Translate style guides

Adapt and translate style guides

Signewords - Translate style guides

Why do we talk about two services: adapt and translate style manuals?

One linguistic service available to clients is the translation of style guides content, also called style manuals:

  • Generally written in the primary working language of a company or project.
  • This text may need to be adapted to their other working languages and utilized as a guide for future translations. 

On the other hand, a translator might be presented with a style guide which they haven’t adapted to their project’s target language before the translation project.

In that case, the translator or team of translators should adapt this style guide specifically to the plan given to them.

When translating texts for a company that has its style guide, it is essential to remember that we must adapt the handbook to the target language before being able to complete the desired translations.

Knowing whether you need to translate style guides

Signewords style guide translation

  1. When translating texts from a company that has a style guide,
  2. it is crucial to keep in mind that you have to make a previous adaptation of the content of this style guide,
  3. to the languages to which we are translating.

Any company or project can have a style guide, so it is interesting to consult with the client before starting each translation or revision work.

Thought, the types of companies that are most likely to have their manual are:

What is a style guide?

Signewords - translate style manual

Knowing what style guides, also called style manuals, are and what we expect from them is fundamental knowledge to be able to translate one.

Ideally, the linguists entrusted with translating a style manual should know what is required to create one and would be able to create or update one given the case.

It is essential to be extremely familiar with the company to whom a style guide belongs to translate its manual.

What you need to know to create and maintain a style guide:

Signewords - adapt and translate style guide

  • Philosophy or message that the company wants to communicate
  • Target audience
  • Required style and desired tone of the text
  • Applicable vocabulary and appropriate language to use
  • Formatting and paragraph stipulations
  • Desired use of capital and lowercase letters
  • SEO and keyword analysis
  • Other aspects such as desired use of quotation marks and other punctuation
  • Any crucial characteristics of the company or project that should be highlighted or taken into consideration for any particular reason

The purpose of style guides is to:

  • Maintain consistency throughout all written and communicative content for a company or project
  • Answer the questions of both current and future writers as they join the team
  • Set content quality standards

Style guides ongoing updates

Signewords - style guide updating

Lastly, style guides must be continuously updated and revised:

  • for each new project
  • and copywriting,
  • including translations.

The same goes for the correct use of translation memories, where we save these files so that translations for a single company or texts concerning a specific project are consistent:

  • so we must follow their patterns and rules to use the appropriate language consistently,
  • however, the style chosen should not be allowed to become archaic. Still, it should evolve with the company, be corrected, and adapt to new situations that we didn’t anticipate in the old version.

Style guides should not be baffling, rigid lists of permanently unyielding rules.

But accompanying the company’s development and its activities, their life cycles must expect:

  • modifications
  • updates
  • edits
  • adaptations

All these factors should be taken into account when embarking on a translation using a style manual:

  • be it the translation of a style manual itself, or
  • of a text involving a style manual to which the translated text must adhere, which hasn’t been translated before and that we must adapt on site.