Styleguide FOR

Writing for translation

When creating content that will be translated into Welsh, follow the pointers below to ensure a faithful, easy-to-read translation of your work.

Plain language

Writing in a simple, unambiguous way will help a translator to do their job well, and more easily. Avoid:

  • buzzwords and jargon,
  • metaphors,
  • humour: no underlying sarcasm or in-jokes, and
  • cultural references.

Simple structure

When possible, use a basic subject - verb - object sentence structure, plus modifiers, rather than more complex structures. For example:

[The translator] (subject) [translates] (verb) [the document] (verb object).

The translator [easily] (modifier) translates the [unambiguous] (modifier) document.

Short sentences

Write in short sentences, aiming for an average length of 15 to 20 words. Try to break up long sentences where possible. If you need to use multiple clauses in a sentence, use correct punctuation to guide the translator.

That and which

In English we often have the choice of whether to include relative pronouns "that" and "which" in sentences. But in some other languages, these pronouns are essential for comprehension. Therefore, it's helpful to include them. For example:

Without relative pronoun: The content you wrote is easy to translate.
With relative pronoun: The content that you wrote is easy to translate. (Preferable)

Local references

Before sharing your content for translation, you may want to adapt some information for a Welsh audience. This will be the case if you refer to services local to a particular area in a blog, or UK-wide facts and figures in a press release. For example:

UK-wide audience: Our services reached over 50,000 around the UK in 2019.

Welsh audience: Our service supported over 9,000 people around Wales in 2019.

Accessible content

Whether or not your content is translated into Welsh, the above pointers are good to keep in mind. Following them will help you to write clear and accessible content.

There's more advice on creating accessible content in Writing for the web.