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Strategies for Friendly English 
and Successful Localization 
John Collins! 
Senior UX Content Strategist 
www.linkedin.co...
bit.ly/idw14jrc 
@jrc_collins 
2
About me 
@jrc_collins3
Your turn! 
@jrc_collins4
Some groundwork 
@jrc_collins 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDEE | https://creativecommons.org/licenses5/by-sa/2.0/
What is localization? 
@jrc_collins 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDEE | https://creativecommons.org/licenses6/b 
y...
Localization is the process of 
adapting internationalized software 
for a specific region or language by 
adding locale-s...
Why do you care? 
@jrc_collins 
8
Your audience 
@jrc_collins 
9
“Like people, UIs communicate 
through their personality, tone, 
and attitude.” 
Everett McKay 
@jrc_collins 
10
Your brand 
@jrc_collins 
11 
© Derek Gavey– https://flic.kr/p/a8nY4A | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
“Your tone can help you stand 
out from competitors, 
communicate efficiently and 
effectively with your audience 
and sha...
Content trend 
• Moving away from stuffy 
technical jargon 
• Moving toward friendlier, 
more natural language 
@jrc_colli...
@jrc_collins 
http://voiceandtone.com/ 
14
@jrc_collins 
15 
http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog/2014/09/microsoft-moves-away-from-robot-speak-in-its-user-documentation
Business trend 
• Marketing communications 
and technical communications 
converging 
• Rise of content strategy as a 
“th...
Avoid humor 
@jrc_collins 
17
Avoid idioms like the plague. 
@jrc_collins 
18
Avoid casual language 
Right, dude? 
@jrc_collins 
19
Friendly tone 
@jrc_collins 
20 
© Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2...
Friendly tone 
Easy to localize 
@jrc_collins 
21 
© Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.or...
Friendly tone 
Easy to localize 
A house divided against 
itself cannot stand 
@jrc_collins 
22 
© Martin Cathrae– https:/...
Friendly tone 
Easy to localize 
A house divided against 
itself cannot stand 
@jrc_collins 
23 
© Martin Cathrae– https:/...
You serve ALL of your audience." 
@jrc_collins 
24 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/487RqS | https://creativecommons.or...
Proper tone for all 
English! 
Chinese! 
French! 
Spanish (Mexico)! 
Japanese! 
Korean! 
Russian! Etc.! 
@jrc_collins 
25 ...
Proper tone for all 
English! 
Chinese! 
French! 
Spanish (Mexico)! 
Japanese! 
Korean! 
Russian! Etc.! 
Easy to localize ...
That’s all well and good, " 
but how do I do it? 
@jrc_collins 
27
Lay a strong foundation 
@jrc_collins 
28 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDN1 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses...
Lay a strong foundation 
• Establish relationships with translators/ 
vendors 
@jrc_collins 
29 
© Oregon Husky – https://...
Lay a strong foundation 
• Establish relationships with translators/ 
vendors 
• Create style guides for each localization...
Lay a strong foundation 
• Establish relationships with translators/ 
vendors 
• Create style guides for each localization...
Add quality content 
@jrc_collins 
32 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-...
Simplify 
@jrc_collins 
33 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Clarify 
@jrc_collins 
34 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Want to know some secrets? 
@jrc_collins 
35
Secret #1 
Translators can do better " 
job when they have quality 
source content. 
@jrc_collins 
36
Secret #2 
When your source content is 
high quality, it’ll be friendlier, too. 
@jrc_collins 
37
On writing for localization … 
@jrc_collins 
38
Think like a translator 
@jrc_collins 
39 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licens...
Your turn! 
@jrc_collins40
Structure your content 
with localization in mind. 
• Be careful with substitutions. 
@jrc_collins 
41 
© Marshall Astor– ...
{number} results 
Welcome, {name}. 
@jrc_collins 
42 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons...
Structur}e 
your content 
with localization in mind. 
• Be careful with the granularity 
of conditional text. 
@jrc_collin...
Plug the {hardware} into the 
{power source}. A solid green 
light turns on to show that your 
{hardware} is fully charged...
Structur}e 
your content 
with localization in mind. 
• Don’t concatenate text. 
@jrc_collins 
45 
© Marshall Astor– https...
Write for localization 
• Use short, simple sentences. 
@jrc_collins 
46 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | htt...
Write for localization 
• Use consistent terminology. 
@jrc_collins 
47 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | http...
Write for localization 
• Avoid synonyms, equivalents, 
and metonyms. 
@jrc_collins 
48 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr...
Write for localization 
• Foil homonyms. 
• Date 
• Leaves 
• Engaged 
• Net 
@jrc_collins 
49 
© Marshall Astor– https://...
