The Importance of a Translation Style Guide

Hand holding a small glass globe

A translation style guide is a critical resource for anyone looking to tailor their brand voice and cater toward a specific audience, whether in healthcare, legal or manufacturing industries. A translation style guide is a resource created by the translation requester, their language reviewers, and a professional translation provider.

Marketing professionals may be familiar with branding and marketing style guides; a translation style guide is very similar to these. Items as small as font style and color palette and as broad as reading level are consciously chosen and discussed in order to make sure that translations match any central corporate publication policies, while meeting the needs of the intended readers of the translated material.

The translation style guide dictates a variety of items that will then be followed by the translator to enable them to translate in a way that will be easily understood and appropriate for the audience who will receive the translation.

What are the Benefits of Creating a Translation Guide?

A translation style guide is used by the entire translation supply chain: project managers, translators, editors, proofreaders, terminologists, and graphic designers to help format and create translated materials which adhere to any corporate publication policies. The team will also make any adjustments needed to make sure that the translations can be understood by the intended recipients.

The benefit is that translations will match all corporate brand and style standards of the company so the translations are the same style, format and design as the original source documents. The translations can be modified in a way to fit the needs of the recipients of the translation, as well as the needs of the publisher.

For instance, a client may be looking to translate materials from English into Japanese and may use a color palette that uses a lot of cream or white shades in their design files. In the US, white is strongly associated with purity, and cleanliness, while in Japan it is often associated with death. When a translation style guide is created, the linguist and client discuss cultural elements that impact meaning, tone and style of the translated material; in this scenario, the translation style guide may dictate other colors in the requester’s branding palette, such as deeper shades of cream, yellow or blue to avoid potential marketing faux pas.

How to Create a Translation Style Guide

When creating a style guide, it is critical to identify whether you have any branding or marketing guides, or glossaries already on hand and in place that govern the publication of your non-translated materials. It is also helpful to furnish any previous translations, or translation feedback you have had, and to discuss what has worked, or what has not worked previously with translations and/or the overall translation process.

Your translation service provider should also ask several questions, and lead a conversation on style, tone and format needed for translated documents, media or other multilingual published projects. You should work together to build the style guide, to reflect any regional or language specific modifications or rules that need to be followed in order to make sure your translated materials are accurate for the audience you are looking to serve.

It is also important to note that a translation style guide is not a one-and-done project but is something that will continually evolve to reflect the changing needs of your international readership. It is a collaborative, team effort that may evolve over time so working closely with a language services company you trust is a must.

key elements to include in your translation style guide include fonts, preferred templates, date formats, addresses, images, and reading level

About Interpreters and Translators, Inc.

iTi’s dedicated and experienced team offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. Do you require translation services to enhance your global marketing and sales initiatives or interpreter services to communicate across languages? We specialize in custom language solutions and work with over 250 languages so regardless of the barrier you face, we will work together in synergy to bridge the gap to ensure success. Please feel free to contact us through a message or by calling 860-362-0812. Our offices are open 24/7/365 so we can respond immediately to your interpreting or translation needs anytime, anywhere.


Latest update: March 29, 2022


Comments are closed here.

  • Join thousands of subscribers to the iTi newsletter for latest industry trends and information.

Recent Posts

Vendor Registration

Select your registration

Interpreter Translator