At the start of this New Year, many companies are testing new strategies to make 2012 a better year than 2011. For a company that is looking to expand internationally, translation is a key factor in this process. What many do not know, however, is that the company themselves can help with the translation process.
According to John R. Kohl, author of the book Global English: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market, a document that is written in Global English makes “written texts easier to translate or easier for non-native speakers of English to read and comprehend.”
What is Global English? Global English is a set of guidelines for written English that should be followed in order to publish an easily understandable document. Some of these guidelines are as basic as using shorter, more concise sentences (Kohl suggests 25 words per sentence), while others involve reorganization of sentence structure. For example, when introducing a list in the document, it should be made with complete sentences.
This would be an example of how not to introduce a list:
In addition to invoking, managing, and scrolling windows, the windowing environment can
– customize windows
– manage libraries and files
– search text.
This would be an example of how to introduce a list:
In addition to invoking, managing, and scrolling windows, the windowing environment can be used as follows:
– to customize windows
– to manage libraries and files
– to search files.
By using complete sentences in the list, the translation becomes much easier for translators whose languages have different sentence structures.
So, you may be asking yourself, why should I change the style of my documents just so it is easier to translate? If you keep the guidelines of Global English in mind while writing your company’s documents, the text will be less ambiguous and easier to translate. Not to mention, the translation process will be done quicker and be more accurate!