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Style guide

Learn how to add stlye guides to Lokalise making your content and translations more consistent.

Ilya Krukowski avatar
Written by Ilya Krukowski
Updated over a week ago

This feature is available from the Pro plan and above.

The Style guide feature can help you to make your content and translation more
consistent across your platform. By using this feature, you can upload a regular PDF or a DOCX file containing all the relevant information regarding text formality, tone of voice, context, and so on.

Then, when creating translation tasks within your projects, the uploaded style guide can be provided for your translators. Moverover, if you are creating an AI translation task type, the style guide will also be utilized by the neural network.

Preparing style guide: recommended practices

If you are looking for some best practices on creating style guides, please check out blog post on the topic.

You can also take advantage of our free style guide template.

Developing a streamlined style guide for AI translation systems is essential for ensuring accuracy and consistency. Here are some optimized best practices for crafting an AI-focused guide:

Structure and accessibility

  • Organize the style guide clearly with well-defined sections, using headings, subheadings, and a table of contents for easy navigation.

  • Segment the guide into manageable pieces, focusing on different translation aspects such as tone, terminology, and grammatical preferences.

Conciseness is key

  • Keep the guide concise and focused. AIs process large amounts of information more effectively when it's succinct.

  • Start with a summary of the most critical guidelines, such as major dos and don'ts, preferred tone, and any standout rules.

  • Ensure that your rules do not contradict each other.

  • Ideally, create language-specific style guides rather than general ones. Customize guides for various content types (e.g., marketing content vs. technical content) and different projects.

Prioritize important information

  • Clearly mark the most crucial elements of the guide as "priority" to ensure the AI recognizes and emphasizes these areas in translations.

  • Avoid including irrelevant information.

Localization specifics

  • Lokalise AI is used to translate text only, so your guide should not mention image transcreation, fonts, audio-visual translation, and so on.

  • If you need to standardize certain terms, please use the Lokalise glossary, as the AI will also use entries from there. We do not recommend adding a glossary directly into the style guide.

Provide clear examples

  • Include examples that demonstrate the application of your guidelines. For AI, use inputs and expected outputs to show how each rule should be applied.

Incorporate visual aids

  • If applicable, use visual examples like formatted text to clarify more complex instructions, especially for layout or structured content translations.

Simplify language

  • Use straightforward and clear language to avoid ambiguities, ensuring the AI can easily interpret and follow the guidelines.

Detailed contextual guidelines

  • Provide context-specific rules that help in understanding how to handle various translation scenarios. This includes idiomatic expressions, industry-specific terminology, and cultural nuances that affect the translation.

Handling ambiguities

  • Include guidelines on how to handle ambiguous terms or phrases that might have multiple meanings. This is particularly important for languages with significant lexical ambiguity.

Error correction protocols

  • Outline steps for error detection and correction that the AI should follow, enhancing its ability to learn from mistakes and improve over time.

Dynamic updates

  • Keep the style guide dynamic and open to updates based on new data, changes in language use, or feedback from outputs.

What to include in the style guide?

To ensure clear, accurate, and culturally appropriate translations, a comprehensive style guide tailored for AI needs to include specific sections that address all aspects of language use. Here's what should be included:

  • Grammar and style

    • Provide detailed guidelines on sentence structure and correct use of grammar in the target language to ensure clear and accurate translations.

    • Example: We recommend using the active voice to create a sense of immediacy and clarity. For instance, "We’re processing your order" instead of "Your order is being processed."

  • Formatting

    • This section should specify the correct format for elements that vary between cultures, such as dates and numerical quantities, to ensure they are understood correctly by the target audience.

    • Example: Dates in U.S. English should be formatted as MM/DD/YYYY, whereas in U.K. English, they should appear as DD/MM/YYYY.

  • Tone of voice

    • It’s crucial to specify the tone of voice, especially when translating marketing materials or content that needs to maintain brand consistency. Describe your tone with three to four adjectives and provide explanations to help ensure consistency.

