20 Technical Document Translation Tips
Technical documents play an important role for the success of a product or company. Technical documents can be a variety of documents ranging from user manuals to white papers and software specifications. When you are looking to market your product or services in a different region, you will have to convert all of your website and offline content material to a local language. While this seems like a very hard task to perform, you can take care of it by keeping in mind few following tips. These include:
1. Never go Automated:
There are thousands of automated translation programs available online. However; the bad news is that these programs are not very accurate with other languages, and often tend to cause confusion for the reader when translated. Technical documents are usually offline or downloadable content which needs to be translated manually. Never take a chance with automated service, and find a professional translation company.
2. Keep it simple:
When writing a technical document do not make the content a complex task for the translator. Writing good content is vital to the easy conversion of your document into other languages. Therefore, break down sentences to make it easier for translator.
3. Keep source files:
Source files are often overlooked when sending over documents for translations. Source files can include objects like images with embedded texts. Therefore, it is necessary to send over original source files to the translation agency when you send over the technical document.
4. Get a professional to help with Complex content:
There are instances when you will need to have a professional assist you with translation of industry related jargons according to a specific country, such as the engineering documents which include unit matrix and similar content.
5. Edit references as per Location:
When writing technical documents, you might write down references or examples of other local companies in your area. However; remember to edit these when you are converting the document for another region.
6. Remember to be specific:
When you are sending over a document for edit, make sure to follow the same font across the board. This gives a professional feel to the company profile. Pick a font which can easily be used across the board (except for few special languages which do not use alphabets of English).
7. Don’t just ask to translate words:
When you are looking for a document to get translated, automated translators will only be converting words. However; you need your document to make sense, therefore; hire a professional translator who is able to translate while keeping alive the feel and meaning of document. He/she might have to restructure the content as per local language.
8. Never use slang:
Technical documents have no space for slang and there is a reason for it. Using slang can often confuse the translator, who might not be a very good multilingual individual.
9. Explain the purpose of content:
The main purpose of content has to be conveyed to the translator. You need to let him know if it is meant for general information or for marketing purpose.
10. Allow translate to add content:
The translator will probably have a better knowledge of local language and popularity of specific content according to local market. You can guide him if he can enjoy certain flexibility with the restructuring of content as per local popular trends and adding extra content.
11. Stick to a style guide:
When writing a technical document, remember to follow a popular, yet simple style guide for best results. Some popular ones include the famous Chicago Manual of Style which is often used by majority of American businesses.
12. Have a strict grammar policy:
No matter whichever language is the document being translated into, you will need to follow a strict grammar policy. If you are a large company, you will send across this document to CEO’s and other senior staff, you don’t want to lose a deal over grammatical mistakes.
13. Have multiple links in navigation:
If you are using a single domain for number documents in different languages, you should include quick links in the navigation, or embed them in the text of your web content.
14. Study the local market:
When sending over a document for translation into another language, remember to study the local market trends and regulations. This will not only help you with a successful translation, but also advise you about the scope of business in a specific country.
15. Translate buttons:
If you are going to use buttons for force downloads of the documents, it is advised that you translate buttons text into each respective language as per the targeted country.
16. Use local images:
For marketing purposes, if you are using images of individuals, you should also switch to images of locals for each respective country.
17. Change colors:
Colors also play an important role for marketing when you prepare your document. Therefore, remember to pick colors that are either neutral or change the colors according to local customs.
18. Make a glossary for acronyms:
If you have used a number of acronyms in your document, you should remember to prepare a list of glossary for these terms and explain what each respective terms stands for.
19. Provide links to images:
When inserting images in a document, you can embed or provide clickable links to a local page or source of information in local language.
20. Always cross check:
Last but not least, when you receive the final document for a specific language, always make it a point to have a monolingual individual go through it, to make sure that content makes best sense in local language.
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