Re: Translation of manuals?

Subject: Re: Translation of manuals?
From: Sybille Sterk <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 1999 14:40:48 +0100

Geoff Hart wrote:

>I can't tell you what the European Community guidelines are,
>though I strongly suspect they require some form of
>'localisation'. [snip]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.

I believe there are some new EC guidelines that at least part of the manual
has to be in the local language. If you are describing hardware (i.e. with
Health and Safety warnings) I think all of it has to be in the local
language. This also depends on your ISO standards etc and the type of
software. Software used in clinical research or in hospitals has very
stringent rules applied.

We created Concise User Guides from our (very long) manuals, i.e. they only
included the absolutely necessary details. This will reduce costs, however
if you plan on marketing a new project in any of the European countries
(with lots of competition), it is well worth translating the whole lot,
including help files.

To do this, I recommend using an experienced localisation company, which
will sort out all the software localisation into the bargain, or if you
have lots of localisation projects, consider getting some translators
working on a permanent basis for you (on-site or off-site).

There seems to be a notion that especially the French won't touch a product
unless it has been translated into French. The Germans seem more and more
reluctant to put up with software in English, too.

Hope this helps,


Sybille Sterk
Technical Author and Translator (German)
Email: sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net
Web Site: <>
ICQ: #26779340

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