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>...I've always heard that "Make sure" is better because it's common English.
However, I have also heard that Latinate words (like ensure) are better for
global audiences because people for whom English is not their first language
will be able to guess the meaning of the word if they encounter it in a
document that is not translated...<
In my department's style guide, we use "Be sure," as a compromise between
stuffiness and colloquialism. "Be sure you can ping to each client before
beginning installation." (Apologies to anyone who winces at "ping" as a verb.)
We use "ensure" when it's a non-human doing the ensuring: "Backing up your data
will ensure that you don't lose important information."
As for translation, it's impossible to write without using some idioms that
aren't precisely literal. "Be sure" and "make sure" certainly aren't the worst
cases that a translator or someone unfamiliar with spoken English would
encounter. I also agree with Mark that >>"Ensure," on the other hand, is a
member of the notoriously confusing assure-ensure-insure troika.<<