I have said this so many times before: When it comes to localization, keep your content short and sweet. Mainly short. The sweet part is up to you.

Why? Because flabby content is expensive to translate. Let’s review the way you pay for translation. Translation companies charged by the word/by the language. For example, you need to translate 1,000 words into 8 languages. The average cost per word is $.15. The math looks like the following:

1,000 words * $.15/word * 8 languages = $1,200

That doesn’t look too bad, does it? But, let’s say you have 500,000 words. Here’s the math:

500,000 words * $.15/word * 8 languages = $600,000

That’s real money. If you can trim even 10% of your words, you will start to see significant savings:

500,000 – 10% = 450,000 words

450,000 words *$.15/word * 8 languages = $540,000

A savings of $60,000.

To make your content skinny, remove all needless words. A needless word is any word that does not affect the meaning of the sentence. Here are a few examples of flabby sentences:

  • Our software is absolutely the simplest to install.
  • This software is very easy to install.
  • It can be seen that the installation is simple.
  • First, create a new form.

Another place to trim your copy is to substitute single, simple words for phrases. For example:

  • Our software works on a variety of platforms.

Instead try:

  • Our software works on various platforms.

If you eliminate needless words and simplify your writing, your readers will have a much easier time understanding your content. Increased comprehension is a side benefit of writing skinny copy.

I have analyzed over 2.5 million words from over 30 companies. I have found that it is easy to eliminate 10% of the words. Often, we can eliminate 20% of the words. The savings really start to add up.

So, put your content on a diet. Your wallet will thank you.

Val Swisher
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