Multilingual Huddle: Designing for Translation

Designing for translation is a way of working that goes beyond translating words. When we think of translation, we usually think we need to only translate text. But what if that isn’t enough?

We live in a world where information is everywhere. We need to capture people where they are, and we only have a few seconds to do that. To accommodate everyone, it’s important to communicate concepts in several languages without unnecessary burdens or expenses. Part of that practice is making a plan at the onset of all content creation.

Before creating any piece of content, consider the following:

  1. Who needs to know this information? Understanding your audience will help you plan the best content for them.
  2. Would non-English speaking groups benefit from it?
  3. If yes, in which languages should the content be translated? (even if it’s not all at once)
  4. Then plan your content with the above answers in mind

Key Takeaways

  1. Text - Take into account the direction and length of text in different languages.
  2. Understand Voice and Tone, and culturally adapt those into other languages.
  3. Use dedicated URLs for each language - refer to ISO standards.
  4. Always write in Plain Language - It’s not only the law, but your best ally to cut down on translation errors.
  5. Pay special attention to images; before choosing an image, ask yourself if they mean the same thing, or send the same message, regardless of culture.

The video below, from the Multilingual Community of Practice huddle on designing for translation, is 26 minutes and 18 seconds long.