Branding And House Style

- Matching the source format in translation

Let's Speak.

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Branding And House Style

- Matching the source format in translation

Let's Speak.

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Branding & House Style

So you have commissioned better languages to translate a number of documents for you, how will our work affect your chosen house style?

1) Following the source format

The general rule is that our translators will match the format and style of the original text. This means that if the source text is in your preferred house style, the translation will be a close match. Conversely, if the source text doesn’t match your preferred style, the translation isn’t likely to be either. Please bear this in mind when ordering. Being clear in your specification when ordering will help us to match your requirements. When we work regularly with clients, we build up a knowledge of your individual needs.

2) Language specific rules

Please note that some rules of language change from one language to another. For example French often has a space before punctuation, such as when a colon appears, this is different to English. Spanish has inverted question marks and exclamation marks at the beginning of the relevant phrase.

3) Displaying numerals

There are often different conventions for displaying numerals. Even things like date format can vary, such as in US English the convention is month – day – year, so 12/30/2010 whereas British English uses the format day – month – year so the same example as before would be 30/12/2010. Not a big difference? Well with medicines or food with sell by dates for example, it could result in the product being unable to be sold, or worse, in serious risk to human health.

4) Capitalisation

So what is your corporate view of capitalisation in headings? In English it can look quite nice to have all lettering in lower case, but this will cause problems in German, which uses much more capitalisation than English. Conversely if you use lots of nice capitals this will be meaningless in Arabic which uses a cursive style, and doesn’t use capital letters.

5) Use of bullets and numbered lists.

It is important to bear in mind how a text will be used, including use of bullets and lists. If your house style is that bulleted lists don’t use sentence case or punctuation, the translations will be fine, until you decide to change the source style. For example, if you decide to use paragraphs to save space, all the translations will need to be checked to ensure that they read correctly, otherwise you could have a good translation reading badly, because sentences start to run into each other.

Summary

The subject of house style and the impact of different languages is a large one, and this page simply serves to show some of the issues. The general rule when ordering translations is to give the clearest possible indication of the intended house style in the source language. If the resultant translations don’t match the original, it is important to ask why, as there may be specific language rules or conventions which need to be different in the target languages.