How to prepare your brand for localization

Assemble a team of translators to create a translation glossary and a style guide.

Translation Glossary

This should give translation instructions for the most important words and phrases on your website, such as your brand name, product names and key features.

Source Term Category Translation Language
Google Brand name Google French
Google Brand name Google German
Calendar Product name Agenda French
Calendar Product name Google Kalender German
computer General term ordinateur French
computer General term Computer German
Basic Create a simple translation glossary

Identify the 10-50 most frequently used terms on your website

Create a spreadsheet with a row for each term

Add a column for each language you're localizing into and establish translations for these terms.
Intermediate Develop your translation glossary

Invest in professional translators and reviewers. Hire language specialists from your new market to translate key terms

Review and update your current glossary. If a new product doesn't match the tone of existing products, create a new product-specific glossary

Choose a terminology management system. Use a high quality authoring tool to manage the translations of your products and services
Full program Manage your translation glossary

Automate your process by adding terms to your glossary during the translation process.

Expand the impact. Create product-specific glossaries

Develop a workflow:

1. Keep your teams on the lookout for new terms

2. Replace outdated terms

3. Gather metrics on key search terms to write SEO-optimized content

Style guide

A style guide ensures consistently written and formatted web and app content. A style guide should establish these key guidelines for translators:

  • Who is the audience?

  • What is your brand's style? (Humorous, conversational, professional, etc.)

  • What is the voice? (Always 1st person, Always 3rd person, etc.)

  • What is the tone? (Formal / Informal)

  • How should the content be adapted to a specific culture? (Ex: an Arabic style guide might require the word 'pizza' to be replaced by 'falafel'.)

  • Punctuation guidelines (spacing, quotation marks)

  • Branding elements (unique to the country / language)

  • Formatting instructions (emphasis, fonts, trademarks)

  • Adaptation instructions (how to deal with currencies, addresses, phone numbers)

  • Misc. (any other unique elements that your business would like to insure is consistent)

Basic Create a basic style guide

Gather existing writing and design resources into 1 document

Determine which rules to follow (for example: The Economist Style Guide)

Select 2–3 recently written pieces of content and assess your 'natural' style. Think about your most commonly used words, phrases, and sentence elements

Based on your natural style, create standards for each content type (ex: website, blog, marketing material)
Intermediate Assess your style guide

Review your guide. Get feedback from members of Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, etc.

Align across team needs. Use this to ensure the style guide meets everyone's needs (ex: Legal, Marketing, Sales, Customer Support, Technical)

Maintain your style guide. Ensure it remains useful by regularly reviewing and updating
Full Programme Optimize your style guide

Broaden your base. Create language (and product) specific style guides

Publish your guide. Host it on a platform that all stakeholders can access

Onboard new users. Ensure new content developers familiarize themselves with it