8 Tips for Writing Translation-Friendly Content

In a time when businesses aim to target global audiences, it is obvious that a successful content strategy will need to include content in multiple languages. However, not every company has content creators who can make content in several languages.

This is not as big of an issue as it may seem because you can simply hire freelance professionals to translate your content for you. To make the process more effective, it’s best to create content that will be most appropriate for translation. Hence, here are the eight tips for writing translation-friendly content.

#1 Keep Sentences Short and Simple

The first thing you should do is keep all your sentences short and simple. Shorter sentences are usually much easier to translate compared to long and complicated sentences. Moreover, it will be easier for the translator to communicate the exact meaning of the original because a shorter sentence will include only one or two thoughts instead of multiple ones.

Of course, not everyone is used to writing shorter sentences. If you are used to writing lengthy, complicated sentences with multiple clauses, forcing yourself to write shorter sentences can be challenging. Yet, it will definitely be effective for simplifying your content and making it more translation-friendly.

#2 Stick to the Standards of English

Another practice you should adopt is sticking to the standards of English. This mostly refers to the standards of word order and wording itself. Compared to some other languages, English is more rigid when it comes to word order, so it shouldn’t be an issue for you to follow the standard English word order. That being said, try to avoid switching the order even a little, particularly when you want to try less common grammatical forms and clauses.

But what about standard wording? In this case, it refers to using more common words and phrases instead of using special terminology. More specifically, when you want to use medical, technical, etc. terminology. For example, it’s better to use “fast heart rate” instead of using “tachycardia”. Not every translator will recognize the latter term, so they may need more time for research making translation harder and more time-consuming.

#3 Remember Your Target Audience

Even though you are creating content with the intention to get it translated, you still need to take into account your primary target audience. In other words, the people who will be reading this piece of content in English. You might want to only use the English version as a starting point for all the translations, but why not use the original English version as well and publish it like all the translations?

This is precisely why you need to remember your target audience while writing your content. Think about them first – your translators will localize their respective translations for all the people who will be reading the content in other languages. If you don’t know how to write for your audience, you can hire a professional writer from the writing services reviews site Trust My Paper who will help you create your content.

#4 Opt for Common Alternatives

Every time you want to use a fancy word, think twice before doing so. It’s much better to opt for more common alternatives that are easier to understand and translate. Some advanced-level words may have meanings that aren’t present in other languages. Complicated words could also be archaic and outdated which could make your content less readable.

Besides, you could accidentally misuse a complicated word. If you aren’t used to using such advanced, less common words and phrases in your speech or writing, you might not understand their meanings correctly. This will not only confuse your translator, but it could also lead to mistranslations.

#5 Use Active Rather Than Passive Voice

Another way to make your sentences more digestible is by using active rather than passive voice. Active voice makes your content livelier. Moreover, passive voice is often used in for more complicated grammatical forms and clauses, so using active voice will definitely help you make your sentences easier to read and understand. Here are some examples:

  • Don’t: “The company was being managed by Dr. Phillip Dyer.”
    • Do: “Dr. Phillip Dyer was managing the company.”
  • Don’t: “The book was burned by Jerry in the fireplace.”
    • Do: “Jerry burned the book in the fireplace.”
  • Don’t: “The living room and the kitchen have been cleaned.”
    • Do: “The team cleaned the living room and the kitchen.”
  • Don’t: “While the schedule was being made, Maria complained twice.”
    • Do: “Maria complained twice while her roommate was making the schedule.”

#6 Be Consistent with Terminology

As mentioned earlier, you need to use more common or standard English words and phrases instead of special medical and technical terminology (e.g. “fast heart rate” vs “tachycardia”). That being said, if you do need to use some kind of terminology, always make sure to stay consistent with all of it throughout the entire piece of content.

If you start using specific terms at the beginning of an article, you need to be using them throughout the entire article. You can even hire an editor to proofread your content after you finish it. Find experienced writers and editors at the custom writing reviews site Best Essays Education and let them proofread your content to check that you are consistent with terminology.

#7 Avoid Humor, Sayings, and Idioms

Humor, sayings, and idioms are all amazing for enriching your content and making it sound more natural and interesting. At the same time, they could make your text very difficult to translate. This is why it’s best to avoid humor, sayings, and idioms as much as possible, though you can probably use them once or twice.

The reason why these three elements are difficult to translate is that they are often specific to different languages. What is funny in one language and culture might not be funny for someone who isn’t familiar with the said language and culture. Likewise, sayings and idioms are also more difficult to translate because they don’t have direct equivalents.

#8 Proofread and Edit for Clarity

Last but not least, don’t forget to proofread and edit your content for clarity. You are likely already using the tips above to make the most of your writing, but even so, editing your content further will make it even more translation-friendly.

Try to cut out unnecessary words and phrases. Break up long and complicated sentences into short and simple ones. Ensure consistency in the terminology you use. And of course, check that there are no linguistic mistakes or factual errors.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, creating translation-friendly content is better than trying to write content in different languages without having a good level of proficiency in those languages. Use the tips in this article to help you create content that will be easier to translate and start targeting global audiences.

Lafond Wanda is a professional content writer, copywriter, content strategist, and communications consultant. She started young with her writing career from being a high school writer to a university editor, and now she is a writer in professional writing platforms— her years of expertise have honed her skills to create compelling and results-driven content every single time.

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