Processing of Sentences in Technical Manuals

The processing of sentences in technical manual is to meet the requirements of “information accuracy, logical clearness and readability”.

The information accuracy relies on accuracy translation of technical words as described above and the correct reflection of relationship between words which can be achieved through appropriate adjustment (i.e. describe concepts according to expressions in Chinese using adjunct words)

For example: Always be sure to rest the camera end of the crane on the ground or other stable surface when adding or removing the counter weights.

If translated directly in the original word order without adjustment: 总是保证将吊机装有相机的一端放在地面或者其他稳固的平面上,当增加或去除配重时。

After adjustment: 当增加或去除配重时,一定要将吊机装有相机的一端放在地面或者其他稳固的平面上。

“Logical clearness and readability” is mainly achieved by the determination of what to say first and what to say later according to logical and grammar habits in Chinese when processing long sentences or processing relationship between clauses and the whole sentence. During the translation, the translator shall make clear every operation, every step and every thing to readers if possible as if explaining those to readers face to face so as that readers can be suddenly enlightened after reading, which is just the purpose of the manual.

Technical manuals is generally used to convey informantion without standpoints or viewpoints; so in the consideration of customer, reader and purpose, the latter two dominates. Therefore, not only the habits in Chinese shall be preferably adopted in the translation, but also the word order in Chinese shall be used completely in the translation to achieve the readability unless in special cases, the word order in English can be reserved. This is particularly reflected in operation manuals of equipment and instruments: the translation according to logical habits in Chinese can simplify and make clear the complex technical issues. And if following the word order in the original text, the concepts not complicated originally may be translated into content difficult to understand, even resulting the misunderstanding.

Read Also: Be Careful When Translating Technical Documents

Here is an example:

The laser-timing technology, derived from a battle space identification system, represents an entirely new approach to monitoring performance in cycling, improving on previous break-beam systems that are unable to differentiate between individual athletes.

In orginal word order: 激光计时系统有战斗空间识别系统发展而来,是全新的自行车运动竞技状态监测方法,在之前无法区别单个运动员的断束系统上有了提高。

After adjustment: 以前监测自行车运动竞技状态采用的是断束系统,无法区别每个运动员的情况。而现在采用的是由战斗空间识别系统发展而来的激光计时技术,是一种全新的方法。