Re: Manuals Written in Non-American English

Subject: Re: Manuals Written in Non-American English
From: Mayumi Nishioka <IM3M-NSOK -at- ASAHI-NET -dot- OR -dot- JP>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 12:13:56 +0900

Jane Bergen <janeb -at- airmail -dot- net> wrote:

>First, don't use contractions. Usually we avoid those in tech writing
>anyway, but just in case.... spell it out.

I'd appreciate it very much. I can learn the entire spelling on the
Net mostly, but some remain unknown, leaving me unable to come up with
understandable Japanese equivalents. I'd also appreciate it if a
single function or part or window was always referred to by the same
(set of) word(s). (It would be best if I could use the program or
have the machine demonstrated, but sometimes it's impossible.)

>Second, avoid tag questions. Japanese is one of the languages that
>have a really hard time answering questions like: "You're happy,
>aren't you?" Their language system has no constructs like this. A
>"no" answer would contradict the first part but a yes answer the
>second part.

Well I don't see tag questions so often in manuals I'm asked to
translate, but skilled English-to-Japanese translators should be able
to translate tag/negative questions and answers to them not to mislead
a Japanese audience. [On the other hand, I believe if a Japanese user
is so proficient in English as to consult the original English manual,
s/he should already know how (differently) "yes" and "no" work in
English. I don't deny the possibility of exceptions, though.]


Mayumi Nishioka, Wakayama, Japan
Technical Translator
im3m-nsok -at- asahi-net -dot- or -dot- jp

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