4. Provide Context
To ensure good translation quality, you will need to provide as much guidance and context to your translators as possible. Remember that translators are, in essence, your extended team and they have a critical mission of translating your product and all collaterals into the target language. Think about how much time your team spends on crafting the English copy; your translators are expected to accomplish the same mission of crafting the message in a different language but without this huge pool of background info that you and your team has.
So help your translators be successful. There are a few ways to do so.
If you’re just starting localizing or onboarding a new vendor/translation team, think about how little translators know about your product. They will do some initial research on what the product and company is - but it still incomparable to how much you know about your company and product.
Our recommendation is to have a meeting (online or, if possible, onsite) with your translators, talk to them about your company, your product, your user base, show the functionality. The idea is to give them as much understanding of what they’re going to translate and for whom.
If a meeting is not possible, it would be helpful to record a demo of your product and distribute it among the translators.
It’s even better when the essential information is documented and available to linguists at all times.
Some thoughts on what a style guide should include:
Background information on your company, product, and target market
Information about your brand’s personality, tone, and voice
Guidelines for grammar, written syntax (e.g. how should dates be written), and stylistic preferences
Language/culture-specific information or instructions
In Transifex, you can upload a style guide to be visible to linguists at all times - read how to upload a style guide here.
Glossary, or a termbase, is a set of key terms that should be translated in specific way across all projects. It can include industry-specific terms, DNTs (do-not-translate terms, e.g. you want your brand name to stay in English). It is very helpful to have a glossary in place - to ensure consistency and compliance with the language you prefer.
You can work with your vendor and in-house native speakers/partners to make sure you have the most complete and accurate glossary that translators can further rely on. You can then upload the glossary to Transifex so that it is available to linguists at all times. Read more about how to format and upload a glossary in Transifex.
In Transifex, you can have different glossaries for different projects - although, as with TMs, it is recommended to have one shared glossary across all projects. Learn how to share the glossary here.
After providing the necessary high-level information about your company and product (i.e. style guide and glossary), next step is to provide information on a resource file and even string level.
Our recommendation is to encourage your developers to include developer notes. In Transifex, developer notes are automatically shown to linguists. Learn more about developer notes here.
As an alternative, you can also add String instructions. It is especially useful for short strings (e.g. [example] ) and strings with placeholders (e.g. [example] )
Depending on what you are translating, you may need to keep a translation within a specific character limit in order to not break the user interface. For instance, in menus, buttons, and mobile apps where space is constrained.
In Transifex, you can set up character limits to help translators meet this requirement - learn more here.
For your webapp, you can provide some visual context using the Context for files feature. With Context for Files, you can easily link your localization project with one or more web domains. In just a couple of clicks, your translation strings will appear highlighted within your content, ready for your team to translate — within the visual context of your website and resource files.
You can provide any kind of additional notes and comments in the “Comments” tab. For example, if your in-house native speaker has some feedback to the specific strings, he/she can leave there their questions or recommendations to the translation team. Learn more about the "Comments" feature here.