The Importance of Style Guides in Translating Company Brands

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a company brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of any of these intended to identify the products and services of a company.” A company brand is an effective means to differentiate your company and the kind of goods it produces from other sellers and their products. Every company puts forth effort to develop their company brand, as it is the main source to reach your intended audience. When a company sends its brand for translation into other languages, however, it often doesn’t turn out according to their expectations.

The translated version might be grammatically correct, but if it doesn’t present your company brand as the original version in the source language does, then you definitely didn’t get the services you paid for. If your message gets lost in the translated version and it sounds like a different company, then probably the linguist you hired didn’t understand the style or connotation he might have adopted in his translation. For this purpose, you must provide your translation service provider with a style guide.

Building a style guide for your company can be the best solution for avoiding style errors in the translation. A style guide will help your certified translator get a clear picture of your brand identity so that he can adopt a style which suits your company brand and carries the appropriate  message to your international customers. These were the words of an experienced German translator working for the Birmingham translation house of The Marketing Analysts Translation Services company. Your brand is important because it becomes the identity of your company and it remains in the minds and hearts of your customers. Your brand speaks for the kind of services you provide your customers.

Your style guide should provide a guide to the tone of voice the translated document must covey. All companies want their company voice to remain consistent for all their customers, whether at home or internationally. All international companies have their set standards which do not change anywhere across the world. Your style guide will ensure that your language translator uses the appropriate tone and style in the translation and that your linguist chooses the right vocabulary that best represents your brand.

Your style guide also should contain guidelines about where and when to capitalize letters, what kind of language to use in each kind of translation, and how to address time, money, and weights, for example. Some companies prefer to use a colloquial grammar, whereas others believe that a formal tone and strict adherence to the grammatical rules of language make their product desirable. Your style guide makes clear your preferences as to how your brand’s translation should be conducted. Using examples and illustrations in a style guide can make your guide easily understandable for the linguists.

Many companies find it sufficient to prepare a general style guide for all languages. But some companies take the trouble to prepare multiple style guides, one for each language their content will be translated into. This option demands your time and resources, but it will definitely repay you over time.  If you are having problems making your translation company understand the kind of job you want him/her to do, prepare your style guide right now! You will see a visible difference in the quality of your translations and will reduce the corrections you must make.

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