This post is part of the Ten Golden Rules of Global Content Strategy series.

The topic of global-ready content is one that I speak and write about all the time. Sometimes, I feel like a bit of a broken record. Yet I still find that customer after customer has content that could be significantly optimized prior to translation.  For those of you new to this topic, there are three main reasons you want to make your content global-ready before you translate:

  1. Save money
  2. Save time
  3. Improve quality

Yes, it is that elusive trifecta: cheaper, faster, better. I’m not kidding: If you optimize your content before you translated it, you will achieve the trifecta. I have written a lot about this topic. For a detailed and amusing explanation, download my eBook. You’ll enjoy it. As a reminder, here are eight simple rules to make your content global-ready now, with a link to previous blog post for each:

Not All Errors Are Created Equal

Keep your sentences as short as possible. Sweetness is up to you.

Creative Writing is a Myth. Standardize.

Say the same thing, the same way, every time you say it. Save creative writing for novels.

Real Editors Don’t Do It Without a Terminology Manager

No one uses your term list and style guide. That’s right. No one.

Use a Red Pen on that Content and You May Lose Your Job

Make sure you have the right tools and that you keep them up to date. In particular, you need a content management system, a sophisticated authoring tool, and a terminology management application.

No Complaining About the Quality of Your Tech Writers. Afterall, You Decided to Outsource Your Docs to ____________ (fill in your country here) in the First Place

The original blog post for this simple rule caused quite a stir. But the fact remains. If you want to pay less money, you are almost always going to get inferior quality. Not always. Almost always. That’s just economics.

If You Write Flabby Copy, Even the Nicest Vendor will Gladly Mail You a Bill for Localization that will Astound You

Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. And when you say it again, use those same few words.

Delay this Product Launch and There is No Next Product Launch

Be sure your processes and workflows include enough time to write and translate your documents without cutting corners. Quality work takes time. Don’t rush it.

Localization is a Team Sport. You Want to Work Alone? Become an Accountant.

You cannot create and localize great docs in a silo. Go make some friends.

If you are interested in global content strategy, be sure to read the eBook or these blog posts for the details of each simple rule. If you put the rules to work and your content gets better, I promise to stop talking about global readiness so much.

Val Swisher
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