Guide de style

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The purpose of this guide is to provide stylistic guidelines for in-house translators and volunteers working on the Viewer, web pages, KB articles, e-mails and wiki pages of Second Life and XStreetSL.

By style, we refer to preferred writing techniques to be used on various content types.

By tone, we refer to the way Second Life residents should be addressed.

Both the style guide and the glossary should be used at all times.


The purpose of this section is to list the most important rules as well as rules that are specific to Second Life.

1. Commas

Use commas to separate elements in a series consisting of three or more elements with a similar grammatical function. When one of the coordinating conjunctions “et”, “ou” or “ni” joins the last two elements in a series, do not use a comma before the conjunction. Use a comma before the coordinating conjunction only if it is repeated in the sentence or if the elements do not have the same grammatical function.


Une fois dans Second Life, vous découvrirez un monde numérique en pleine effervescence, rempli de personnes, d'expériences et d'opportunités uniques.

2. Colons

Colons should be used before lists and explanations. Do not use a capital letter after the colon, even after “Remarque” or “Avertissement”, "Attention", "Conseil" etc., except if the text is at the beginning of a paragraph.


Remarque : la liste des factures en attente n’est pas la liste des bons de commande.

3. Quotation Marks

Please use French quotation marks (guillemets ouvrants et fermants, «»). For nested quotations, use English double quotation marks (“…”). Non-breaking spaces should be used between the chevrons and the quoted text.

Punctuation marks that do not belong to the quoted text are always placed outside the quotation marks.


Sur Second Life, vous créez et personnalisez votre personnage en 3D, aussi appelé « avatar ».

4. Spacing/Non-breaking spaces

  • All double punctuation marks (quotation marks, colons, semi colons, question marks and exclamation marks) must be preceded by a non-breaking space. To insert a non-breaking space, press CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR, type ALT+0160 in a word doc; In html, enter &+nbsp+;

Example 1:

Quels sont les articles pour lesquels Linden Lab n'applique pas la TVA ?

Example 2:

Notre numéro individuel d'identification de TVA est le : EU826011179.

Example 3:

Bienvenue dans Second Life !

Example 4:

Si votre avatar n’est pas complètement chargé, celui-ci apparaît sous forme d’un nuage ; ce phénomène s'appelle « being Ruthed ».

  • Use non-breaking spaces between words that should not carry over different lines. If two words are connected by a non-breaking space, most programs will keep them together, even if subsequent editing causes line breaks to change.
  • Use non-breaking spaces in the cases below:
  1. As a thousand separator
  2. Between a unit of measure or currency and the corresponding number
  3. Between any items that should not carry across separate lines


Les commandes d’un montant supérieur à 10 000 US$ ne peuvent pas être traitées dans la Boutique.

5. Lists

Bulleted and numbering lists should follow the style of French lists, e.g., a semi-colon should be inserted at the end of each segment of the list except for the last item, which ends with a period. The first letter of each item should start with a lower case, unless all segments of the list form a complete sentence. Use parallel structure, e.g., if one segment starts with a verb, all should begin with a verb.

Example 1:

L'historique de votre compte montre :

  • toutes les transactions que vous avez faites ;
  • si vous avez ou non payé la TVA ;
  • le taux de TVA appliqué, le cas échéant ;
  • le montant de TVA facturé pour chaque transaction.


Example 2:

Remarques :

  • La région deviendra la propriété de l’université, et l’avatar qui exploite l’île dans Second Life doit être un employé déclaré.
  • L’activité menée sur l’île doit concerner l’éducation en relation avec l’université propriétaire de l’île.
  • Comme indiqué ci-dessus, nous ne donnons pas de remise aux particuliers ; ceci inclut également les professionnels de l’éducation qui souhaitent acheter une île pour un usage personnel, ainsi que les développeurs qui souhaitent acheter une île pour l’institution.

6. Abbreviations

Only very common abbreviations should be used. Insert a space before measurement symbols. Here is a list of the most common abbreviations which can be used:

c.-à-d. c'est-à-dire

cf. reportez-vous à

ex. exemple

etc. et cætera

M. Monsieur

Mme Madame

Mlle Mademoiselle


p. page

Cie Compagnie

1 er, 1 ère premier, première

2ème, 3ème deuxième, troisième

1º, 2º primo, secundo

km kilomètre

m mètre

mètre carré

cm centimètre

mm millimètre

kg kilogramme

g gramme

Ko kilo-octet

Mo méga-octet

MHz mégahertz

h heure

min minute

sec seconde

r. rue

av. avenue

bd. boulevard

$ paragraphe

NB Nota Bene

For abbreviations of days, months and currencies please see the Formatting section below.

