Re: Translation Info for Style Guide

Subject: Re: Translation Info for Style Guide
From: Simon North <snorth -at- TEDOPRES -dot- NL>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 08:08:58 WET

I'm obviously not going to give you all our trade secrets ;-),
since this is one of the many things that the company I work for
specialises in, but I guess I can give you a few guidelines ...

1. Think carefully about guidelines for (not) using text in
illustrations. This may sound obvious, but I've lost count
of the number of last minute 'additional' translation comes
up because there are captions in figures that also have to be
translated. (this applies tenfold for software screen
illustrations, but that is a project management concern).

2. An old warhorse, be very aware of idiomatic/colloquial word
use and 'loaded' words. You must address these points. Think
also about some of the symbols/icons you use (some, like your
American 'STOP' sign still seem clunky to European readers).

3. Start building a terminoloy list NOW. Pay them extra if need
be, but get your translators to provide translations of the
terms in this list as soon as possible. This will save you
a lot of time, cost and inconsistency later on.

4. Tackle abbreviations. Each language (obviously) has its' own,
but more importantly you need to formalise how you intend to
handle less familiar abbreviations and, especially, acronyms.

5. Layout. You will encounter layout problems at some stage,
depending on whether you intend to issue concurrent language
versions or not. Bear in mind that, for example, French is
about 30% longer than English and, worse, German and Dutch
have very long compound words that look VERY odd if they are
hyphenated using American/English hyphenation algorithms.
Some guidance in the style guide would help.

These are the major points. You should appreciate that the subject
is really a book in itself and these are just the ideas that float to
mind in the quick 5 minutes before I start my working day properly.
I hope they help.

Simon North FISTC; Documentation Engineer, postmaster & webmaster
Tedopres International BV, The Netherlands
snorth -at- tedopres -dot- nl ---- http://tedopres.digi.nl
north -at- direct -dot- iaf -dot- nl OR north -at- knoware -dot- nl
http://heron.tc.clarkson.edu/notices/RESUMES/NORTH_SIMON.JOHN.HTML


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