Write for localization 
• Foil homonyms. 
• Point 
• Type 
• Right 
• Stalk 
@jrc_collins 
50 
© Marshall Astor– https://f...
Write for localization 
• Don’t bow to homographs. 
• Read 
• Minute 
• Bow 
• Does 
@jrc_collins 
51 
© Marshall Astor– h...
Write for localization 
• Don’t bow to homographs. 
• Wind 
• Row 
• Sow 
@jrc_collins 
52 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic...
Write for localization 
• Don’t noun verbs or verb 
nouns. 
@jrc_collins 
53 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U |...
Write for localization 
• Re-use content. 
@jrc_collins 
54 
© Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creative...
Your turn! 
@jrc_collins55
Example 
{number} results 
@jrc_collins 
56
Example 
The <person> moved " 
Friday’s game to Saturday " 
due to inclement weather. 
@jrc_collins 
57
Example 
Signing up for our new 
notifications is a cakewalk! 
@jrc_collins 
58
Done? 
@jrc_collins 
59 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/agKR6 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Done? No! 
@jrc_collins 
60 
© Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/agKR6 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Provide context 
@jrc_collins 
61
Loc kit: reference info 
62 
@jrc_collins
Loc kit: reference info 
63 
@jrc_collins
Loc kit: source files & context 
64 
@jrc_collins
Loc kit: handoff sheet 
65 
@jrc_collins
Wait, what happened to the 
friendly, human English part? 
@jrc_collins 
66
Translation 
A faithful and accurate 
adaptation of your text that 
basically says the same 
thing in another language. 
h...
Transcreation 
An adaptation of your text with 
the goal of evoking the same 
reaction to your message from 
readers in an...
Translation 
• Write a simplified English version. " 
Create a second more natural version, 
almost as its own localizatio...
<!-- The “rewards” mentioned here are treasure chests 
full of coins.--> 
<simplified description>Use the hints we 
have p...
Transcreation 
• Write the English you want. 
• Add comments for translators. 
@jrc_collins 
71
Transcreation 
• Write the English you want. 
• Add comments for translators. 
Lots of comments!! 
@jrc_collins 
72
<!-- TRANSLATOR: This comment contains detailed notes for the translation of the "description" string below. 
* "Race to f...
@jrc_collins 
74
@jrc_collins 
75
@jrc_collins 
76
• Slides: bit.ly/idw14jrc 
• Twitter: @jrc_collins 
• www.linkedin.com/in/johncollins 
@jrc_collins77
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Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization (InfoDevWorld 2014)

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More and more companies are striving for a friendly tone with their content. Many of those same companies are taking their content to other cultures with localized content. Those two content goals seem to be at odds.

This slideshow, presented at Information Development World in October of 2014, looks at how to accomplish both goals.

Veröffentlicht in: Technologie
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Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization (InfoDevWorld 2014)

  1. 1. Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization John Collins! Senior UX Content Strategist www.linkedin.com/in/johncollins" @jrc_collins
  2. 2. bit.ly/idw14jrc @jrc_collins 2
  3. 3. About me @jrc_collins3
  4. 4. Your turn! @jrc_collins4
  5. 5. Some groundwork @jrc_collins © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDEE | https://creativecommons.org/licenses5/by-sa/2.0/
  6. 6. What is localization? @jrc_collins © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDEE | https://creativecommons.org/licenses6/b y-sa/2.0/
  7. 7. Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization @jrc_collins © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDEE | https://creativecommons.org/licenses7/b y-sa/2.0/
  8. 8. Why do you care? @jrc_collins 8
  9. 9. Your audience @jrc_collins 9
  10. 10. “Like people, UIs communicate through their personality, tone, and attitude.” Everett McKay @jrc_collins 10
  11. 11. Your brand @jrc_collins 11 © Derek Gavey– https://flic.kr/p/a8nY4A | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
  12. 12. “Your tone can help you stand out from competitors, communicate efficiently and effectively with your audience and share your personality.” Robert Mills @jrc_collins 12 © Derek Gavey– https://flic.kr/p/a8nY4A | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
  13. 13. Content trend • Moving away from stuffy technical jargon • Moving toward friendlier, more natural language @jrc_collins 13
  14. 14. @jrc_collins http://voiceandtone.com/ 14
  15. 15. @jrc_collins 15 http://www.cherryleaf.com/blog/2014/09/microsoft-moves-away-from-robot-speak-in-its-user-documentation
  16. 16. Business trend • Marketing communications and technical communications converging • Rise of content strategy as a “thing” @jrc_collins 16
  17. 17. Avoid humor @jrc_collins 17
  18. 18. Avoid idioms like the plague. @jrc_collins 18
  19. 19. Avoid casual language Right, dude? @jrc_collins 19
