Technical translation

ProAudioManuals mainly translate for the German-speaking markets. But since we are a growing translators network, we are also able to offer you translations to other European languages or even Russian. Just ask for a quote.

What is different with technical translations?

When translating technical documents to other languages it is a good idea to ask for a technical translator. At best, you will find a native-speaking technical writer familiar with the matter and the common terminology. A technical writer is also the better choice if your (English) source documents are created by non-native English persons or non-technical writers. With their experience, translators who are also experienced technical writers are able to translate interpretatively when the source text does not comply with standards or legislation.

Prepare your source text before translation

If you require documentation in many languages other than English, it's a good idea to let a technical writer check – and revise, if necessary – the English source text beforehand. At first sight, this step may seem to create additional avoidable costs. However, savings can be tremendous when not only the content is translation-oriented but also the files are optimised for streamlined workflow through modern CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools.

Translation agencies vs. specialised technical writers/translators

When it comes to technical translations, manufacturers or distributors often ask translation agencies for assistance. You were lucky if this worked for you as there are several pitfalls lurking on this track:

  • Many agencies do not spezialise in technical documentation (even though most of them say they do)
  • Translators who are not experienced in technical documentation may not be able to correctly translate, for example, safety advices. If they don’t know how to apply relevant standards like ANSI Z535.6 and DIN EN 82079-1, the resulting translations may be incorrect and the manual could be legally unsafe.
  • Translators who are not familiar with your subject may use uncommon or inaccurate terminology resulting in technically faulty instructions.
  • Most translation agencies cannot guarantee the same translator for all of your projects, leading to different styles of writing and possibly inconsistent terminology

What could do more damage to your brand and company than readers laughing or shaking heads about your product documentation?

Perhaps you already made your own experience with translations. You may have asked one of the numerous translation agencies that claim to be "fast and inexpensive". If you had the chance to verify the quality of the target language then you may have been surprised how bad the result was.

Internationalisation and localisation

If you are planning to have your instruction manuals translated from English to any other language have you thought about legal requirements in the target country? We have often seen manuals created for the U.S. market that had been translated 1:1 to a target language like German with all those FCC statements and other information required for the U.S.A. – but not for Europe.

When going to Europe, you could create a version of your English manual already aiming at European standards before translation. At least you should try to find a technical translator who is able to localise your manual in such way that it complies to rules, regulations and legislation of the target country.

© 2017 ProAudioManuals  |  Jochen Dornheim  |  Member of tekom e.V.

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