User manual translation-Part

Except the words, the sentence structure has their own characteristics. Please see blow:

1) Many imperative sentences are involved

In product description, there are a quantity of imperatives sentences are used to express the instruction, requirement and examples in stress, order and warning way. By using such sentences, it could convey the serious order to the consumer. The common-used imperative sentences includes following ones:

A) Modal verbs

The modal verbs like May, can, should, must, can’t, shouldn’t and mustn’t are used to tell consumers the possibility or about the information of how to operate it, what should/may we do, what should not do. See below examples:

In order for the computer to recognize the Maxhard drive in the system, the power cable and IDE interface must be properly connected.


There cannot be two Masters or two Slave devices on the same cable.


B) Using DO Not

“DO NOT” sentences are used to express the direct meaning and tough tone in machine operation manuals, like:

Do not press down the can yet.


C) Using Please

Such sentences will be used in those manuals of serving marketing, not industry marketing. And it aims to convey the actual meaning to the customers in polity manner. For example:

Please be prepared to provide: your name, address, telephone numbers and proof of purchase…


D) Using Never

Never + Verb is a very tough tone used in manuals to tell people should not do this.

NEVER use insect repellents on wounds or irritated skin.


Read Also: Measure of Translation Effects

2) Passive tense

In manual translation, passive tense are usually used to express the order and instruction, like:


The products can be installed in several types such as cabinet, vertical racks, horizontal racks, ground placement and installed with other kinds of power supply cabinet according to user’s requirement.

One of the characteristic for those sentences are simple, as well as the tense. For product description, the language and expression should be as simple as possible and avoid the long sentences which are not easily understood. And the tense should be as simple as possible, such as the present tense.

It is used in conjunction with LVDTs to convert transducer mechanical position to a unipolar or bipolar dc voltage with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. All circuit functions are included on the chip.


Enriched moisturizing ingredients leave skin feeling soft and refreshed.

In this sentence, only these four words “enriched”, “moisturizing ”, “feeling” and “refreshed” are used which lets the sentence structure more simple and clear.