A Brief Guide to Technical Manual Translation

Last Updated March 16, 2021

Technical manual translation is a complex process that helps ensure proper use of machinery and the safety of employees in the construction, automotive, or agricultural industries. Here’s how to get it right.

The process is known as technical translation and requires specialized knowledge and experience.

These translators must also keep up to date with the industry in which they specialize, regularly improving their skills and keeping up to date with industry-specific terminology.

Let’s take a deeper look at the skillset needed to master the job of translating manuals, and what tools are available to help with the process.

Who requires technical manual translation?

Technical translation is most often commissioned by manufacturers of household appliances and electronic products like computers or telephones.

A significant chunk of these products are manufactured in Asian countries and distributed worldwide, requiring instruction manuals in most languages.

Other common materials sent for technical translation include:

  • Industrial, construction, and agricultural machinery manuals
  • Vehicle manuals
  • Information brochures
  • Product sheets
  • Catalogs or technical specifications

Translation of manuals for computer and board games as well as toys is also very common, as these products are often developed in other countries and therefore require market targeting.

manuals translation

What skills are needed for manual translation?

To translate a manual well, you must have a great command of the source text language and the target language.

This is of course necessary for any type of translation, but especially in the case when instruction manuals must be precise and clear.

The translator, therefore, must also understand the product and how users interact with it to be able to explain it concisely in the target language. That is why they require working knowledge of the technical field.

The translator also needs to understand specific vocabulary and common terminology that will speak to the target audience.

Tools that Help with Technical Translation

Techincal translation requires not only the necessary expertise, but also the right tools to render the finished product consistent and clear for the user.

Computer-assisted translation (CAT) software can be a big help here. These platforms allow for smooth and efficient translation based on previously translated texts.

Translators can make use of programmable translation glossaries—thematic dictionaries compiled through previous translation projects.

By making using of glossaries, technical translators will always use the correct terms prompted automatically by the software. Consistently using the same terminology makes it easier for users to understand the manual.

CAT software is used by translators and translation agencies that care about developing a knowledge base in various fields.

With CAT software, you can be sure the commissioned translation will be done right. This is why manufacturing companies typically partner with translation providers that make efficient use of CAT and other translation tools.

Rely on Translation Professionals for Your Manuals

Summa Linguae’s language and translation services will help you convey your message effectively and powerfully across the globe.

We take care to provide the highest quality, accurate technical translation and ensure your translated text expresses your intended message.

Get in touch to deliver your message around the world today.

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