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Chinese (Hong Kong)

Style guidelines and principles

This document provides generic style guidelines for Sailfish OS. The target audience for this documentation is everyone translating Sailfish OS-related material. The goal is to create contemporary translations that provide a high-quality user experience.

Sailfish OS audience and target group for the translations is young, active users accustomed to social media and therefore its language.

Basics of good writing style

  • Write in a personal style, engaging and involving the user.
  • Use active style and present tense. Use imperatives and talk to the user.
  • Make sure the text is consistent and clear and correct in grammar and spelling.
  • Write in short sentences.
  • Use a positive tone, avoid negative expressions.
  • Avoid ambiguity. Make sure that pronouns point clearly to the relevant nouns, and avoid long strings of modifiers or nouns.

Remember we are sailing on a jolly boat. Have fun! Play with the language. Be innovative and guide the readers onto a journey. Do not attempt to use humor, but use fresh and fun tone where it naturally fits. Remember that the most important part is delivering a clear message.

Note that in technical writing, descriptions and instructions should not include text that is written from a marketing point of view.

Language and culture

Because our communication is targeted to international use and part of it will be translated, try to keep the language culturally unambiguous, be careful of religious references, and avoid using idiomatic expressions or slang. The key aspects are clarity and simplicity. Consider these targets when adapting the jolly tone to the texts. In software UI translations: Respect the source text, but do not create word for word translations. Take the context into account when translating.



Please try to be informal if that feels natural in your language. Avoid mentioning pronouns.

Keep addressing consistent: e.g. if a paragraph was started using the second person, retain it throughout all its sentences (as opposed to switching to third person or neutral mood).


Use the present tense. For example:

  • Correct: Media player selects songs: 媒體播放器會選擇歌曲
  • Incorrect: Media player will select songs: 媒體播放器將會選擇歌曲

Follow the tense of the source language. For example: Configuring your system…: 正在配置系统…


Whenever possible, use the active voice. Keep the message clear and the sentences short.

For example:

  • Correct: Create Account Setting: 建立帳戶設定
  • Incorrect: Account Settings are created: 帳戶設定被建立


Use the imperative form.

For example:

  • Correct: Go to Settings: ‘'’轉至設定 ‘’’
  • Incorrect: User goes to Settings: 用戶轉至設定


Capitalise application names and company names.

In the UI, start the first word with a capital letter.

Respect capitalisation rules of the language in question.

User Interface menu items are named using verbs.

Empty states in the UI

User Interface empty states are typically written in the 2-sentence form, using verbs and active tone and, where possible, guiding the user towards the next possible steps to take. Keep sentences short and content informative. Where possible, guide user to reflect the good sides of an application or service (like referring to friends instead of contacts in the People app). For example:
(tell the situation, what items are missing) (point user to next actions)
No contacts yet. Pull down to add your friends.

App covers (that are shown in the Home) for empty states aim to be short informative messages. Length is typically two words.


In Chinese, always use the double-byte punctuation.

End punctuation

In UI strings, do not use a full stop at the end of a sentence if there’s only one sentence. If there are two or more sentences, use full stops normally.

If the segment ends with the colon or ellipsis, the translation should follow the source.


In technical writing, use common abbreviations. Do not use Latin abbreviations.

In the UI, use common abbreviations, including Latin abbreviations. Make sure text clarity does not suffer. If in doubt, do not use an abbreviation.

Do not use a full stop in or after acronyms or initialisms, e.g.:

  • Correct: WLAN
  • Incorrect: W.L.A.N.

Do not use a full stop with unit (measurement) symbols, e.g.:

  • Correct: kg
  • Incorrect: kg.

Use a full stop with Latin abbreviations, e.g.:

  • Correct: e.g., ca., etc.
  • Incorrect: eg, ca, etc


Do not use contractions (e.g. aren’t, should’ve) in technical writing.

In the UI, contractions can be used when needed if the space is limited. Make sure that information given to the user is not lost because of such shortcuts.

Before using a contraction, try to rephrase the text so that contraction can be avoided. Omit words that are not essential for delivering the message clearly. If contracting cannot be avoided, minimize the number of words contracted. It is better to contract one word more than to contract several words a little.


Change the plural form of abbreviations to the singular one. For example: This product is shipped with several CD-ROMs: 本产品随带了若干个 CD-ROM。

Quotation marks

Respect language’s quotation rules. A comprehensive list of marks can be found here:


In technical writing, write lists with bullets.

In the UI, write lists without bullets or colons.


