Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Design System



All MnDOT websites must provide resources for our visitors who don't speak English or speak English as a second language. In most situations, a standard translation will work. In others, a more nuanced approach will be required.


  • All MnDOT websites must have a defined page language.
  • All MnDOT websites must provide resources for translation.
  • Language can be provided in multiple languages on a single page. In these instances, the language should be clearly identified on the page and appropriately coded.


A standard translation will work in most cases. There may be situations where an alternate form of translation is necessary. Use the following information to determine which translation is best for your situation.

Types of translation

Standard translation is professional translation in its simplest form. In short, the content exactly reflects the original text. Cultural differences or idioms in the text are not considered. Translation takes place on a superficial level.

When to use standard translation

Standard translation is usually fine for descriptions, training documents and instructions. When it comes to this type of content, all you need is straight-down-the-line clarity.

Standard translation can also be a cost-efficient method. The translator/writer doesn’t have to be creative with how they translate the text.

When NOT to use standard translation

Standard translation doesn't allow for considering the context, cultural differences, and language mishaps. Each of these can alienate our audience.

Localization involves being aware of cultural nuances and consumer preferences when translating copy. Translators must understand cultural quirks, traditions and superstitions to localize the content.

Localization can involve changing color and images in content. It can also involve altering the fonts on flyers or the layout of a website.

Localization is a targeted form of translation. It's aim is to create a personalized experience for the audience.

Technical translation requires understanding the subject to use the correct industry terminology.

User manuals are one of the most popular types of document to need technical translation. This type of text needs the linguist to be an expert on the subject matter, and to have had industry experience. The linguist also needs to be an expert on the translation of manuals and guides.

Transcreation translation maintains the messages intent, style, tone and context. It’s all about preserving the message in a new environment to reflect our brand and agency ethos. Transcreation is the only safe option for humor and any text which has a distinctive tone of voice.

Transcreation is essential for all marketing and advertising copy (brochures, flyers and banners).