Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization

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This slideshow was designed for a 20-minute progression session at the 2014 Society for Technical Communication Summit, presented on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. It's a significantly shortened version of a …

This slideshow was designed for a 20-minute progression session at the 2014 Society for Technical Communication Summit, presented on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. It's a significantly shortened version of a 45-minute session I'll be giving at Information Development World.

Companies are starting to distinguish themselves with a unique, natural English voice and tone, and many companies also realize there’s a growth potential in localizing their product to reach international markets. That leaves a tension for writers of the English content that will be translated for the international markets. Do the writers focus on tone or on writing easily translated content? Those two goals may seem mutually exclusive, but actually, they’re a healthy combination. We’ll look at what localization is and how to create content that’s good for your English-speaking users and well-suited for translation.

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  • 1. Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization John Collins! Senior UX Content Strategist www.linkedin.com/in/johncollins" @jrc_collins #stc14
  • 2. What is localization? •  Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 2  
  • 3. What does the localization " process look like? 1.  Write English source content. 2.  Prepare a localization kit with source files and reference materials (glossaries, style guides, user flows, mockups, additional documentation). 3.  Send to localization vendor. 4.  Receive localized target files from vendor. 5.  Implement localized files into your product. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 3  
  • 4. Why does a technical writer care? •  Provide quality content. ! The user’s success depends on the content you create. •  Eliminate translation problems before they happen. ! You need to provide content as quickly as possible. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 4  
  • 5. Content trend •  Moving away from stuffy technical jargon •  Moving toward friendlier, more natural language @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 5  
  • 6. Challenge •  Write friendly natural language that translates well. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 6  
  • 7. Ways to create friendly, translatable English 7  @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization
  • 8. 1. Write the English you want. " Add comments for translators. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 8  
  • 9. <!-- TRANSLATOR: This comment contains detailed notes for the translation of the "description" string below. * "Race to find buried treasure!" This is an imperative sentence that we want to sound fun. Completing the game tasks quickly is important for achieving a good score, so "race" was chosen to suggest the time-sensitive nature of the game. * "Use our clues to build the right sentence" The game interface will have icons or graphics on the x-axis and the y-axis. Those icons or graphics are the "clues." We used the word "clue" because it carries some game connotations. The word "cue" or "hint" could also be used, but we preferred "clue." The players will have to use those to create a sentence in their minds. For technological reasons, it can't be just ANY sentence; it must match the sentence Rosetta Stone intends. The sentences are leveled based upon the player's progress in Rosetta Course. See below for slightly more information. * "say it correctly" The speech recognition is listening for the correct sentence and the correct pronunciation. If it doesn't detect the correct items after a certain time period, the game will prompt the player by displaying the text of the expected sentence. If it still doesn't get the correct answer after another certain time period, a native speaker will then speak the sentence. If it still doesn't detect the correct speech from the player, that particular game piece will close and the player can select a new piece. * "to dig up a plot" When the speech recognition detects a correct sentence and pronunciation, the game will see a quick digging animation. If there's treasure, the game will indicate that with graphics and sound. If there's no treasure, that will also be indicated with graphics and sound. The word "plot" suggests a plot, or section, of land, especially on a map. Players will see a map with a 6-by-6 grid. We're using "plot" to indicate one of the 36 squares on the map. The word "plot" in English is kind of a play on words, because it also suggests the concept of plotting something on a map (choosing a course). See note on rhyme below. * "Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not." This is a complex sentence to suggest that some squares (plots) will have treasure, but not all of them will. You have two independent clauses in the English source separated by a semicolon. That construction may not work in all translations; please do what is appropriate for your language. We use "there's" as a contraction of "there is" in both clauses. We did purposely rhyme in English from "plot" in the previous sentence to "not" in this sentence. This was done to make the English source a little more fun and game-like. We realize that the translations probably won't be able to rhyme; if they do, it will be a nice bonus. * "Collect as much as you can" This is an imperative in English. We used "collect" because it sounds like a gaming term in English. Many games have items that the user needs to acquire to gain points, and that is the case in this game. We want this sentence to sound fun, even though we've worded it as an imperative. The user is trying to "collect as much (treasure)" as they can. They earn points for each treasure they find. * "before time runs out" The game is a time-based game. The goal is to collect as much treasure as possible (by speaking correctly and guessing which squares contain buried treasure). * "Collect as much as you can before time runs out." We worded the entire sentence this way because we are trying to cover multiple use cases. In one use case, the player is playing Solo (by themself), so getting a high score is the goal. A successful solo player will quickly build the right sentences and say them correctly, and go through as many of the map squares (plots) as possible. The other use case is a Duo game, where two players are playing together. Each one is trying to get a higher score than the other. They will also have to quickly build the right sentences and say them correctly, but in this game, there is a clearly-defined winner (and loser). We can't really say that in the description, because of the Solo player, who does not have a clearly-defined "win" state. --> <description>Race to find buried treasure! Use our clues to build the right sentence, and say it correctly to dig up a plot. Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not. Collect as much as you can before time runs out.</description> @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 9  
  • 10. 2. Write a simplified English version. " Create a second more natural version, almost as its own localization. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 10  
  • 11. <!-- The “rewards” mentioned here are treasure chests full of coins.--> <simplified description>Use the hints we have provided to create the correct sentence. If you pronounce the sentence accurately, you will uncover a square. Some squares conceal rewards. Try to collect as many rewards as you can in the time limit.</simplified description> <localized description>Race to find buried treasure! Use our clues to build the right sentence, and say it correctly to dig up a plot. Maybe there's treasure; maybe there's not. Collect as much as you can before time runs out.</localized description> @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 11  
  • 12. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 12  
  • 13. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 13  
  • 14. @jrc_collins | #stc14 | Strategies for Friendly English and Successful Localization 14