Writing style guide for beginners: preparing content for translation

Create content that is compatible with translation tools, increase translation quality and reduce costs with our beginner’s writing style guide.

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Translating your marketing content is crucial for engaging global audiences and optimizing business results. When defining your company’s localization strategy, choosing the right languages and staying on budget is just as important as the accuracy of the translation.

But writing content that can be successfully translated involves more than just positioning your message to effectively target your audience’s different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. A good content style guide is the need of the hour! 

For planning and creating content that improves translation quality, shortens delivery timelines and lowers costs, we’ve prepared a copy editing checklist. 

Content creation guidelines: 8 key items for your copy editing checklist

1. Personalization

Create content that is relevant to your audience / target personas as this is the number one factor driving content effectiveness.

2. Grammar and spelling

Proofread your text to check for grammar and spelling mistakes as they will not only result in in poor-quality translation, but they will also affect translation memories for future use.

3. Message clarity and punctuation

Make sure your sentences are clear, concise and contain proper punctuation. Avoid choppy sentences that can distort the final message.

4. Readability

Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague to review your content for readability and objectiveness.

5. Source file format

Provide original, editable file formats as source documents instead of PDFs. Pre-processing PDF content into a format that is friendly for computer assisted translation (CAT) tools will increase your translation costs.

6. Page length and font Size

Ensure text fills no more than two thirds of each page. This ensures the number of pages will remain the same for long-running languages. Additionally, don’t use small font sizes as they make some language characters illegible. Chinese characters, for example, are illegible at a six-point font.

7. Pre-Existing graphics

If you use pre-existing graphics, ask your translator to recommend solutions (such as a reference table) so readers can understand the meaning of those graphics and how they relate to your message.

8. Automatic formatting

Use the automatic formatting tools available in typing software (e.g., Microsoft Word), such as page breaks, indentation, numbered lists and syllable separation. These tools ensure text is correctly and consistently displayed in CAT tools.


Preparing content for translation requires a well-planned and structured writing style guide. Too often, translation projects go over budget or translation quality is compromised because the correct processes weren’t considered.

If you’d like to learn more about optimizing content for translation tools, download our free ebook: The beginner’s guide to preparing content for translation.

Published on    Last updated on 23/09/2019

#Global Marketing, #Translation & Localization

About the author

Yashaswi Shetty is a Web Content Writer at Amplexor International based in India. Her main areas of focus are writing distinct technical and business content. With over 6 years of experience in IT and English language training, she is currently responsible for content creation and content optimization.