The new Russian Style Guide posted last week (together with 37 other international style guides) contains a significant change in the way we will address users in many new Russian products and services going forward.

Basically, every single part of the style guide has been revised and rewritten. What's more important, we've changed the style rules moving from away from the formal, impersonal style to a more lively, natural, personal style and tone. Here are a few examples:

  • Old rule: Address the user impersonally, using such structures as “it is possible to...” (можно)
  • New rule: Address the user personally, using personal pronouns and such structures as "you can" (вы можете)

 

  • Old rule: Programs, components, features cannot be personified, so passive structures should be used: “The program was successfully installed by the wizard.”
  • New rule: Programs, components, features can be personified, so active structures should be used: “The wizard successfully installed the program.”

 

  • Old rule: Avoid using active voice wherever possible: “Internet connection is established.”
  • New rule: Active voice is OK. Choose active or passive voice basing on what sounds more natural in the context: “You have connected to Internet.”
Example:
(+) Мастер завершил настройку программы.
(–) Настройка программы с помощью мастера завершена.

We hope that the new style guide will not only make our Russian products more linguistically appealing, but also enable translators and localizers to translate in a fresher and more creative way.