Do you need to create editorial style guides for your translations? Do you even need to create editorial style guides for your own writers?
The article linked here clears up the second question. The TrueLanguage team certainly recognized ourselves in a few of these statements. We’re full of opinions about style and formatting. But as the article says, there are plenty of authoritative sources to turn to for answers on those subjects, and we’ll defer to them.
But what about your translations? The answer is the same: absolutely not. Avoid.
You craft your documents with care, and you want to exert that same protection over your content in all languages. This is understandable. But can you speak that language, or read it? If yes, have you ever written in it at length? Going from one language to another involves many small, yet crucial differences that may seem merely cosmetic, but do carry weight. Do you know which French punctuation marks get spaces before AND after, and which ones don’t? How about which languages separate decimals with points and thousands with commas, and vice versa? Do you assume that all those capital letters in a typical German sentence are typos to be corrected? Spoiler: they’re not.
You may or may not know the grammatical ins and outs of the languages you’re translating to. That’s not a problem. Our professional translators know them, that’s part of their job. However, we still need your involvement to keep your translations consistent with your source documents. In place of editorial style guides, we can help you to create content style guides that allow our linguists to shape their work to your message, your tone of voice, and your company spirit. Focus on the substance of your content and the feelings you want to elicit from your readers – let the translation team handle the formatting and editorial nitpick. That’s why we’re here!