7. Acronyms and abbreviations

  • Acronyms:

An acronym is a group of initials, each representing a word. They should be written in capital letters without periods or spaces. Acronyms should not be translated. Only the most common acronyms should be used in French and should be followed by their full spelling in parentheses the first time they appear on a page or an e-mail. Here are some French acronyms commonly found on the French site, viewer and KB articles:

TVA Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée

HT Hors taxe

TTC Toutes taxes comprises

IM Instant Message (Message instantané)

FAQ Foire Aux Questions

  • Abbreviations:

Abbreviations such as "SL" or "iw", "av" or "avi", "tp" should be avoided as they may confuse users (especially new ones!) They should be replaced by regular expressions such as "Second Life", "dans le monde virtuel", "'avatar'", "téléporter".

8. Brackets (parentheses)

  • Parentheses should be used to clarify statements or provide additional information.


Second Life contient de nombreuses boutiques 3D dans lesquelles vous pourrez acheter tout ce dont vous avez besoin pour personnaliser votre avatar (cheveux, silhouettes, peaux etc.)

  • Use only regular parentheses () for parenthetical notes. Do not use braces [] or curly braces {}.
  • Angled brakets <> are used to show snippets of code within text.

9. Capital letters

The source text uses capital letters to convey important messages. In French, such messages would be perceived as rude and should be avoided.


English: The Basic Access Account is FREE.

To be avoided: Le compte Basique est GRATUIT.

Preferred: Le compte Basique est gratuit.

10. SECOND LIFE specific punctuation rules

When referring to a Second Life page or feature, a button, or a link, do not use quotation mark as in the English. Instead, start the name of the page, link or functionality with a capital letter.


English: Go into SL and click on the "Find" button

To be avoided: Allez dans Second Life et cliquez sur le bouton « Rechercher »

Preferred: Allez dans Second Life et cliquez sur le bouton Rechercher


1. Dates

  • In French, the date format is DD MM YYYY and not MM DD YYYY as in English.


28 mars 2009

  • For the abbreviated from, use slashes (/) as separators, and use zeroes (0) for days and months from 1 to 9.



  • Neither days nor months take an initial capital in French. The abbreviations of the months and days of the week are as follows.


janv. févr. mars. avr. mai. juin. juill. août. sept. oct. nov. déc.

lun. mar. mer. jeu. ven. sam. dim.

2. Time

Time should be expressed following the rules in your target language.

English examples:

at 8:00 a.m. at 8 p.m. 12 noon

French examples:

à 8h00 à 21h00 à midi

Please note that 21:00, 8:00 and 12:00 is also an acceptable format.

3. Numbers

Follow French conventions for numbers with four or more digits. When composing long Arabic numbers, separate each group of three digits from the next by a non-breaking space (not a period or a comma). To insert a non-breaking space, press CTRL+SHIFT+SPACEBAR, type ALT+0160 in a word doc; In html, enter  

English examples:

1,000 10,000 25,389,572

French examples:

1000 10 000 100 256 865

4. Currencies

  • Currency symbols should be placed after the amount and preceded by a non-breaking space.

English example: USD50

French example: 50 USD

  • Use a space for thousand separators and a comma for decimal separators.

English example: USD 2000.50

French example: 2 000,50 USD

Viewer, web pages, e-mails

1. Style and tone

  • The style of the viewer, web pages, and e-mails should simple, direct, and clear.
  • The tone should be engaging and friendly.
  • The 2nd person of the plural ("vous" form) should be used.
  • Both style and tone should be consistent throughout the application, and all web and KB articles, as well as e-mails.

RULE 1: Use "real world" language, and not overly "techie" or "robot-like".

If the source English is too technical, unclear, or confusing, do not hesitate to simplify it.

Example 1:

English: Inventory fetch from server timed out. Retry?

French (to be avoided): Délai d'extraction de l'inventaire depuis le serveur dépassé. Réessayer ?

French (preferred): L'inventaire n'a pas été extrait assez rapidement. Souhaitez-vous recommencer ?

RULE 2: The tone should not be overly formal but not too casual or too colloquial. It should always be polite.


English: Oops!You tried to wear a [TYPE] and it did not load. Don't panic. Try again in a minute to give things a chance to settle down

French (to be avoided): Oups! Vous avez essayé de porter [TYPE} mais l'article n'a pas été chargé. Pas de panique. Réessayez d'ici une minute, le problème sera peut-être réglé.

