Technical manuals are extremely challenging to translate as they contain highly technical information. Their translation must be accurate, clear, and concise to ensure that the user understands the instructions correctly. Inaccurate translations of technical manuals can cause confusion, misunderstandings, and even safety hazards. Further in this blog, we have highlighted some of the elements that make technical manual translation challenging. But first, have a look at what technical manuals are and why technical manual translations are used.
What are the technical manuals?
Technical manuals are “how-to” guides that aim to educate the user about the technical aspect of products. They may have a comprehensive description of parts, machinery, instructions of use, regulations, and safety precautions in the fields of engineering, automotive, medicine, aviation, hydraulics, or more. When the equipment or machinery is shipped to another country for use, the technical manuals need to be translated into the language of that country. This allows users from another lingual background to make the best out of machinery or equipment.
Some common uses of technical manual translation
Facilitating international sales
Technical manual translation can help the company increase sales by making its products more accessible and user-friendly to customers who speak different languages.
Ensuring compliance with regulations
Technical manual translation is often required due to the regulations and standards of different countries. For example, manufacturers of medical devices must translate the instructions for use of their devices into the languages of the countries where the devices will be sold in order to comply with local regulations.
Enhancing customer satisfaction
Technical manual translation can help enhance customer satisfaction by providing users with clear and accurate information about the usage of a product or service. This can help reduce frustration and ensure a positive customer experience.
Supporting international partnerships
Technical manual translation can be used for international collaborations, such as joint ventures, research projects, or supply chain partnerships.
Improving safety and quality
Technical manual translation can help improve safety and quality by providing clear and accurate information about operating procedures and maintenance requirements. This can help reduce the risk of accidents or product failure, ensuring that products are used and maintained in the right way.
What makes the technical manual translation challenging
Technical jargon and terminology
Technical manuals often contain specialized jargon and terminology that may not have an equivalent in the target language. Thus, the technical manual translation services providers should have an understanding of the technical terms used in the manual in order to translate them.
Complex sentence structure
Technical manuals often have complex sentence structures with multiple clauses and technical terms. So translating these complex sentences requires a thorough understanding of the source language, the technical terminology used in the manual, and the target language’s grammar as well as syntax.
Manuals may contain cultural or regional references that may not be familiar to the target audience. For instance, a manual for a product designed for use in a specific country may contain references to local laws or regulations. So these references must be contextualized and accurately translated for the target audience.
Formatting & layout
Technical manuals often contain diagrams, illustrations, and more that needs to be accurately translated. So the translation experts must ensure that the formatting and layout of the translation must match the original document. Moreover, it can be challenging while work with a complex layout and specialized software.
Demand for accuracy
Technical manuals need to be translated accurately and consistently. Even a single error in the manual translation can lead to confusion and incorrect usage of the product which results in safety hazards or damage to the product. This is why the technical manual translation service providers must ensure that the translation is consistent with the original text, the technical terms are used correctly, and any diagrams or illustrations are accurately translated.
Localization also poses a challenge to technical manual translators. Localization is the process of adapting the content of the document to the lingual as well as cultural preferences. It involves changing the units of measurement, currency, or product’s name to make it more alluring to the target audience. The translators should be aware of such cultural and linguistic preferences in order to adapt the translation accordingly.
Time and money
The technical manual translation is a time-consuming as well as costly process. Because the technical manual translator should have knowledge of the subject matter, be proficient in target as well as source languages, and be able to work efficiently to deliver the translation on time. Other reasons behind the higher time and cost required for the technical manual translation are complex terminology and specialized software.
Although technical manual translation has challenges, it plays a vital role in helping businesses target an international audience, comply with international regulations, and ensure safety. Technical manual translation involves the translation of technical documentation including user manuals, maintenance manuals, operating procedures, and technical specifications from one language to another. We hope, that the above post has provided you with enough information regarding, technical manual translation but if you have any further doubts, feel free to get in touch with the experts.