Top 10 Tips for Microsoft Translation into Italian
Are you helping with translation into Italian, but don't have time to study all aspects of the Italian Style Guide? Here are ten of the most important aspects to keep in mind.
1. Microsoft voice
Microsoft Voice targets a broad set of users from technology enthusiasts and professionals to casual computer users. To make language choices that reflect the Microsoft voice, keep the audience in mind. Choose the right words for the audience: use technical terms for technical audiences, but for consumers use common words and phrases instead.
Three principles form the foundation of our voice:
- Warm and relaxed: We're natural. Less formal, more grounded in honest conversations. Occasionally, we're fun. (We know when to celebrate.)
- Crisp and clear: We're to the point. We write for scanning first, reading second. We make it simple above all.
- Ready to lend a hand: We show customers we're on their side. We anticipate their real needs and offer great information at just the right time.
2. A clear, friendly, and concise style
Translating Italian in a way that reflects Microsoft Voice means choosing words and grammatical structures that reflect the same style as the source text. It also means considering the needs of the audience and the intent of the text.
For consumer content, use language that resembles conversation observed in everyday settings as opposed to the formal, technical language that's often used for technical and commercial content. When you're localizing source text written in the Microsoft voice, feel free to choose words that aren't standard translations if you think that's the best way to stay true to the intent of the source text.
3. A natural, everyday tone
Microsoft Voice avoids an unnecessarily formal tone.
In order to support Microsoft Voice for the Italian-speaking audience, use everyday words instead of formal ones, which may sound less natural.
English: to reference
Our style: vedere
Not our style: fare riferimento a
Our style: riuscire a
Not our style: essere in grado di
4. Short word forms and everyday words
In keeping with Microsoft Voice, text written in US English tends to use the short, simple words spoken in everyday conversations. In English, shorter words are generally friendlier and less formal. Short words also save space on-screen and are easier to read quickly. In the Italian translation, the use of short word forms should be limited only to those terms that are common knowledge and whose usage, being well established, is not subject to misunderstandings.
Take care to adhere to the approved terminology and not use different target terms than those that are already established and approved.
Our style: PC
Not our style: personal computer
Our style: app
Not our style: applicazione
5. Localization considerations
Localization means that the translated text needs to be adapted to the local language, customs, and standards.
The language in Microsoft products should "feel" as if it was originally written in Italian, using idiomatic syntax and terminology, while maintaining a high level of terminological consistency, so as to guarantee the maximum user experience and usability for our customers.
6. Approved terminology
Use approved terminology where applicable, for example for key terms, technical terms, and product names. If you feel that an approved term doesn't fit with the Microsoft voice, send your concerns to your project manager.
7. Country/region and language-specific standards
Italian-specific standards should be used at all times, such as for phone number formats, date formats, currency formats, and measurement units.
English (US): 6.12'
Our style: 5,6 m
Not our style: 5.6 m
In most cases, the English conventions for capitalization aren't applicable to Italian. Please use the following guidelines.
- In titles and headings, only the first character of the first word should be uppercase.
- The names of days, months, currencies, languages, and nationalities are lowercase.
- The names of user interface (UI) items begin with an uppercase character. When the name of a UI item is made up of multiple words, only the first character of the first word is uppercase.
- When the name of a UI item is made up of two alternative commands separated by a slash (/), both commands begin with an uppercase character.
- The names of keyboard keys should be written in all uppercase letters.
- Legal documents, such as agreements, licenses, and statements, may include entire uppercase paragraphs or may use uppercase for common nouns. These conventions in the source document may have legal implications and should be retained in the target.
English: Setting Up Printer's Options
Our style: Impostazione delle opzioni della stampante
Not our style: Impostazione delle Opzioni della Stampante
English: Edit Movie
Our style: Modifica filmato
Not our style: Modifica Filmato
Each noun in Italian has a gender, and it can be masculine or feminine. The neuter gender does not exist in Italian. In general, all variable parts of speech should agree in gender (and number) with the noun they refer to. When one adjective, verb, or other word refers to multiple nouns with different genders, choose the masculine form.
English: New documents and dimensions
Our style: Nuovi documenti e dimensioni
10. The subjunctive mood
There are no special guidelines regarding the use of the subjunctive mood in localized content. Standard grammar rules apply. Please note that in oral, informal speech, the subjunctive tends to be replaced with the indicative, but this is still a grammar error, which should be absolutely avoided in written language.
English: I would be happy if you came to my party.
Our style: Sarei contento se venissi alla mia festa
Not our style: Sarei contento se vieni alla mia festa
10+ Use the right reference material
These sources must be adhered to. Any deviation from them automatically fails a string in most cases. When more than one solution is possible, consult the other topics in the style guide for guidance.