Top 10 Tips for Microsoft Translation into Turkish
You are helping with translation into Turkish, but don't have time to study all aspects of the Turkish Style Guide? Here are ten of the most important aspects to keep in mind.
1. Meaning and intent of the original
The word-for-word approach rarely works in translation. The key is to deliver the right meaning and intent with a natural tone while using correct and consistent terminology for each product. Review the source carefully, and communicate its meaning in the translated text, not just the individual words.
You may need to add words to convey the intended meaning, or omit words or phrases that make the text unnecessarily longer. The important thing is to capture the essence of the original, and reflect it in Turkish. As if it were written in Turkish in the first place!
English: This is where you would type the words that you wish to say to your recipient.
Not our style: Buraya, alıcınıza söylemek istediğiniz sözcükleri yazın.
Our style: Alıcıya iletmek istediklerinizi buraya yazın.
2. Preference for Turkish over English terms
English words may be a part of life in multinational companies or among developers. However, the target audience of Microsoft products also includes novice users or less experienced consumers from every aspect of life—such as students and teachers, small business owners, and government workers. This audience may not be familiar with those English words and their pronunciations. Always check recommended references for established Turkish translations of common terms.
For example, the following terms have well-known Turkish translations and shouldn't be left in English: server, client, data, login, format, online, cloud, app, chat, spam, and junk.
Product and feature names may also be localized, but some of them are left in English. Be sure to check the references.
Be brief. Short and clear sentences are easier to understand. Avoid using heavily inflected long words, complex structures, and strings of nouns. Use modern and well-known words.
If some part of the source text is unclear or more than one interpretation is possible, check the Instructions or Comments provided with the translation file. They may have the information you need to clear up the confusion. If this isn't the case, you can contact the product team for clarification, when possible.
Support articles and product pages from Microsoft also present detailed information. Search online for information that will help you to better understand or clarify the context and avoid vague translations.
4. Microsoft voice
Microsoft Voice avoids an unnecessarily formal tone. The general style should be clear, friendly, and concise. Avoid slang, and be careful with colloquialisms.
The Microsoft voice allows for the use of culture-centric colloquialisms, idioms, and metaphors (collectively referred to as "colloquialisms").
- Don't replace the source colloquialism with a Turkish colloquialism unless it's a perfect and natural fit for that context.
- Translate the intended meaning of the colloquialism in the source text, but only if the colloquialism's meaning is an integral part of the text that can't be omitted.
- If the colloquialism can be omitted without affecting the meaning of the text, omit it.
English: Aww, we love our users, too bad we can't keep in touch.
Not our style: Ayy, kullanıcılarımızı çok severiz. Sizinle iletişim kuramayacak mıyız?
Our style: Kullanıcılarımızla iletişimde olmayı seviyoruz. Bunu yapamayacağımıza üzüldük.
Use personal pronouns instead of passive voice. Third-person references, such as user, should be avoided because they sound formal and impersonal. When the source uses the first-person plural (we), consider following the same structure in Turkish to preserve the informal tone and give the sense of speaking to the user.
English: Please wait and we'll let you know when this is done.
Our style: Lütfen bekleyin. İşlem tamamlandığında haber vereceğiz.
Omitting pronouns is a common mistake in Turkish translations. At the same time, overusing them might result in awkward and unnatural-sounding text.
English: To make the sentence more understandable, you should consider simplifying it.
Not our style: Cümlenin daha anlaşılır olması için siz bunu sadeleştirmelisiniz.
Our style: Daha anlaşılır olması için cümleyi sadeleştirmelisiniz.
In some cases, subject pronouns can be rendered as null (hidden) subjects, but to do this, the subject of the sentence should be clear, and it should have the same grammatical structure with the subject of the previous sentence.
English: The key will only display after clicking the Save button in the footer. It will not be displayed later.
Not our style: Anahtarın görüntülenmesi için alt bilgideki Kaydet düğmesine tıklamak gerekir. Bir daha görüntülenmez.
Our style: Anahtar yalnızca alt bilgideki Kaydet düğmesine tıklandıktan sonra görüntülenir. Daha sonra görüntülenmez.
6. Grammar choices for a natural tone
The conjunction and is not used as frequently in Turkish as it is in English. It may be replaced with a comma or omitted if possible.
English: Remove one or more recipients and try again.
Not our style: Bir veya daha fazla alıcıyı silin ve tekrar deneyin.
Our style: Bir veya daha fazla alıcıyı silip tekrar deneyin.
Contractions help to keep things neat. Avoid using separate words for eğer, ise, ile, and so on.
Not our style: Eğer bu öğeyi siler iseniz buradaki araç ile görüntüleyemezsiniz.
Our style: Bu öğeyi silerseniz buradaki araçla görüntüleyemezsiniz.
7. Translations of you, please, and sorry
Users are addressed in the second-person plural, siz. Verbs also should be in the second-person plural form of yapın, not the extremely polite (and old-fashioned) form yapınız.
Turkish doesn't use please or sorry as much as English. Use please when the user is asked to do something inconvenient, is asked to wait, or is inconvenienced by the software. Use sorry only in error messages that result in serious problems for the customer, or when a product or service fails.
More than one alternative exists in Turkish for the term sorry: özür dileriz for serious problems, and ne yazık ki or maalesef in less severe cases. Sometimes it's best to avoid it because the tone is excessive in Turkish. Üzgünüz isn't a good option; it conveys that the material has been translated.
8. Different language, different punctuation rules
Punctuation rules in Turkish are quite different from those in English. So, transferring punctuation marks into the translation isn't a good idea.
For example, em dashes or long dashes (—) aren't used as separators in Turkish, so they should be replaced with commas, colons, or parentheses, whichever is most appropriate. Similarly, the ampersand (&) doesn't mean and in Turkish and should be replaced with ve.
9. Capitalization and spacing
Use sentence case by default (that is, only the first letter of a sentence is capitalized). Only proper nouns such as product names and references to user interface items are capitalized in the middle of a sentence.
Avoid double spaces after periods and between words—even if the source has them!
English: Website address
Not our style: Web Sitesi adresi
Our style: Web sitesi adresi
There is more, of course. If you are in doubt, consult the terminology, translation, and full Microsoft Turkish Style Guide and the following references:
- Güncel Türkçe Sözlük ve Yazım Kılavuzu – TDK Web Sitesi (www.tdk.gov.tr)
- Türkçe Sözlük ve Yazım Kılavuzu – Dil Derneği Sitesi (<http://www.dildernegi.org.tr>)