In technical writing, create structured, consistent and accurate headings. Consider verb structures in headings.

Text modules

In technical writing, make sure each module can be read independently, containing all the needed information so that modules do not need to be read in any certain order.


In technical writing, when describing procedures, make sure to describe the steps clearly with only one task per step. Describe the expected results of those steps.



Write numbers as digits, including numbers below 10.

For example:

  • Correct:1 message received: 收到了 1 個訊息。
  • Incorrect: One message received: 收到了一個訊息。

Write numbers as Chinese digits if they are idioms or set phrases. E.g. 一清二楚

Write numbers as Chinese digits if two consecutive numbers are written together for approximate numbers. E.g. 二三十米


Use numerals for measurements.

Use a space between the numeral and the unit, except with degree and percentage sign. E.g.:

  • Correct: 5 cm, 20°, 20 °C
  • Incorrect: 5cm, 20 °, 20°C


Sailfish OS has a separate Terminology project to maintain consistency. Use that approved terminology when available.

Company names

Do not translate company names unless there is an official, translated name available.

Product names and trademarks

Do not translate product names or trademarks.

Warnings, cautions, and notes are legal texts that need to be confirmed with legal department. In case of legal texts, follow the instructions carefully and ask for more information if needed.

Special instructions for the UI

full stopdouble-byte 
parenthesessingle-byteNo space between it and the adjacent Chinese characters.
A space between it and the adjacent English characters.
double quotation markdouble-byte 
colonsingle-byteA space between it and the character after it.
question marksingle-byteNo space between it and the Chinese character before it.
A space between it and the sentence after it.
exclamation marksingle-byteNo space between it and the Chinese character before it.
A space between it and the sentence after it.

Use single-byte parentheses to enclose shortcut keys and leave no space between Chinese characters and parentheses. For example:

  • \&File: 文件(\&F)
  • About \&ABC: 关于 ABC(\&A)
  • &50%: 50%(&5)
  • \&Font…: 字体(\&F)…
  • Le\&ft: 左(\&F)

Special instructions for technical writing

When translating UIs in documentation (or other technical writing), always follow its terminology for consistency.

Spacing rules:

  • There should be a space between Chinese characters and single-byte characters (such as English characters, numbers and single-byte punctuation).
  • There should be no space before and after double-byte punctuation, including Chinese parentheses.

Please see the table below for UI reference format (adapted to Chinese (Hong Kong) from the following source:

Menu nameUse double-byte double quotation markThe File menu「檔案」功能表
Command name
The Page Setup command「頁面設定」指令
Dialog box title
The Options dialog box「選項」對話方塊
Tab name
The View tab「檢視」標籤
Option name
The Portrait option「縱向」選項
Button name
The Cancel button「取消」按鈕
List box name
The File of Type list box「檔案類型」列表方塊
List box content
Choose Arial from the Font list box.「字體」列表方塊中選擇「Arial」。
Text box name
The Password text box「密碼」文字方塊
Check box name
The Read Only check box「唯讀」核取方塊
Radio button name
The None radio button「無」圓鈕
UIs that are enclosed with format tags (such as bold and italic)Follow the source format and don’t use double-byte double quotation markClick <b>Close</b> button按下<b>關閉</b>按鈕
Press <:cs “Helvetica9ptBold” 1>CALL/ANSWER<:/cs>.按下<:cs “Helvetica9ptBold” 1>致電/接聽<:/cs>。
Window nameUse double-byte double quotation markThe Print window「列印」視窗
Window (general description)Don’t use double-byte double quotation markIn the document window在文件視窗中
Manual nameUse double-byte book title markSee Chapter 6 in the User’s Guide.参閱《用戶指南》的第 6 章。
Chapter and appendixUse double-byte double quotation markSee “To Copy files” in chapter 2, “Managing files.”参閱第 2 章「管理檔案」的「複製檔案」一節。


When finalising translations for the UI, check the following:

  • Everything has been translated to your best knowledge.
  • Spell check is done.
  • Check consistency with the other translations done for the language.
  • Ensure correct Sailfish OS terminology is used. If needed, propose new term entries.
  • Confirm legal texts are consistent with the source.
  • Company and product names, trademarks, symbols, and measurements have not been hyphenated.
  • Ensure regional formats are retained, such as date, time, numeric and quotation literals.

When finalising texts for the technical writing, check these points as well:

  • Titles and headings are structured and accurate.
  • Language is clear and consistent.
  • Sentences vary in length and have a clear form.