French (preferred): Désolés. Vous avez essayé de porter un article ([TYPE]) mais ce dernier n'a pas été chargé. Merci de réessayer d'ici une minute.

Rule 3: The content should be accurate, precise, encouraging, and user focused. When the source English is unclear, or "complicated", try to make your translation simpler and "accessible" to a broad audience. We are addressing residents from all levels of experience, and not Second Life experts. Always try to put yourself in the shoes of a new user.


English: Simulator primitive usage

French (to be avoided): Utilisation des prims sur le simulateur

French (preferred): Prims utilisées sur la parcelle

2. User interface

RULE 1: When steps to follow are given, UI elements should be separated by a > symbol.

English example:

Invite People to this Group using the 'Invite New Person...' button in the Members & Roles tab > Members sub-tab.

French example:

Invitez des résidents dans ce groupe en cliquant sur le bouton Inviter un résident à l'onglet Membres et Rôles > sous-onglet Membres.

RULE 2: Buttons should be kept short. If a verb is used, the infinitive form should be used.

English example: Invite New Person...

French example: Inviter un résident...

RULE 3: When referring to a UI element, in French, only the first letter of the UI element should be capitalized English example: Create New Notice French example: Créer une notice

RULE 4: In French, localization results in text expansion (about 30%), which means that many Second Life menus, windows, buttons etc. might end up truncated. While translating UI elements, try to use the shortest possible translation (no longer than English) when possible and if doing so does not affect the quality of the translation.

3. Rules about Terminology

Expired terminology

As Second Life has matured, Linden-favored terms have changed as well. When translating, please sure to be consistant in the terminology that is used and do not use "expired" terminology. Use:

  • "Régions" ("regions") instead of "sims" or "simulators" when referring to a single region.
  • "Résidents” ("residents") instead of "utilisateurs" (users), "abonnés" ("subscribers"), "clients" ("customers"), "avatars", etc.
  • "Régions privées" ("private regions") instead of "îles" ("islands"), “îles privées” (private islands), etc.
  • "Linden Dollars" instead of "argent" ("money"), "dollars", "cash", "lindens", etc.
  • "L$" instead of "$", when denoting Linden Dollars.
  • "US$" instead of "$" when denoting US dollars.

Second Life specific terminology

A few terms were "invented" for Second Life and are not part of the English vocabulary. Here is how to translate them for now:

  • To rez: rezzer
  • Rezzed : rezzé
  • In-world (also used: inworld, iw): dans le monde virtuel

Note about the use of the expression "real world":

In English, the term "real world" is often used to refer to the "physical" world (as opposed to the virtual world). In French we will use the term "monde physique" instead of "monde réel". Why? Because we consider that Second Life world is as "real" as the real world. In the same way, when the source English refers to residents' real first and last name, in French we'll talk about "les noms et prénoms dans le monde physique".

What to capitalize?

    • Proper nouns: Second Life, Linden Lab.
    • Acronyms: IM, TVA etc.
    • The first letter of Second Life Region names: Ahern
    • The first letter of each term that identifies a particular button or menu item within the Second Life client: menu Éditer, bouton IM etc.

Menus, pie menus, windows, dialogs, tabs, buttons, fields

    • Menu (Menu in French): appear at the top of the Second Life window.
    • Pie Menu (Menus radial in French): wheel of selections that shows up whenever you right-click on something in-world.
    • Window (Fenêtre in French): window that appears internally within the Second Life window, i.e. The Inventory window or the Search window.
    • Dialog (Boîte de dialogue in French): blue box that appears in the corner whenever something happens in Second Life (when someone or something tries to give you inventory or if it turns out you can't sit on that thing you wanted to sit on etc.)
    • Tab (Onglet in French): tab that lives inside the windows in Second Life.
    • Button (Boutons in French): button that appears in the UI.
    • Fields (Champs in French): pretty much anything used to provide input to Second Life that's not a button is a field.

Knowledge Base articles

There are two basic types of Knowledge Base article: the ones that answer a specific question ("Comment créer des habits ?") and the ones that give some general knowledge about a topic ("FAQ pour les nouveaux propriétaires de terrains")

The rules governing the tone and style of Knowledge Base articles are the same as the ones for the Viewer.

Note that the style of KB articles can be very familiar and unclear at times. Please keep in mind that residents reading these articles are looking for an answer to a question they have. Therefore, try to be as clear and concise as possible, even if you use humour here and there.