Translation of manuals

Translation of manuals One of the several services of applied translation offered by Scriba is the translation of user manuals, which entails the processing of various technology texts in any field from photography to air conditioners. Like the case is with other specific texts, the translation of user manuals requires special preparation and the existence of appropriate knowledge and experience.

Scriba translation agency provides its clients with a guarantee that it finds a translator from its database who is best qualified in the area, while also ensuring that the editor of the text would have a corresponding qualification. Apart from that, we keep in mind that both the translator and editor should be able to process the text to the end result that is understandable for any ordinary user and not for specialists only. As a result of close cooperation with the client our translators and editors will return the best solution. Our working process has been described in greater detail hereunder.

In the world of globalisation, company expansions and penetration of new markets become increasingly more important, and for that reason the products need to be adjusted to the particular needs of different cultures. The client always looks more favorably at companies which are able to communicate in the native language. Thus, in addition to translating and localising your companies and websites, we also help you market your products by providing you with properly prepared, translated, edited and proofread user manuals.

It may be erroneously thought that user manuals are easy to translate as they mostly involve short and concise sentences which cannot be ambiguously understood. In reality, user manuals differ from other texts in their form and language use wherefore it is necessary for the translator to have appropriate experience in a given field to ensure the best result.

  • First the target group should be determined because the text translated for ordinary users differs in language usage from the one meant for specialists. In the former case there are fewer area specific terms, which have always been explained, while the text meant for experts is more specific and involves more complicated terms.
  • It is important to note that the syntax of user manuals and ordinary language may somewhat differ. For example, user manuals use a lot of the imperative mood, making the text instructive, wherefore it is important to follow the text in the sequence it is presented in. Even though the form of user manuals is usually logical and the wording concise, there may occur exceptions. For that reason we always seek the best qualified translator for a particular project, who knows the language, the linguistic environment and the particulars thereof.
  • Attention should also be paid to numerous figures and pictures and the need for the explanations to be clearly unambiguous. Here cooperation with the client who can help with terminology and supplementary aid, including the knowledge of product experts, is crucial. If required, we adapt all pictures to the target language and design and style the translation material in accordance with the needs of the client.

Translation process of user manuals

In ordering translation of a user manual it is important that the original be the latest version where no more amendments are planned to be made, for changes emerging during the translation process mean additional effort and cost.

If necessary, we can also provide linguistic advice in preparation of the original document. The use of editors of the same translation agency in preparation of the original user manual is expedient for the language editor can avoid details that could cause problems in the translation process and the subsequent stages of the process will be less time-consuming.

In the following stage it is necessary that the file be saved in an easily edited format, for example, as a MS Office file. A text presented on paper generates additional charges as the scanning and styling of pictures requires additional resources which could be avoided. The easier it is for the translator to access the text or parts thereof, the quicker will the work be done and submitted to the client. However, Scriba will accept text in any format.

Translation process of user manuals comprises the following steps:

  • agreement with client upon project terms and conditions (deadline, styling);
  • formation of project team;
  • research (creation of term base), translation and localisation;
  • editing and proofreading;
  • styling, layout design and final review;
  • delivery of translation to the client;
  • client feedback and required amendments;
  • finalising the project.

Cooperation with client

In the case of any translation, cooperation with the client is inevitable. In short, the following aspects are of consequence here:

  • term base or the company slang,
  • a more detailed overview of the product or service to be translated, if possible,
  • client feedback.

It means that apart from determining the target group of the translation and establishing deadlines, the client’s assistance with any terminology issues is very welcome. All companies may have terms they prefer and some have even created relevant databases, the accessibility to which would facilitate the translator’s work.

If there is no existing term base, we are prepared to create one and supplement it in the course of subsequent translations. It is important that the creation of the term base involve all the company’s offices or agents in different countries as they can provide information about a particular country or a specific product. If you are already a regular client of Scriba, we are able to offer you shorter deadlines in case of repeated work as the terminology is familiar and the client’s preferences known.

Translation of user manuals would be greatly facilitated by the first-hand experience of the translator with the machine described in the user manual in order to check whether everything is sufficiently understandable. Additionally, visual experience and the opportunity to try the machine makes the description easier.

The client’s feedback to services rendered is also very welcome and this is the last stage of the project. Amendments as to terms and style made with the help of the company’s specialists help us improve our service and be more accurate in subsequent translations. At the same time, Scriba cannot ensure a quality translation if a client continues to make corrections to our delivery without prior consultation with us.

Qualification of user manual translator

In general, translation practice has demonstrated that a translator should, as a rule, translate into his or her mother tongue as the nuances of one’s own culture and language are best known. However, the Estonian language is one with relatively few speakers in the world, consequently our translators have to be prepared to translate between languages. The somewhat widespread notion that translation into a foreign language would automatically entail lower translation quality is certainly unjustified.

  • First, it cannot be taken for granted that everybody can write fluently and without grammatical errors in their mother tongue. One must not forget that translation requires good skills in writing and expression, and no one can presume that a person intimately familiar with, for example, the details of a music centre, is able to write or translate the user manual at a quality level required by the user.
  • Second, the translator has been active in the field of translation for several years and is familiar with the documentation, form of user manuals and relevant language use in another country and probably also has appropriate experience to localise the text.

Localisation of user manuals

In translation of user manuals it is also important to localise, or adapt the material to the cultural context of the target language. Considering the aid of modern technology and different instruments, the following points are of importance:

  • detection and consideration of differences in electrical systems;
  • differences in operating frequencies of telephones;
  • date, address, etc. formats.

Localisation of a product ensures greater success in a foreign market, for your future clients find it easier to understand the text and clients, naturally, prefer companies that are able to adapt to local customs.

Additional services

Apart from translation, user manuals sometimes require provision of additional services, such as layout design and styling. Using Desktop Publishing, or compact publishing, we prepare the translation material in accordance with the client’s wishes and the user manual can proceed directly from the translation agency to the printer.

» Ask for a quotation on user manual translation…