  20. 20. Friendly tone @jrc_collins 20 © Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  21. 21. Friendly tone Easy to localize @jrc_collins 21 © Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  22. 22. Friendly tone Easy to localize A house divided against itself cannot stand @jrc_collins 22 © Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  23. 23. Friendly tone Easy to localize A house divided against itself cannot stand @jrc_collins 23 © Martin Cathrae– https://flic.kr/p/a11RAq | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  24. 24. You serve ALL of your audience." @jrc_collins 24 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/487RqS | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  25. 25. Proper tone for all English! Chinese! French! Spanish (Mexico)! Japanese! Korean! Russian! Etc.! @jrc_collins 25 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/487RqS | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  26. 26. Proper tone for all English! Chinese! French! Spanish (Mexico)! Japanese! Korean! Russian! Etc.! Easy to localize @jrc_collins 26 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/487RqS | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  27. 27. That’s all well and good, " but how do I do it? @jrc_collins 27
  28. 28. Lay a strong foundation @jrc_collins 28 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDN1 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  29. 29. Lay a strong foundation • Establish relationships with translators/ vendors @jrc_collins 29 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDN1 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  30. 30. Lay a strong foundation • Establish relationships with translators/ vendors • Create style guides for each localization (including English) @jrc_collins 30 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDN1 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  31. 31. Lay a strong foundation • Establish relationships with translators/ vendors • Create style guides for each localization (including English) • Create localized glossaries @jrc_collins 31 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jDN1 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  32. 32. Add quality content @jrc_collins 32 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  33. 33. Simplify @jrc_collins 33 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  34. 34. Clarify @jrc_collins 34 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/9jFwW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  35. 35. Want to know some secrets? @jrc_collins 35
  36. 36. Secret #1 Translators can do better " job when they have quality source content. @jrc_collins 36
  37. 37. Secret #2 When your source content is high quality, it’ll be friendlier, too. @jrc_collins 37
  38. 38. On writing for localization … @jrc_collins 38
  39. 39. Think like a translator @jrc_collins 39 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  40. 40. Your turn! @jrc_collins40
  41. 41. Structure your content with localization in mind. • Be careful with substitutions. @jrc_collins 41 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  42. 42. {number} results Welcome, {name}. @jrc_collins 42 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  43. 43. Structur}e your content with localization in mind. • Be careful with the granularity of conditional text. @jrc_collins 43 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  44. 44. Plug the {hardware} into the {power source}. A solid green light turns on to show that your {hardware} is fully charged. @jrc_collins 44 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  45. 45. Structur}e your content with localization in mind. • Don’t concatenate text. @jrc_collins 45 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  46. 46. Write for localization • Use short, simple sentences. @jrc_collins 46 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  47. 47. Write for localization • Use consistent terminology. @jrc_collins 47 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  48. 48. Write for localization • Avoid synonyms, equivalents, and metonyms. @jrc_collins 48 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  49. 49. Write for localization • Foil homonyms. • Date • Leaves • Engaged • Net @jrc_collins 49 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  50. 50. Write for localization • Foil homonyms. • Point • Type • Right • Stalk @jrc_collins 50 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  51. 51. Write for localization • Don’t bow to homographs. • Read • Minute • Bow • Does @jrc_collins 51 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  52. 52. Write for localization • Don’t bow to homographs. • Wind • Row • Sow @jrc_collins 52 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  53. 53. Write for localization • Don’t noun verbs or verb nouns. @jrc_collins 53 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  54. 54. Write for localization • Re-use content. @jrc_collins 54 © Marshall Astor– https://flic.kr/p/3TPf3U | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  55. 55. Your turn! @jrc_collins55
  56. 56. Example {number} results @jrc_collins 56
  57. 57. Example The <person> moved " Friday’s game to Saturday " due to inclement weather. @jrc_collins 57
  58. 58. Example Signing up for our new notifications is a cakewalk! @jrc_collins 58
  59. 59. Done? @jrc_collins 59 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/agKR6 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  60. 60. Done? No! @jrc_collins 60 © Oregon Husky – https://flic.kr/p/agKR6 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
  61. 61. Provide context @jrc_collins 61
  62. 62. Loc kit: reference info 62 @jrc_collins
  63. 63. Loc kit: reference info 63 @jrc_collins
  64. 64. Loc kit: source files & context 64 @jrc_collins
  65. 65. Loc kit: handoff sheet 65 @jrc_collins
  66. 66. Wait, what happened to the friendly, human English part? @jrc_collins 66
  67. 67. Translation A faithful and accurate adaptation of your text that basically says the same thing in another language. http://wordtrans.com/2013/06/transcreation-vs-translation/ @jrc_collins 67
  68. 68. Transcreation An adaptation of your text with the goal of evoking the same reaction to your message from readers in another language. http://wordtrans.com/2013/06/transcreation-vs-translation/ @jrc_collins 68
