Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals

Subject: Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
To: Alec Chakenov <alec -dot- chakenov -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:43:57 -0700


Future tense is less direct than present, uses more words than present, is harder to read than present, and harder to translate than present.

The Sun style guide also points out that users are trying to get stuff done in the present, thus we should be instructing them in the present.

Laura

On Jun 25, 2013, at 11:42 PM, Alec Chakenov wrote:

> What's wrong with using "will" in instructions?
>
>
> 2013/6/25 Anonymous <anonymous -at- techwhirl -dot- com>
>
>> Anonymous has a new challenge, and asks for the list's advice on handling.
>> Please make your replies directly to the list, as they cannot be
>> forwarded.
>>
>> --------------------
>>
>> Greetings,
>>
>> I need some advice.
>>
>> I've been asked to review and edit some Ops manuals from our Chinese tech
>> pubs department for a product we will be selling domestically. It appears
>> that the manual was written in Chinese and then translated into English. It
>> is in bad shape. I don't have access to their style guide, but I've noticed
>> that they use the pronoun "you" in their manuals and we don't in our
>> manuals. For example, "Use [Quick Admit] only if you do not have the time
>> or information to fully admit a patient. " and "You can transfer a patient
>> with an XYZ or ABC to a new location without re-entering the patient
>> demographic information or changing the settings. "
>>
>> They also use "will" throughout the manual and we do not. For example,
>> "Select
>> a patient and then click [Import]. Then the monitor *will* update the
>> information for the corresponding patient." We would write, "Select a
>> patient and then click [Import]. The monitor updates the information for
>> the corresponding patient."
>>
>> I'm uncomfortable re-writing this manual based on our style guide even
>> though it is for our US clients and not theirs because I don't want them to
>> feel snubbed. I'm also not sure if this manual has been translated yet (I
>> have asked the project manager to find out), so that will be a factor in
>> how much I change as they are VERY cost conscious and likely will not want
>> to pay for so many updates.
>>
>> Gentle opinions are welcome.
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> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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References:
Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Anonymous
Re: Advice on rewriting translated ops manuals: From: Alec Chakenov

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