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It loses something in the translation

Does anyone have any pointers on translating user documentation from English into European languages? I've gathered information from STC and would welcome any additional resources you might suggest.

A. Mullig
Friday, July 26, 2002

Tip #1:

If they don't understand your translation,
JUST TYPE LOUDER.

stupid american
Friday, July 26, 2002

If you must translate from English into language X, IMO it's better to use someone for whom X is their 1st language and English is their 2nd.

In dominantly English-speaking countries at least, translators are often temporary or contract workers; we hired 12 different people for each of 12 different languages.

Also, writing user documentation for software is something of an acquired skill, so prefer someone who has experience with doing this.

name witheld by request
Friday, July 26, 2002

    "If you must translate from English into language X,
      IMO it's better to use someone for whom X is their 1st
      language and English is their 2nd."

I agree. A native speaker of language X is much more likely to deal correctly with proper translations of colloquialisms in the document. Or were you under the impression that all cultures normally use phrases like "log in," "reboot," and "bring up the <x>?"

Steve Wheeler
Friday, July 26, 2002

What is lost?

European languages are e.g. 50% longer than English. :)

When I was a contract technical writer I took away from each contract a copy of the completed manual. When you interview a writer ask to see their previous works (unlike source code, end-user manuals are not secret, so you should be able to see them). Talk with them about what tools or document format they will use for you.

Consider version control: you may have parallel development (writers and programmers working simultaneously, and several translations simultaneously).

> I've gathered information from STC and would welcome any additional resources you might suggest.

If you have a specific question, why not post it here.

name witheld by request
Saturday, July 27, 2002

I always thought English was a European language. :-)

James

James Shields
Monday, July 29, 2002

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