STARS language and translation guidelines


STARS is a comprehensive sustainability assessment that can be used by any higher education institution in the world. The guidance provided in this article is aimed at STARS users, institutions, and/or regions where English is not the primary language. 

See related article, Applying STARS to your Organization’s Unique Context.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is reporting in English required?

English is the working language of STARS. While the majority of descriptive content in STARS text fields should be reported in English, some flexibility is provided in certain contexts.  

  • Descriptive text fields – Content should be in English, or include an English translation or summary. 
  • Policies and plans – These may be referenced in the local language if English translations are not available. We do not expect STARS users to translate policies, plans, websites, etc. just to complete STARS. 
  • Surveys and inventories – It is a best practice to submit this content using the standard templates offered through STARS, if applicable. Nonetheless, institutions are welcome to conduct and upload surveys and inventories in their local language, as long as they are well-organized and labeled, and it is relatively easy for a STARS reviewer to use translation tools to translate headings, spot check, and confirm that credit standards are met. 
  • Optional documentation – Content in optional descriptive and upload fields can be reported in the local language. A best practice would be to include a translation or summary in English. 

What are some recommended translation tips and tools?

Regardless of level of English language proficiency, it is important for all users to review the STARS criteria carefully to ensure high quality and accurate reporting. Engaging a reviewer or proofreading team may be particularly helpful for institutions with many stakeholders for whom English is not their primary language.

Your institution’s language center may provide translation and/or editing resources. In addition, online tools such as Libre Translate, Google Translate, Grammarly, and others may be helpful in providing translation and grammar support.

Example Responses

The credit links below serve as reporting examples for institutions or users where the primary local language is something other than English.


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