Session Plan: Comparing Microsoft Guidelines for different languages Learning outcomes
This task raises students’ awareness and sensitivity to lexical and syntactic level differences between different language versions of the same text and encourages them to ponder on the reasons for the differences.
PCs with Internet access. Alternatively, printed copies of Microsoft Guidelines in different languages (not recommended as they are long documents.) Guidelines available here:
Pairs in smaller classes; Groups of 4 in larger classes
Time (total suggested time)
Background for lecturer (bibliography, anticipated difficulties) FOR EXAMPLE: Reinhard Schäler 2010: Localization and translation. In Handbook of Translation Studies, Volume 1, eds. Gambier, Yves and van Doorslaer, Luc. Pages 209-214
1. Lead-in: a brief introduction of the concept localization (if necessary), 5-10 minutes
A teacher-led activity.
2. Contrastive analysis of Style guides for different languages, 45-60 minutes In pairs or in groups of 4, students open two style guides from
http://www.microsoft.com/Language/en-US/StyleGuides.aspx : one for their mother tongue and
another for their first foreign language (or a language/languages they know well). For example, the guidelines for Windows Phone localization could be chosen for analysis. Students are asked to compare the guidelines and make notes of
a) differences with regard to recommended use of lexis and syntactic formulations
b) similarities in the guidelines.
(see the student worksheet)
3. Class discussion on findings, 20 minutes
During this discussion, each group introduces the most interesting findings to the class. The
teacher leads the discussion, following the questions in the student worksheet. At this point, the
discussion should focus on the intercultural aspects of recommended guidelines.
Adaptations for an integrated approach
This material can be used as such as a part of a translation course as well.
MICROSOFT GUIDELINES: Student worksheet
1. In a group, open two (or more) style guides from http://www.microsoft.com/Language/en-
USStyleGuides.aspx :one for your mother tongue and another for your first foreign language
(or a language(s) you know well). Compare the guidelines and make notes of
differences with regard to the similarities in the guidelines
recommended use of lexis, syntactic
formulations and style
2. Look at the box of differences and think about the reasons for differing recommendations.
Are they caused by structural differences between languages or rather, by cultural
differences that are reflected in the language use – or perhaps both? Discuss within a group
and make notes below.
3. Look at the box of similarities. Do you agree with them; do you think similar guidelines are
functional in the languages you were comparing, i.e. do you feel the level of localization is
sufficient? Would you have given similar linguistic guidelines for your mother tongue? To
what extent do the similarities reflect a shared “Microsoft culture”? Make notes below.