  69. 69. Translation • Write a simplified English version. " Create a second more natural version, almost as its own localization. @jrc_collins 69
  70. 70. <!-- The “rewards” mentioned here are treasure chests full of coins.--> <simplified description>Use the hints we have provided to create the correct sentence. If you pronounce the sentence accurately, you will uncover a square. Some squares conceal rewards. Try to collect as many rewards as you can in the time limit.</simplified description> <localized description>Race to find buried treasure! Use our clues to build the right sentence, and say it correctly to dig up a plot. Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not. Collect as much as you can before time runs out.</localized description> @jrc_collins 70
  71. 71. Transcreation • Write the English you want. • Add comments for translators. @jrc_collins 71
  72. 72. Transcreation • Write the English you want. • Add comments for translators. Lots of comments!! @jrc_collins 72
  73. 73. <!-- TRANSLATOR: This comment contains detailed notes for the translation of the "description" string below. * "Race to find buried treasure!" This is an imperative sentence that we want to sound fun. Completing the game tasks quickly is important for achieving a good score, so "race" was chosen to suggest the time-sensitive nature of the game. * "Use our clues to build the right sentence" The game interface will have icons or graphics on the x-axis and the y-axis. Those icons or graphics are the "clues." We used the word "clue" because it carries some game connotations. The word "cue" or "hint" could also be used, but we preferred "clue." The players will have to use those to create a sentence in their minds. For technological reasons, it can't be just ANY sentence; it must match the sentence Rosetta Stone intends. The sentences are leveled based upon the player's progress in Rosetta Course. See below for slightly more information. * "say it correctly" The speech recognition is listening for the correct sentence and the correct pronunciation. If it doesn't detect the correct items after a certain time period, the game will prompt the player by displaying the text of the expected sentence. If it still doesn't get the correct answer after another certain time period, a native speaker will then speak the sentence. If it still doesn't detect the correct speech from the player, that particular game piece will close and the player can select a new piece. * "to dig up a plot" When the speech recognition detects a correct sentence and pronunciation, the game will see a quick digging animation. If there's treasure, the game will indicate that with graphics and sound. If there's no treasure, that will also be indicated with graphics and sound. The word "plot" suggests a plot, or section, of land, especially on a map. Players will see a map with a 6-by-6 grid. We're using "plot" to indicate one of the 36 squares on the map. The word "plot" in English is kind of a play on words, because it also suggests the concept of plotting something on a map (choosing a course). See note on rhyme below. * "Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not." This is a complex sentence to suggest that some squares (plots) will have treasure, but not all of them will. You have two independent clauses in the English source separated by a semicolon. That construction may not work in all translations; please do what is appropriate for your language. We use "there's" as a contraction of "there is" in both clauses. We did purposely rhyme in English from "plot" in the previous sentence to "not" in this sentence. This was done to make the English source a little more fun and game-like. We realize that the translations probably won't be able to rhyme; if they do, it will be a nice bonus. * "Collect as much as you can" This is an imperative in English. We used "collect" because it sounds like a gaming term in English. Many games have items that the user needs to acquire to gain points, and that is the case in this game. We want this sentence to sound fun, even though we've worded it as an imperative. The user is trying to "collect as much (treasure)" as they can. They earn points for each treasure they find. * "before time runs out" The game is a time-based game. The goal is to collect as much treasure as possible (by speaking correctly and guessing which squares contain buried treasure). * "Collect as much as you can before time runs out." We worded the entire sentence this way because we are trying to cover multiple use cases. In one use case, the player is playing Solo (by themself), so getting a high score is the goal. A successful solo player will quickly build the right sentences and say them correctly, and go through as many of the map squares (plots) as possible. The other use case is a Duo game, where two players are playing together. Each one is trying to get a higher score than the other. They will also have to quickly build the right sentences and say them correctly, but in this game, there is a clearly-defined winner (and loser). We can't really say that in the description, because of the Solo player, who does not have a clearly-defined "win" state. --> <description>Race to find buried treasure! Use our clues to build the right sentence, and say it correctly to dig up a plot. Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not. Collect as much as you can before time runs out.</description> @jrc_collins 73
  74. 74. @jrc_collins 74
  75. 75. @jrc_collins 75
  76. 76. @jrc_collins 76
  77. 77. • Slides: bit.ly/idw14jrc • Twitter: @jrc_collins • www.linkedin.com/in/johncollins @jrc_collins77

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