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Best practices for content creation (2/2)

Internationalisation best practices for technical writers

Best practices for content creation (2/2)


Best practices for content creation (2/2)

This is the second part of our article on practical tips for content creation. Following this advice requires minimum effort when compared to all of the advantages it provides: you will save costs, improve the perception of your brand and thus sell more.

Avoid the use of pronouns

It is best to avoid the use of pronouns to refer to nouns from other sentences because of the ambiguity of such constructions. The use of translation memories for that type of formulation may also lead to erroneous translations. For example:

  • ESP: «Límpielo antes de volver a montarlo.»

If the pronoun in this sentence refers to a carburettor, the translation of this sentence in German would be:

  • DEU: „Reinigen Sie ihn, bevor Sie ihn wieder einsetzen.”

The term for carburettor in German is also masculine (der Vergaser), so the use of the masculine pronoun is correct in this case.

However, if the pronoun refers to a choke, the translation of this sentence in German would vary as the term for choke in German is feminine (die Luftklappe).

  • DEU: „Reinigen Sie sie, bevor Sie sie wieder einsetzen.”

To avoid this type of error, it is best to name the item directly:

  • ESP: «Limpie el carburador antes de volver a montarlo.»
  • DEU: „Reinigen Sie den Vergaser, bevor Sie ihn wieder einsetzen.”
  • ESP: «Limpie el obturador antes de volver a montarlo.»
  • DEU: „Reinigen Sie die Luftklappe, bevor Sie sie wieder einsetzen.”

Write complete sentences

Write complete sentences and avoid telegraphic style (“Screw tank cap on”). The omission of articles may lead to confusion, make reading more difficult and depending on the target language, may not be appropriate.

Avoid complex compounds (maximum 5 words)

Try to avoid the use of complex compounds.

Reuse as much as possible

Use auto-text and copy and paste functions instead of typing words again, thus avoiding typographical errors. Not only will this result in more accurate texts, but you will also be able to take maximum advantage of the translation memories. In turn, the use of an authoring memory has the same positive effects: increased productivity when writing, more consistent texts of a higher quality and significant cost savings.

Review all content

Review the content from all angles, from both a technical and a linguistic point of view, and always run the spellcheck. Any error in the source document can be multiplied by the number of languages into which it will be translated. Again, these are actions that, just as those mentioned previously, help to improve the quality of your documentation and also reduce the translation costs.

Further reading

Don't miss out on our other posts about Internationalisation best practices:

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