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Subject:Translation Info for Style Guide - Results! From:A frog without wings is like a cow without thumbs <JLUBITZ -at- QTIWORLD -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 14 Oct 1996 09:17:30 -0500
Thanks to everyone who sent information/tips about writing for translation! The
following list is a condensed version of the best tips for writing for
1. There should be no text (or as little as possible) in an illustration. This
leaves one area that could be overlooked when translations are performed. (We
currently only put balloned numbers in our illustrations for this very reason).
2. Avoid idiomatic words and phrases (and along the same lines) words with
double meanings - like *invalid*. In this same vein (vane?), stay clear of
unfamiliar acronyms and abbreviations (cm is okay, but TGIF may not be).
3. Use symbols and icons that are universally recognizable - there is an ISO
standard and I think an EN standard that show international symbols. We plan to
explore this for future use.
4. Oriental languages use a double-byte character set (DBCS) that can cause
problems in formatting (especially with Help/other on-line information).
5. Build a list of terms and definitions that are specific to your product(s)
and have these translated first. This becomes a resource for all translations
performed afterward. It's best to get this done early in the process.
6. Use the following estimates for layout considerations for the length of a
document or a line (this is especially applicable for on-line info): French
translates @ ~ 30% longer, Norwegian is roughly 40% longer and German & Dutch
can both be ~ 120-130% longer. It's important to resist hyphenating German or
Dutch as it can change the meaning of a word considerably.
The last tip concerns writing in a style called Basic English, Controlled
English, or Simplified English (from what I understand, these are all the same
thing). Needless to say, it's pretty tough to track down information on
something that has so many *aliases*!! :*) But, I'm trying!
So to David Locke, Joanna Sheldon (who is forwarding this to the Translators
List) Ellen Fenwick, Geoff Hart (I work with a fellow named Geoff ;*), Sally
Yeo, and the infamous *GirlWriter* I thank you! Plus, thanks to everyone who
posted straight to the list!
This should give us a good place to start, but if anyone can dig up any
information on the Basic-Controlled-Simplified English, let us all know! I
got a lot of e-mail from people who said 'I'm really interested in translation
jlubitz -at- qtiworld -dot- com
(In beautiful downtown Sussex, Wisconsin)