    • Example: Our tone is friendly and conversational. All translated content should reflect a light-hearted and engaging tone, such as saying "Great news! You’re all set and subscribed!" instead of "You’ve successfully subscribed to the service."

  • Cultural references and sensitivity

    • Provide guidelines on how to handle cultural references, idioms, sayings, and other culturally specific elements to ensure they resonate appropriately with the target audience.

    • Example: The phrase "feel like a million dollars" should be adapted to local contexts where the concept of U.S. currency or the idiomatic expression might not be relevant. A more effective translation might be "feel fantastic" or a local equivalent that conveys a similar sentiment of wellbeing.

  • Common translation mistakes

    • Consider including a section that outlines frequent translation errors to avoid, such as literal translations of idioms or culturally inappropriate content.

    • Example: The expression "break a leg," which is used to wish someone good luck, should not be translated literally. It should be adapted to a phrase that conveys good luck in the target language.

Uploading a style guide

Only team admins, billers, or owners can manage style guides.

First of all, you'll need to upload your style guide to Lokalise. To achieve that, click on the Style guide button in the left menu:

You'll be presented with the following screen:

Choose one or more files from your PC to upload. Please note that currently Lokalise supports only PDF and DOCX files up to 5 megabytes. We do not expect you to structure these files in any specific way: they can contain plain text with instructions and recommendations.

Once the files have been uploaded, you'll see the following dialog:

Here you can choose more files to upload or remove the uploaded files.

Once you are ready, click Assign languages:

On this step you'll need to choose a language that the style guide should be assigned to. This is important because the style guide will be assigned to the created tasks based on the chosen language.

Alternatively, you can choose a General guide option from the dropdown so that this guide is automatically included for all translation tasks regardless of the target languages. Please note that a single task may contain multiple style guides as explained below.

Once you are ready, click Save.

Managing style guides

Once the style guide has been uploaded, you'll be able to manage it:

Assigning projects

Let's hit Assign projects because currently this style guide is unassigned and, thus, it won't be added to any translation tasks:

Choose one or more projects from the dropdown. When the projects have been chosen, you'll see them in the list. Click on this link to add more projects or remove the existing ones:

Now, when a new task is created within these projects, the style guide will automatically be added to it. In this example the task target languages do not matter because this is the General guide. However, if you have chosen a specific language for your style guide, it will only be added to the task if it contains the corresponding target language.

Synching with Lokalise AI

If you are planning to create AI-powered tasks and you'd like to include your style guide in these tasks, then you'll need to synchronize the style guide.

To achieve that, click the Sync with Lokalise AI:

Lokalise AI will process your document and summarize it in a more concise way. This process might take a while.

Once it is completed, you'll see the following button next to the style guide:

Click on this button to view the summary that the AI has produced. You can modify this summary as needed and save the changes. This summary text will be used when the AI translation task type is created.

Other actions

To rename a style guide, simply click on the pen icon:

Click on the three dots to the right to view the file, modify the AI summary, or remove the uploaded file:

Assigning style guide to a task

When the style guide is uploaded and assigned to the relevant projects, you can now open one of these projects and create a new task inside as explained in the corresponding article.

If your style guide is marked as a general guide, it'll be connected to the task automatically and you'll see the following notification:

If the style guide is assigned to a specific language, it'll be connected only if this language is selected as a target on the Scope and assignees step:

Please note that potentially multiple style guides can be linked to a single task. For example, if you've uploaded a general guide and a guide linked to the French language, and then chosen French when creating a new task, then this task will contain both guides.

If you've chosen the AI translations task type and previously synced your style guide with AI, it will also be connected to the task and the neural network will use it when working on the translations.

Adjust other task options as needed, and then click Create task.

Using the style guide

So, if the created task has the AI translations type, the neural network will consume the connected guide automatically.

If, however, you've created a regular task with a human assignee, they'll receive notification emails that a new task has been assigned to them. This email will contain a link to the style guide:

Also, assignee can access the style guide from the incoming tasks widget on Lokalise:

Simply click the Download style guide button.

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