5 useful tips for technical manual translations
Many products purchased by customers are technical and need to be accompanied by a user or technical manual. Not all customers speak your language so to meet the needs of this growing group of non-native English speakers, it’s important to get your technical manuals translated into your customers’ languages.
One of the most important technical manuals is probably the one that comes with a smartphone as these products are released with new features being added all the time. If you provide an accurately translated user manual it will help your customers to get the most out of the product while also and ensuring it’s used correctly. If a customer fails to use a product you have sold and is injured you could be held liable for any costs associated with the injury if you haven’t provided any way that the customer could find out how to use the product correctly.
In some countries, if you are given permission to sell a product, providing a technical manual in your purchaser’s language might be compulsory. However, this isn’t necessarily a straightforward task.
5 simple translation tips:
1. Look for previous examples of a technical manual translation in your company
You may be able to find a glossary that has been used in earlier translations or even translation memory. This means you can hand this information to your chosen translator who can ensure any earlier terminology unique to your company’s products can be used. This is a cost-effective time saver.
2. Agree with your translator usage of terminology and keywords
You may be able to access these from previously translated manuals or start to devise your own that can be used throughout any of your company’s technical manuals which shows company consistency.
3. Keep the language simple
Adding a bit of humour or difficult idiomatic expressions won’t make your translator happy as this makes the translation more difficult to accurately achieve. Keep the language straightforward and simply worded.
4. Keep your technical manual a manageable length
Many translators charge by the word so it’s important to keep your technical manual concise and not unnecessarily wordy.
5. Get a fresh pair of eye
Get someone in your business to read through your manual before it goes to the translator as some useful feedback may help make the translator’s job easier if some recommended adjustments are made.