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Translation Insights

How can UX Writing be integrated into the translation of your digital products?

What UX Writing is and how to translate texts from digital interfaces

The goal of UX Writing, a technique for writing interface content, is to improve the user experience of all digital products. This practice is adopted by designers and publishers of user interfaces (UI) to optimize the interaction between users and products. Translations of UI texts must reflect these guidelines regarding the localization of menus, buttons, messages, notes, terms and conditions, FAQs, instructions, forums and online guides. Let's see some warnings to correctly draft and translate your digital content:

Lipsie - Agenzia di traduzioni tecniche, audiovise e editoriali

11 basic rules in writing and translation

For a clear and effective usable interface

  • Be concise - Concise writing and translation should not convey an idea of limitation; on the contrary, they are synonymous with efficiency and functionality. It uses, therefore, the least number of words, without debasing the meaning of the sentence: every word on the screen must take on a precise and illuminating purpose for the user.

  • Avoid long text blocks - Break up interface text into short sentences and paragraphs to make it easier for the user to understand. Place the most important text in front of the rest of the sentence or paragraphs.

  • Avoid double denials - Double denials cause users to spend more time decoding the message because the cognitive load of the text has been weighed down more than necessary.

  • Start with the goal - When a sentence describes a goal and the action needed to achieve it, always start your sentence with the goal and then explain how to achieve it.

  • Use specific verbs where possible - Specific verbs (e.g. connect or save) for users are more meaningful than those with a broader, generic semantic spectrum (e.g. configure or manage).

  • Avoid overly technical language - UX writing and translation should be as simple as possible. To do this it is necessary to eliminate technical terms and use familiar and understandable words and phrases. Avoid overly technical jargon in error messages. For example, don't use "System error (code #2234): An authentication error has occurred", but use "Login error: You entered an incorrect password".

  • Use numbers - Use digits instead of words even in translation when language allows. Remember that it is a matter of style, not grammatical (even "L'Accademia della Crusca" - Florence-based society of scholars of Italian linguistics and philology - allows it!!!). For example, "You have 2 missed calls" is more effective than "You have two missed calls".

  • Use the mechanism of progressive disclosure - Too much information can tire users. Reveal details only and when necessary. To propose a complete consultation, use links such as 'To find out more'. Progressive disclosure is suitable for mobile UI because designers have limited screen space.

  • Identify interactive elements appropriately - When you are labeling buttons and other interactive elements of a usable interface, use appropriate action verbs; for English translation use: 'Connect', 'Send', 'Subscribe'.

  • Use language consistent with the type of platform - You can't necessarily use the terms you use for a desktop app on mobile platforms. For example, if you design or translate an iPhone app, you don't have to use 'click' but, use the 'tap' command.