Translation of manuals?

Subject: Translation of manuals?
From: "Geoff Hart" <Geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 08:25:52 -0400

Sturzenegger Ivo is <<...Currently... working on a project, on
trasnlation of manuals. We here in Europe has the problem of
having many countries with many different languages. So
now the question , do we have to translate the manuals into
every language or only into the main languages and are there
any appropriate guidlines of getting help on this issue ?>>

I can't tell you what the European Community guidelines are,
though I strongly suspect they require some form of
'localisation'. I can tell you one thing from a personal
perspective: I'd be very offended if I received a manual in
(say) French if the manufacturer knew that I was English. (I
could read it and understand it just fine, but that's not the
point.) If it was in German or Italian, that would be even
worse, because I can't read those languages and would no
longer be able to use the manual. I know that Europeans are
far more likely than North Americans to be bilingual or even
trilingual, but you simply can't count on your audience being
fluent in anything more than their birth language.

My point? Not translating a manual, and not going the extra
step to make sure that the translation accounts for differences
in language between two countries (e.g., England and the
U.S.) that ostensibly speak the same language, will reduce
customer satisfaction. It may even prevent them from using
your product. If you make it difficult enough for people to
use your product, that will cost you sales.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"Perhaps there is something deep and profound behind all those sevens, something just calling out for us to discover it. But I
that it is only a pernicious, Pythagorean coincidence." George Miller, "The Magical Number Seven" (1956)

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