Multi-lingual user guide translation is becoming ever more important, especially in a globalised world. Even within the context of the current economic recession, many companies are looking to export markets. They aim to maintain or grow market share as well as increasing profits through international sales. Making their products and services accessible to customers of other languages, is an important part of this approach.

Multi-lingual translation is a strategic part of this process. Better Languages provides multi-lingual translation for both large and small clients. This includes translating user guides for a wide variety of products.

Unique aspects of multi-lingual user guide translation

Multi-lingual user guides have some key factors in common:

  1. Formatting: We always respect formatting as far as possible. Using a simple layout will make printing easier. Always bear in mind that other languages are longer than English. Typically as much as 30% longer. I often quip that Russian goes on for ever. A slight exaggeration, but you need to allow plenty of extra space for Russian.
  2. Repetition between guides. If you sell a range of similar products, you are likely to have some repetition between user guides. We discount repetitions, by 70% on the full translation rate. If you use the same supplier, you should expect these discounts.
  3. Diagrams and illustrations. Depending on the format, we can often edit diagrams and illustrations to add in the translations. If they are uneditable and full of text, you give a worse user experience in the translations. We can provide a key to reference the terms, but this is not as good as being able to add in the translations to the illustrations.
  4. Length. You are paying per English word, so if you double the length of the guide, you are doubling the translation cost. Not only that, but if the guide is multilingual, you are massively increasing your print costs. Keeping the guide clear and simple will help your customers, and make it easier and quicker to translate.
  5. Technical specialism. We work with a large number of freelance translators. Sometimes clients think this is a disadvantage compared with having an in-house translation team, but actually there are many benefits. A key one is that of specialism. A small agency, with an in-house translator per language, may have the general language skills, but not the technical specialism you need. Technical user guides require the translators to be familiar with the technical vocabulary, in both source and target languages. If they aren’t, you may get a flowing text, but serious terminology errors.

Talk to us today about translating your multilingual user guides.