Writing style guide

Global considerations

Overview
Because Citrix is a global company, it’s important to keep in mind our various audiences around the world. There are several things you can do to make sure your content is easy for both people and machines to translate while accommodating different cultural perspectives and varying levels of English language proficiency. Below are specific tips to keep in mind for copy that will be translated. 
Repeat prepositions

For content that will be machine-translated, repeat prepositions and add articles so a translation tool can properly identify context and grammatical relationships. 

Instead of this: You can join sessions from the web, desktop application, or a mobile device. 

Try this: You can join sessions from the web, from a desktop application, or from a mobile device. 

The order of steps

User-interface copy or instructional materials often include a series of steps. When writing this type of content, first mention the location, followed by the actual action. 

Instead of this: Select the type of alert you want to send from the first drop-down menu. 

Try this: From the first drop-down menu, select the type of alert that you want to send. 

Keep it positive

Some cultures regard negative language—words like force, reject, or kill—as insulting, embarrassing, or shameful. Also, negative language can cause grammatical issues when translated. This is especially true for double negatives (not unlike instead of like). It’s not always possible to avoid these types of words, so take extra care when it comes to tone. 

Instead of this: When you complete the updates, kill your session. 

Try this: When you complete the updates, end your session.

Instead of this: You can’t reconnect without signing in again. 

Try this: Sign in again to reconnect. 

Avoid slang

Idioms, regionalisms, slang, colloquial expressions, and other culture-specific references can confuse non-native speakers and are difficult—sometimes impossible—to translate. 

Keep punctuation simple  

Citrix style calls for simple, clear language, and the same goes for punctuation. Complex constructions—using semicolons or multiple dashes, for example—can impair readability for non-native English speakers and can make translation difficult. 

Avoid false subjects

False subjects usually occur at the beginning of a sentence with words like “it is” or “there are.” These constructions mask the real subject and can confuse international readers because “it” andthere” have no direct meaning and don’t translate. In addition, sentences with false subjects are usually in the passive voice and tend to be wordy. 

Instead of this: For most companies, virtualization has become a mainstream technology. 

Try this: Virtualization has become a mainstream technology at most companies

Other tips

Use the intended words instead of Latin abbreviations (for example instead of i.e.). 

Avoid excessive abbreviations and symbols. 

Use generic examples that aren’t specific to one region or country. 

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