Authoring Tips

Writing effective documentation is critical to the global market penetration of brands and services. Creation of clear,
concise English language content, without cultural and local jargon, creates a common international platform that will maximise the effectiveness of the translated material, reduce costs and production timeframes. Here are some suggestions in internationalising English source documentation.

Translation mistakes are sometimes due to the source text being ambiguous. Translators use their common sense to appropriately understand the source text, but it is not uncommon that their knowledge of the product/subject does not always allow them to make the right choice. This section contains some tips for authors writing for a multilingual audience.

* Keep sentences short and order the parts of the sentence logically.

* Be clear when using "and" and "or".
A + B or C = A + [B or C]?
[A + B] or C?

* Use articles for clarity.
In the absence of a clear context, articles help understanding the construction of a sentence. For example: "empty recycle bin" is an ambiguous phrase; whilst "empty the recycle bin" or "the empty recycle bin" are not.

* Use appropriate punctuation.
The omission of a comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. E.g. "The file data and directory are located in the Source folder". "The file, data and directory are located in the Source folder".

* Avoid any unwanted line breaks in the middle of a sentence as it might confuse the translator and break the translated text in inadequate places.

* Be careful when using abbreviations or acronyms.
If they are not commonly used (e.g. min., km.), make sure you indicate the full expression between brackets – at least
for the first occurrence. Remember that an acronym can stand for several different expressions in various contexts.

* Use puns and colloquial expressions with care.
There might be no equivalent in the target language. It is important to provide guidance if the translator needs to adapt
the source text to find an alternative. CTC provides in-country reviews of your sales documentation and provides
relevant authoring and style feedback.

* Be aware of cultural differences in communication.
The tone and style used in commercial communication in English might be different in another language (Arabic or Japanese for example). It is not the translator's responsibility to decide what will be appealing to the target audience.
It is the writer's responsibility to take cultural difference into account. CTC provides in-country reviews of your documentation and provides relevant authoring and style feedback.