective recipient of the translation, and allows for informed decisions to be made.
- Spelling. The correct spellings of any words that are frequently misspelled, or alternate spellings for various audiences (US and UK). This section will be supplemented by a glossary or term base.
- Usage, punctuation, and grammar. Guidance on the common mistakes to avoid (Capitalization; Citations and attributions; First, second, or third person voice; Jargon, slang, puns, idioms, or culturally-specific references; Numerals, especially in currency; Slogans and headlines, etc.).
- Voice and tone. This information ensures that the text sounds like your organization. Include adjectives or personality types to explain how the text should sound (Simple language, Technical language, Educational language, Academic or traditional language, Conversational tone, Authoritative tone, Neutral tone, Sophisticated tone)
This is a first list of aspects to take into account, but it could be expanded as necessary. For an introduction to this topic, see How to Create a Translation Style Guide and Terminology Glossary, by Lionbridge.