Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Poll: Do your customers provide style guidelines for your translation projects?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:56
SITE STAFF
Dec 1, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do your customers provide style guidelines for your translation projects?".

This poll was originally submitted by ferreirac. View the poll results »



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:56
Member (2006)
German to English
Style guidelines? Dec 1, 2013

Do you mean that they expect you to follow a certain style of writing?

If they do, they may just as well get a machine translation - we are all individuals.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:56
Member (2003)
French to English
Style guide Dec 1, 2013

I assumed this was referring to a style guide such as the ones published by The Guardian (www.theguardian.com/styleguide), The Economist (www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction) etc. but also by some of the agencies I work for and their end clients.

[Edited at 2013-12-01 10:41 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Dec 1, 2013

All the international organizations I work for provide their translators with style manuals or a collection of style sheets. They have developed these guidelines over the years because they have large teams of translators and need consistency in their documents. We often split up long documents. These manuals cover such topics as word usage, punctuation & capitalization, handling of numbers and currency, scientific notation, internal document formats, and styles for tables, figures, references, and footnotes, to mention a few that come to mind. They may also include a list of common spellings (hyphenation policy, etc.) and abbreviations with their translations and expansions. (I wrote one of these manuals myself - a 200-page tome.)

One commercial agency I work with has a very specific style sheet with a lot of tips and tricks for using MS Word, but none of the others do.


To respond to Michael:

"Do you mean that they expect you to follow a certain style of writing?
If they do, they may just as well get a machine translation - we are all individuals."

I see nothing demeaning about ensuring that documents follow a uniform style. On the contrary, I think translators should take pride in ensuring that their work meets their clients requirements.

As for turning this task over to machine translation, I can say from in my long experience with MT that the machine doesn't catch or correct errors in style. It only churns out what's given to it - garbage in, garbage out!

On the other hand, I use a nice little program called PerfectIt that catches style inconsistencies within a document and recommends changes - bit it's not "Perfect" by a long shot.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:56
English to Polish
No Dec 1, 2013

I work with an agency that has a style guide, but it's only for English, which is not my target language.

I was never asked to follow any style. I think 95% of my agencies wouldn't be able to tell my target language from other Easter European, let alone demand a style and verify whether I follow it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 11:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Dec 1, 2013

They are particularly important in large projects where batches of files are distributed among two or more translators. The ones I use lay down basic stylistic conventions such as capitilization of titles, section titles, etc., use of tenses, punctuation, number/unit rules, "local" or in-house rules, etc. Very much like the one I am using on my current project that will keep me busy until my ski trip in February.

If I get a style guide (preferably 20 to 30 pages at most), I just look through the document a couple of times, highlight the styles/rules/conventions that differ from my own writing policy with a bright yellow felt-tip pen, then place PostIts at these relevant sections and fix these in place with cellotape. PostIts are apt to fall off the page after a while.
A slighly laborious process but effective since you've looked at these sections at least a couple of times which helps you remember them.

However, I have received 200-page style guides in the past and just refused point blank to even begin to slog through the tome and slavishly adhere to all the idiosyncrancies and quirky conventions and exceptions. Either trim the guide down to a more palatable or manageable -- i.e. rememberable -- size, or pay more, or find another translator.

I don't mind adjusting the size of the suit to fit the customer -- I offer "bespoke" translation. However, some customers are just too finicky and picky for my choosing.

[Edited at 2013-12-01 12:54 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:56
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes Dec 1, 2013

Some of my clients require a certain style, especially when it comes to V. O. and literature projects.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
German to English
Can be helpful Dec 1, 2013

A CONCISE style guide (one page or less) can be very helpful in determining how a customer wishes their document to appear, with regard to headings, capitalisation etc. An excessively lengthy style guide, particularly from a new customer when the order is a relatively short document, is best ignored. You promise me 20,000 words, I'll promise to read your style guide!

Steve K.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:56
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes, sometimes Dec 1, 2013

especially for proofreading and localization jobs. I do get overall style guides from some clients, and I agree, they should not be longer than a few pages. that's only acceptable for journalists, i.e the Canadian press Style guide (what we use here in Canada).

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Filipa Plant dos Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:56
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Sometimes Dec 1, 2013

I would say the larger - and possibly better organised - agencies issue these. Essential in my opinion, and quite helpful too. I have two style guides from two agencies which I consult regularly for all my work!!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:56
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Chicago and APA Dec 1, 2013

I proofread several times a year for a client who asks me to check texts against the APA (American Psychological Association) style guide, and another client asked me to use the Chicago Manual of Style for a translation, offering to pay for an online subscription.

I got by with the 30-day free trial, but then decided to buy the Chicago guide hardback myself.

The client asking me to follow APA would have paid for it too, but I had already bought it for another job that never materialised. She pays well already, so I just thanked her!

Luckily, although these guides are American and I normally write BE, I find them easy enough to use - maybe because of my background familiarity with academic publishing way back...

Other clients have sent small style guides of their own, but rarely.

I keep a collection of guides and grammars that I refer to if anyone asks, but most clients simply accept what they get!


[Edited at 2013-12-01 16:11 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Style guidelines Dec 1, 2013

Style is not grammar, not punctuation or terminology. Different texts require different styles for reasons imposed by tradition, corporations, audience and need.

For example, a material datasheet has an informative/descriptive style because it's meant to convey critical information immediately without the need for narrative.

A warning has a different style: it either prohibits a certain action or urges a certain action for the user to take to avoid undesirable consequences.

Notes have a different style: they are informative but not quite essential for the user to know right away.

Procedures have a different style: sequential instructions for the user to follow. Contracts have yet a completely different style to serve certain legal needs. And so on.

A style guide is not about individual style of writing but about a style of writing that serves the needs of the text being written. As a translator, you will either be asked to follow a style guide or contribute to one, unless you are in the literary translation business.

As for me, I usually am the one creating the style guides; but I also participate in projects where I am asked to follow an established style guide. There's nothing belittling, insulting or demeaning about it. As translators, we serve an audience with specific needs. Let's leave our ego aside.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Dec 1, 2013

Not that I recall. My (direct) clients usually leave the decisions about style, register and appropriate vocabulary up to me. If anything crops up that I'm not sure about, I usually try to discuss the options available with them.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Meaning of 'style' Dec 2, 2013

I just now realized that the answerers here who have objected to the idea of 'style guidelines' are understanding the word 'style' in a different sense from the rest of us. It's not about *writing*style, it's about agreed-upon conventions.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elina Sellgren  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:56
Member (2013)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Yes Dec 2, 2013

But often they have been along the lines of "this is how numbers are written and how punctuation works in your native language that you translate into and which you should be a master of but we do not trust your expertise".. but occasionally there are some special rules about how the formatting or some expressions, etc. should be so they are sometimes useful.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: Do your customers provide style guidelines for your translation projects?

Advanced search






Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search