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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.


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!

Gearing Up for the New Year: Do Your Translations Need Updates?

With a flip of the calendar, it’s time to begin gearing up for a brand new year. For many businesses, this also means the beginning of a new quarter, with new quarterly and annual plans and goals to achieve. New business initiatives are in the works and marketing campaigns are planned for the coming months. If these changes could potentially impact any previously translated materials, or materials you’d like to have translated in the future, now is a good time to revisit your strategy to reach all intended audiences.

Something to keep in mind is that you likely don't need to have everything retranslated if you’re just making updates. If you are simply updating a few paragraphs of an employee handbook, for example, you can supply your trusted translation vendor with the previous translation and the updates without having to worry about redoing the whole translation. It is important that your non-English speaking audience understands all updates to the policy in this case, as well, so the sooner these are translated and updated, the better.

It’s also not too early to begin thinking of the rest of your 2018 marketing strategies. If you decide to reach a broader audience than just those who speak English, it would be good to look into translating and localizing your marketing materials now. Many people try to make personal changes for themselves with the new year, and this time could easily be the best moment to develop new marketing strategies for your business. Having your marketing materials translated and localized is the best way to ensure you reach the broadest audience in 2018.

If your company is interested in updating any previously translated materials or new initiatives, we want to help make 2018 the best year for you. Please reach out with any questions you may have about the process. We will be glad to help!