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What to Know When Submitting Your Technical Manual for Translation

Technical manuals come in all forms and types, depending on the particular product. These manuals are used within factories, in construction, in production plants, homes, businesses, etc. Industry is everywhere, and the use of technical manuals is endless. So, it's incredibly important to understand some basics before submitting a manual for translation. When purchasing translation of a technical manual, here are some important points to keep in mind.

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1. Be clear about your expectations. Translation of technical manuals cannot be handled professionally overnight, so be clear about your expectations when you approach a translation vendor. If you need the translated file back quickly, be prepared to pay a rush fee. If you only want certain pages of the manual translated, make sure these are clearly pointed out or marked before you hand over the source document. This will help the vendor to give you an accurate quote and turnaround time for the project.

2. Decide if you need the vendor to recreate images and drawings or if you will have your team handle these. If you choose to handle the formatting and recreation of images and drawings, you will inevitably save money and time. However, your translation vendor can also likely assist with this step if desired. There will be additional fees for the service, and you can always request a quote for what it would cost both with and without the service added onto your project if you desire.

3. Request that industry- and company-specific names be maintained. Certain words that appear on equipment parts, switches or keys, and that also appear in manuals, should be left in the source language. This will allow those who utilize the manual to recognize these terms and feel comfortable operating equipment. If the terms in the manual differ from those on equipment, it can be more confusing than useful.

4. Be sure that your vendor creates a glossary or Translation Memory (TM) for your manual. This ensures consistency for future manuals into the same language, as well as other supporting documents. If you find an agency that produces an excellent first manual for your company, stick with them. They will be able to consistently produce high quality translations by maintaining the same linguists and TMs for your documents. When it comes to manuals, it is vital to always remember one thing: consistency is key.

How to Make Updates to Your Translated Technical Materials

When you release a new product, it is often accompanied by an instruction booklet or user manual. If you are targeting a demographic in another country or even one in the U.S. that does not primarily speak English, you’ve likely had manuals like these translated as well.

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If and when your original (or source) English manual changes, it is important to remember to update your translated documents as well. Sometimes, you may release a similar or updated version of the product that only needs a few changes or additions within the existing manual. Here are a few ways to make sure that the translated updates are handled professionally and flow well without needing to have the entire user manual translated all over again.

  • When possible, it is best to work with the same team or agency that translated the original text. They will likely have the ability to use the same team of linguists who worked on the project previously. Since each person has their own unique writing style, even within translations, using the same linguists will ensure your updates read the same as what was originally translated. Consistency across the board is key.
     
  • If you are unable to work with the same team or agency that previously handled your project for you, be sure to send the new team the entire file that was previously translated. This will help the team build a database with resources to get the style of the new text as close as possible to the original translation.
     
  • When you are updating part of the text or adding to it, send over the newly updated English file along with your request. You can highlight the text that needs to be updated or added. Seeing the new text in context will help the team working on your project to deliver the best possible translation for you, without any potential for errors from lack of context. This tip is especially important, as context is everything when it comes to translating texts. If the translation team cannot see the new text in context, there is a potential for errors or misinterpretations of the text. This little step takes only a moment, but it can make or break the outcome of the updated translation.

If you have any questions or concerns about updating product manuals and guides, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to both provide a free quote for the updates, or answer any questions you may have about the process along the way!

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Ensuring a safe work environment for employees is crucial for any business. Both safety signs and manuals play an important role in helping to maintain safety standards across the board for your company. While having these safety signs and manuals available in English is imperative for your employees who speak English as their first language, translating them into languages other employees may also speak natively will help your business avoid machine malfunctions, injuries, and potential lawsuits. Here are just a few reasons why translating signage and manuals could save your company money and give you peace of mind.

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We're back with another ATS Client Feature for you! Each month we are sharing about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're excited to feature one of our most clever clients, Big Ass Solutions. You may have spotted one of their fans at your favorite local eatery, or even on an episode of Fixer Upper. They know how to keep things interesting, and we know you'll enjoy learning about what they do!

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Technical Manual Translation: 4 Tips for Clients

Technical manuals come in all forms and for all sorts of industries. Manuals are not just those that come with furniture, electronics and kitchen appliances. Technical manuals are used within factories, in construction, in production plants, etc. Industry is everywhere and the use of technical manuals are endless. So, it's incredibly important to understand some basics before submitting a manual for translation. When purchasing translation of a technical manual, here are some important points to keep in mind.

Be clear about your expectations. Translation of technical manuals is not done overnight, so be clear about your expectations when you approach a translation vendor. If you need the translation back quickly, be prepared to pay rush fees. If you only want certain pages of the manual translated, make sure these are clearly pointed out or marked before you hand over the source document. This will help the vendor to give you an accurate quote and turnaround time for the project.

Decide if you need the vendor to recreate images and drawings or if you will have your own team handle these. If you choose to handle the formatting and recreation of images and drawings, you will inevitably save money and time. Translation agencies can handle many types of documents and files, so if you need the vendor to assist with images and drawings, be expected to pay a higher price than if you simply have the text translated and formatted.

Request that industry- and company-specific names be maintained. Certain words on switches or keys that also appear in manuals should be left in the source language if they will also appear on machinery or in software. This will allow those who utilize the manual to recognize these terms and feel comfortable operating equipment. If the terms in the manual differ from those on equipment, it can be more confusing than useful.

Be sure that your vendor creates a glossary or Translation Memory (TM) for your manual. This ensures consistency for future manuals into the same language, as well as other supporting documents. If you find an agency that produces an excellent first manual for your company, stick with them. They will be able to consistently produce high quality translations by employing the same linguists and TMs for your documents. When it comes to manuals, remember one thing if nothing else: consistency is key.