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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.