Four tools for providing context to translators

Accurate, timely translations rely on the context provided. That being said, source content without context can be extremely difficult to translate even for the most experienced native speakers. That’s why providing clear direction by way of instructions or references is vital if you want to achieve high-quality output.

Here at Gengo, we’re constantly seeking ways to enhance the quality, reliability and scalability of translation for all users. That’s why when ordering on our system, there are a number of tools we rely on to improve translation quality.

1. Style guides

Because translation quality can be subjective, a style guide that encapsulates your company’s brand provides translators with enough guidance to ensure that your tone of voice remains intact. This resource can effectively eliminate the time it takes to rework stylistic errors that can be avoided from the start.

Common components of a style guide include:

  • Style and tone of voice
  • Spelling and word usage
  • Capitalization, punctuation and grammar
  • Images and examples


2. Glossaries

Translation glossaries are typically made up of a list of approved, standardized terms in the source language that are industry- or company-specific. Glossaries make the translation process simpler at the beginning by supplying translators with the knowledge of what terminology to use and when to use it, resulting in higher consistency across projects.

At Gengo, we are able to leverage your company’s pre-built glossaries or can help create one by doing an analysis on your content. On our system, you can provide a link to glossaries in the comment section of your job or use our Term Glossary tool, which automatically replaces text.

3. Preferred translators

If you have translators that have previously worked on Gengo projects, and you are happy with their quality output, you can add them as a preferred translator to give them priority access to all your future jobs.

Having preferred translators promotes better consistency in translations, but may increase the time required to complete your job as it depends on the availability of the translators.

4. Supporting contextual information

In the comment section of your job, it’s also helpful to share a few key points about your project so you and the translator are on the same page. For example, what exactly are you translating? Who is your target audience? Do you want a casual or formal translation?

For our API users, our translator dashboard also allows the flexibility to include relevant links, audio clips, photos and videos for translators to access when working on a project. For context-sensitive content like product descriptions, user reviews and stock photography, this feature adds another dimension to aid translators’ understanding, and ultimately improves translation quality.

While creating resources like style guides and glossaries requires a little work upfront, these tools serve as a solid foundation for consistent and high-quality translation. If you have any questions about an upcoming localization project, don’t hesitate to ask—we’re here to help!

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Alex Nguyen

The author

Alex Nguyen

Alex crafts and coordinates content for Gengo’s marketing team. Based in San Francisco after a brief stint in Tokyo, she loves all things culture and design. When not at Gengo, she’s likely brushing up on her Japanese, letting loose at indie electronic shows or trying out new ice cream spots in the city.

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