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TranslationLoft | Source Annotation
Source Annotation

What is source annotation?

Source annotation has two typical applications:
Source annotation for software localization
When it comes to localizing software, the purpose of source annotation is to provide important “in-string” context and guidance for the translator, particularly in cases where editing the source text is not an option. Typical headings under which in-string comments would be added include:

  • Context: “This string is referring to the Security Settings function”
  • Character restrictions: “Translation must not exceed 12 characters”
  • Part of speech: “‘Call’ is a verb here”
  • Non-translatable text: “Do not translate this product name”
  • Placeholder: “This placeholder stands for a date”
  • Dependencies: “This is referring to the option translated in string ID xxx”
  • Truncated string pairs: “Part of truncated string, corresponding substring is…”
Source annotation for transcreation
Transcreation is typically used for highly visible marketing content in which key aspects of an organization’s brand identity need to be conveyed accurately, consistently, and in a way that resonates with the target market.

To get it right, translators need to have a crystal-clear understanding of the source text. When annotating for transcreation, we incorporate meaningful comments into the source text in order to inform, guide, and crystallize the translators' understanding of the content and get their creative juices flowing. Apart from flagging references to key brand values, comments are added in order to flag and explain stylistic devices, colloquial phrasing, and cultural references. Take the example “From the top of the pops to the grimiest drum ‘n’ bass, there’s everything you need”. Here, the translators would be guided on the fact that “Top of the Pops” is the name of a very famous British music show where bands in the charts performed their songs live on stage.