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Lingo24 Style Guide for translators

About Style Guides

Style Guides define and enforce rules on language usage, composition and orthography. They’re used by our clients to improve communication and ensure consistency in their tone and message across all their languages and markets.

Style Guides are crucial to completing all tasks. Style Guides are often supplied by our clients and made available to you in Port in the client or project instructions.

When to use the Lingo24 Style Guide?

If a client Style Guide is not provided in the client and project instructions on your Port task, we ask that you follow this standard Lingo24 Style Guide when working with their content.

Lingo24 Style Guide elements

Tone of voice

Organisations will usually speak to groups of people differently depending on the audience. That’s why for your translation to be fully accurate you need to understand and communicate the correct tone of voice intended for the content’s specific audience.

The information below is what we consider to be essential to identify the translation context and determine the most suitable approach for your translation:

  1. Purpose/intended use of content to be translated
  2. Target audience
  3. Tone of voice (e.g. is the content formal or informal, jargon or slang?, what is the form of the address, salutation and closing content?, are there company-specific expressions in the content?).

Lingo24’s standard approach

If the information above is not available, your translation must mirror the style of the client’s source content as closely as possible. You will need to make informed decisions, as a professional translator with the project details and source content in front you, about what tone of voice would be most suitable for the translated content.

Fluency

Maintaining fluency in your translations is about sticking to local language conventions and preferences in respect to:

  • Voice and tense
  • Pronouns
  • Punctuation (e.g. quotation marks, brackets, etc.)
  • Spelling (e.g. diacritical marks, capitalisation, etc.).

Lingo24 standard

Grammar, punctuation, spelling and syntax need to follow the rules and conventions of the target language unless the client shares with you any specific instructions and preferences as part of their project instructions.

Terminology

Names of people, brands, services, products, departments, titles, etc.

You might notice in the content you work with a brand slogan, names of products or services, or people’s names. These are all part of our client’s brand, and just like with fluency, it’s important to get these right to make sure the messaging is clear.

Lingo24 standard

We have a few conventions on how to deal with different proper names:

  • Leave people’s names unchanged.
  • If the target language has an official or widely-used equivalent name for a brand, service, product or similar, the translation needs to reflect that. Otherwise, names of this kind are also left unchanged.
  • There is no need to transliterate for non-Latin alphabet target languages, unless you receive specific instructions in this respect.
  • Titles (e.g. job titles, titles of work) need to be translated using the official equivalent – or, if available, the most widely-used equivalent – in the target language.

Acronyms and abbreviations

Lingo24 standard

We have a few conventions on how to deal with different acronyms or abbreviations:

  • Widely-known acronyms (abbreviations that are pronounced as a word, e.g. “sonar” or “NATO”) need to be localised using the target language equivalent.
  • The approach for acronyms without a recognised equivalent depends on the content, its audience and what the acronym means. Accuracy, clarity and readability of the translated content are key factors in determining how you should treat them.
  • Abbreviations (formed from the first letter of each of the words of a specific name, phrase or concept) that appear in the source need to be translated using the target language equivalent. Other than these, no other abbreviations should be used in the translation.

Locale conventions

Closely tied to fluency are locale conventions. When the client’s audience consumes their content, they expect the content to have the same language structure and signposts that they’re used to – things like decimal points being in the right place and the correct format for the time, date and year. It’s important to apply these features consistently in your task.

Lingo24 standard

If the client has provided no specific rules on locale conventions or if using the source’s format would compromise the meaning or accuracy of the translation, use our guidelines on dealing with locale conventions below:

  • Number format – as per target language conventions for the separation of thousands and decimals.
  • Measurement format – as per the standard measurement units of the target language. You can convert the corresponding value using free online conversion tools. Depending on the nature of the content and the level of precision required in rendering the values, converted values should be rounded up or the exact conversion should be used.
  • Date and time format – as per the standard rules of the target language.
  • Address format – as per the standard rules of the target language.
  • Telephone and fax format – as per the standard rules of the target language.

Without specific instructions and information from the client on local equivalents, the instances below should be left unchanged:

  • Currency exchange rates
  • URLs
  • Addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone and fax numbers
  • Special characters/symbols.

Design

It’s common for our clients to have a particular design in mind for their content when they send it to Lingo24 for translation. They might either want to promote their unique branding, or may have structured the content to convey a particular message using paragraph breaks, line breaks, etc.

Lingo24 standard

If the client does not have any specific requirements around the design of their content then the layout of the translated content should preserve the original structure of the source content. The original design of the content should be maintained unless there are specific source file format challenges (e.g. scanned content, tables, graphs etc.) that require a different approach.

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