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10 Tips For Translating Manuals

10 Tips For Translating Manuals
Translating Manuals

Do you ever look at the recipe on a packet, then throw it away, only to realize a minute later that you need it again? You are not the only one. Everyone has been there where they had to pick the packet from the trashcan so they can look at the recipe once more. Even after all this time, none of us keep the packet aside until we are done cooking. We like living dangerously and then realizing we need help within seconds. But imagine if there was no recipe on a packet at all? What would you then? You will feel completely lost for sure but you wouldn’t know how to cook either. Even if you had cooked a thousand times before, you will realize you needed that recipe to help you. But we don’t have to imagine all that because there is always a recipe on the packet.

Fortunately, we live in a world that comes with instructions. Even a packet of noodles come with the guidelines about how to make them. And who are we to argue with that? We are only grateful. These instructions are very important in life. Sure, there are things you already know how to do and don’t need help with them. But there are still plenty of things you will need help with and in that moment, you will want to get instructions.

Manuals and guidelines are very important. When you buy a new dress, it comes with wash and care instructions which tells you how to take care of it. You couldn’t have known it is not okay to tumble dry it. But the instructions saved you from ruining your new dress. The same way manuals keep you from setting a new machine on fire on the first day. They tell you how to use something before you lose your mind trying to figure it all out.

Translating Manuals

10 Tips for Translating Manuals:

Translating Manuals

We live in a world where a product made in one part of the globe reaches everywhere. People from Asia can use American products but what’s the difference between different continents and countries is the language. Which is why manuals have to be translated in multiple languages so they can be sent out with products whenever they are shipped abroad. However, since manuals contain pretty important information, they cannot be handled by someone inexperienced. They have to be translated with care so the instructions mentioned in them are clear for the readers.

Here are 10 tips for translating manuals that will help customers receive accurate instructions with their products:

  1. Right Qualification:

Manuals have specific information about the product they come with. If it is something technical than a legal translator can’t handle it. So, make sure the right professional is handling the interpretation.

  1. Talk to the Creators:

No one knows a product better than its creators. The interpreter should discuss the manual with them. This will help them develop a better understanding of the product they are writing about.

  1. Learn About the Company:

Each company has its own tone that it follows in every document which is presented to the public. The interpreter should learn about the company, talk to them about their goals and vision, and read their previous informational material to better understand their tone.

  1. Make a Glossary:

Each field has a different set of common terms that are used in every other document. Before you start working on the translation, make a glossary of repeated words and difficult terms so you have no difficulty while working. Even if you forget something, you can find it in the glossary.

  1. Meet International Standards:

When translating technical manuals, keep International Organization of Standardization’s recommendations in mind. Meet the standards which are followed all over the world to keep the tone of the manual professional.

  1. Make it Personal:

No matter which language you are translating into, avoid using words like ‘user’ and ‘customer’. Use the word ‘you’ and its alternative in other languages. This will show it to the users that the manual was not written by a machine and they will feel a personal connection to your brand.

  1. Simple Language:

Avoid using complex sentences and keep it simple as much as you can. Manuals shouldn’t have long and complex sentences so make it direct and straightforward for the readers.

  1. Know the Audience:

As a translator, you should be aware of the audience of the manual. You can’t write for someone if you don’t know a few basic things about them. You should ask your client about the target audience before you start working on the translation.

  1. Instructive Tone:

If you are not giving clear instructions to the users in a manual, you are not writing a good guidebook. Give them instructions like ‘click’ ‘open’ ‘rotate’ etc.

  1. Review and Edit:

Read the manual after translating it and change every part that doesn’t make sense to you. If it is difficult for you to understand, the customers will definitely not be able to read it without getting confused. Make changes until you are satisfied with the results.

Translating a manual can be tricky but following the basic tips mentioned above can help you get through the process easily. Just make sure you are making the language exactly how you like to read on instructive documents and user manuals. This way you will be able to do a satisfactory job.

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us

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