We know how important it is to deliver the correct translation of your operating manuals!
MK Vertalingen is the ultimate specialist in technical translations.
Are you an exporter of technical products? Then it is very likely that you will need to have the operating manual for the product translated into several languages. On this page we answer the most frequently asked questions and provide a few tips you will need to be aware of if you want to have your operating manual translated.
When should I have my operating manual translated?
If your product is listed by the European Machinery Directive, then you are required to have the operating manual translated into the language of the importing country. For more information on this topic, please read this article on the Machinery Directive and the European requirements.
The customer in the exported country may request an operating manual in their own language, as otherwise the product cannot be used or commissioned.
It is a friendly gesture towards the customer to ensure the operating manual is not only available in English, but also in, for example, German, French, Spanish, Italian Polish or Russian. This also demonstrates that you are an international company.
Why is it advisable to have my operating manuals translated by a professional agency?
Inaccurate technical manual translations can not only cause embarrassment, they can lead to potentially hazardous situations. You would not want any errors in the instructions on how to install, use or maintain your machine. Every day, MK Vertalingen translates operating manuals into all popular languages. How can you be certain that we really are a professional company? Click here to read what others say about us.
The difference between MK Vertalingen and many other general translation agencies is that we know that, in most cases, having the specialist technical knowledge to translate a manual is crucial. In many cases, our translators have had a technical education or have worked for large technical companies for many years. They have made, seen and translated numerous manuals.
The translator working on your manual is not only a professional and knowledgeable expert in that specific language field, but also has knowledge of your branch or sector. Because we translate manuals on a wide range of systems and machines every day, we have highly skilled and well-educated translators working for us.
After reading this article, are you interested in requesting a quotation? Then click here.
Why don’t we translate the manual ourselves? Our secretary speaks fluent Spanish.
There are companies that decide to translate the manual themselves, with or without help from employees who have a gift for languages. Initially this solution is often the most cost effective. However, the downside is that your employees are not professional translators. They need to do their translation on top of their every-day tasks, which means it can takes months for a translation to be completed. Usually, they have not acquired the necessary experience that comes with translating texts every day, making the risk of sub-standard translations very likely. However, the biggest drawback is that they do not use the translation software that translation agencies use. This software ensures each sentence segment is saved. What if these segments occur more than once in a manual? Then the software will immediately complete the exact match, making it a far more efficient and cost-effective way to translate. Any modifications to the manual are easy to implement, and moreover, the technical vocabulary is saved, so that translations are always consistent, both in current and future versions.
This is why we always recommend that you have your manuals translated by a professional translation agency. This assures you of a fast, professional and, in the long-term, more cost-effective translation than by attempting to translate the text yourself.
Why would I have MK Vertalingen translate my manual?
- We specialize in technical translations.
- We have a thorough knowledge of the engineering markets and products.
- We work with highly experienced professional technical translators who always translate into their own native language.
- We can handle all of the most common language combinations.
- We work quickly and accurately.
- We are not expensive, and have excellent references.
Five tips for translating a manual
Do you want to have a manual translated? Then first read these tips:
- Ensure you have sufficient reference material, such as photos or your competitors’ multilingual websites. It must be clear to the translator exactly what you manufacture and what jargon is used. What if you don’t have any reference material? Then, in some cases, it may be advisable for us to come and take a look around the shop floor.
- Ensure your manual is well written and free of any errors. It occasionally occurs that manuals are provided that have been ‘on the shelf’ for many years, or that have merely had chapters added over time. Cast a critical eye over the manual before you decide to have it translated. Is it really necessary to have all the information in the manual translated? Can the Dutch or English version be improved upon or be more concise? Are the instructions clear and unambiguous?
- Many engineering companies work through agencies abroad. It may be advisable to have their agents first review the jargon used in the translation. We always appreciate feedback from agents to ensure the translation is absolutely accurate.
- It is important to be aware that the translation is often longer than the original. Leave plenty of white space when drafting the original manual, so there is always sufficient space for the translation.
- Consider carefully how you intend to submit the text to be translated. For example, if your manual has been created in InDesign, then we would prefer to receive the xml files. Sometimes, it is much more practical to translate plain text, without any layout. In any case, it is always advisable to discuss with your translation agency beforehand the best way to submit your files.