Writing for the Globe

Tips on How to Write a Translatable IVR Script

clipboardWhen it comes to writing an IVR script for an audience of more than one language, there’s a lot to consider. These are points no one has mentioned to you so you’ve never thought to enforce them. Well, we want to let you in on the secrets. Here are some crucial details to help you remember what to do when you’re crafting a Translatable IVR Script.

Establish your purpose. Remember, your customers are calling you because they need information or assistance. The automated process of IVR is aimed to get them there as soon as possible. Refrain from adding unnecessary verbiage or clauses—less is more in IVR (and less to be lost in translation)! A translation is only as good as its source text!

Context is crucial. Translators work on many projects, and while most of them work in areas specific to their education and experience, no one knows everything.

Here’s an Example:

The phrase “hot seat” needs to be defined (as both a verb and a noun). It’s also worth noting the verb for “hot seat” in German (or any language) may not match its noun form.

Count Filename Prompt (all text contained within this column will be recorded!) Phrase Location Notes
1 hotseat_options.wav “To hot seat this phone to your extension, press 1. To remove hot seat on this phone, press 2.”

This is one of the reasons we have a handy notes column on our script template! Anytime you need to define a phrase or let the translator know your intentions, you just need to leave us a note and we’ll be sure to pass it along!
And to round it up, make sure you examine your target audience. You can do this by:

  • Using active voice, positive writing
  • Avoid idioms, contractions, run-on sentences, jargon, clichés
  • Make sure your pronouns make sense
  • Understanding the style and tone of your audience
  • Double checking and see that it’s concise
  • Keeping parallel structures and don’t worry about sentence variety