Smartling's Quick Guide To Updating Your Linguistic Assets

Brands should strive to keep their linguistic assets updated to help enable translators to create high quality content.


Translators are highly talented multilingual professionals, but one superpower they don’t have is the ability to read your mind. This is where linguistic assets come in handy.

With a cloud-based TMS, you will absolutely want to provide materials your translators can access anytime, to help them understand your brand voice and terminology.

What Are Linguistic Assets?

A style guide is a collection of rules about your preferences regarding content formatting, writing tone, and overall style. Similar to how marketers reference brand guidelines for colors, fonts, and brand voice, translators appreciate having a style guide to provide direction for their translations.

A glossary is a list of brand terminology in the source language, and can be created for target languages, too. A glossary provides a shared understanding of brand terms to ensure consistency across different languages and pieces of content.

Improving and Updating Your Linguistic Assets

Linguistic assets are living, breathing documents. As your brand evolves, you’ll want to keep these updated. Here are the five things you should spell out in your linguistic assets to give your translators a leg up.

  1. Casual vs. Formal Language
    Is your content addressing millennials with catchy, colloquial language? Or are you crafting formal legal documents? Be sure to clarify your audience and the tone of your content so your translators know whether to use “tu” vs. “vous,” “ciao” vs. “arrivederci” - among other adjustments.

  2. Gendered vs. Gender-neutral Language
    Many languages traditionally default to masculine conjugations of nouns, verbs, and adjectives when the subject is unknown. However, some brands are steering towards more gender-neutral language. Let your translators know what you prefer.

  3. Define specific terminology
    By “experience”, do you mean an adventure? An interaction? Or how about the new user experience of your software? Use the glossary to spell out definitions of terms relevant to your brand and your industry. Your translators can then more easily convey your intended meaning.

  4. Create a blacklist of terms you do not want translated
    There may be some words you want to keep in your source language, like a hashtag, a particular trademarked phrase, or the names of locations. Give your translators the heads up to leave those terms as is in their content.

  5. Create multiple style guides or glossaries
    This may sound like more work, but it can save you a headache down the road. From one language to another, conventions, such as tone, use of formal language, etc. might not be the same. Each style guide should reflect your specific requirements for communicating in that language.

Optimize Linguistic Assets For Success

Now that you know where to begin, it’s time to get your linguistic assets updated!

Linguistic Asset Management is a comprehensive professional service offered by Smartling to make sure you’re positioning your translators to create high quality content so that all of your end users get the brand experience you expect.