Translating User Guides

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We are very busy translating user guides and leaflets for several different clients. The team are working on stair gate and steriliser user guides into 9 languages for Mothercare. We have also just translated a scanning machine technical brochure into Simplified Chinese. Dale Sports have also ordered a set of product brochure translations into German.

Selecting translators

We attract CVs from translators all over the world. People often ask us how we select translators for given assignments. There are a number of criterion including professional qualification. We also look at areas of technical specialism, as well as skills in the required language combination. Wherever possible we use the same translators for a given client. This builds consistency, and the translators get to know the client. We get to understand their preferences. and preferred ways of working.

Technical vocabulary

When translating user guides, our choice of vocabulary is key. We need to use the correct technical terms. However, it is also important that a guide written for consumers is easily understood by a none technical audience. In contrast, a technical user guide for a complex piece of engineering technology, needs to reflect the technical specialism.

A well written user guide should be accessible to the intended target audience. Unsurprisingly,  the translated version should do the same.

Printing, formatting and DTP

We follow the source format as closely as possible. The team has capability to typeset in Quark, Illustrator or Indesign. We can handle right to left languages like Arabic and Farsi. Most foreign language versions of English user guides will be longer than the original. For example French or Spanish is typically 25 – 30% longer than the equivalent English text. This can add to print costs, and may affect your chosen layout.

If your guide includes diagrams, then we can reflow the target languages into them as well. To do this they must also be fully editable. Otherwise we can produce a key listing the English with the equivalent translations, this is always second best.

Next steps

If you need to discuss any aspect of User Guide Translation, call us on + 44 115 9788980, or use our contact form to send us a message.