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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.

Quality Assurance in Translation: 3 Tips for Making Sure the Process Works for Your Manufacturing Company

Quality Assurance (QA), or the process of ensuring that the translation you request is the best quality possible when returned to you, should be promised by all language providers. If you are in the market for a translation, you are likely wondering what makes the QA process from one provider different from that of another. More importantly, you may also be wondering how this process will work for your translation project in particular. Here are three tips to help you feel more confident that your provider’s QA process works for your company.

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1. Ask about the overall process before you contract the provider. This can save you a lot of time and worry throughout the process if you know what to expect up front. Interview the provider and find out how the they will work to ensure the translation will be accurate and free of errors, and what their assessment process is like when they review your documents before delivery. Make sure they are able to work with linguists who specialize in the technical translations your company requires (and feel free to ask for their credentials). You should hear answers about the process that ensure proofreading, editing, final revisions and collaboration among the linguists who will work on your project. If you see any red flags, this could be a sign to shop elsewhere.

2. Require that changes made to the text be handled by the linguists themselves. This may seem apparent, but there are providers who will request more information from the linguist as they prepare your documents for delivery without having the linguist review the actual file. Ask that all revisions to files be made directly by the linguist (not over the phone, not via an instant email message or chat, but to the document itself). This way, you can rest assured that the linguist was able to review the file in its entirety when making the revision, which is crucial in the QA process. Without complete context, one might not have enough information to properly revise a phrase or paragraph, and this is where errors and inconsistencies can easily occur.

3. Ask what tools your provider uses in the QA process. Does your provider keep client-specific glossaries, Translation Memories (TMs) and a style guide on hand and provide these to the linguists who will work on the project? Will your provider be willing to work with your in-country reviewers if you have them? What evaluations does the provider have for its linguists and how are they reevaluated for their work?

These three tips will help you to understand the translation process and quality assurance of translations more and help you decide if the process works for you specifically, as you choose the best provider for your company. Quality Assurance processes are found in all industries, and the translation and interpreting industry is no different.

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.