Guide for Manufacturing, Engineering & Technical Translations
The global economy presents both opportunities and challenges for manufacturers. The need to translate everything from operator and technical service manuals to safety labels and corporate websites is among them. Controlling translation costs and streamlining the translation process to avoid costly delays are crucial considerations for any company manufacturing capital goods or other products for export. Translation projects can be most effectively executed through partnership with a reliable translation services company like International Language Services (ILS). A key to controlling costs and assuring accuracy and efficiency is cooperation between your corporate documentation team and your trusted supplier. Here are some best practices you can employ to enhance that cooperation and produce the best results:
- Choose a Translation Services Company – The earlier your chosen translation services company becomes involved in any documentation project that requires translation, the better. By coordinating with your documentation team from the start, a translation team can be assembled, cost-reducing procedures can be implemented, and realistic scheduling can be established. ILS can provide guidelines for document planning that will improve translation efficiency and cut costs.
- Establish Long-Term Translation Relationships – Translation is a recurring need for most international companies. Documents need revisions, new products require new documentation and new markets require translation into new languages. Translation technologies, like translation memory, and the use of standard text, glossaries and style guides make a long-term relationship with your translation services provider a powerful asset over time.
- Enlist Document Creators to Streamline Translations – Your documentation team is one key to reducing translation costs and cutting down on the time needed to turnaround your translations. Your ILS project manager can help establish guidelines for your team that will produce the most efficient and cost effective results.
- Create Documentation with Translation in Mind – Preparing original documents specifically for translation can produce substantial savings and save valuable time. Creating glossaries of technical terms allows translation of those terms to be completed ahead of time and stored in translation memory for faster translation of final documents. Simple direct writing and avoiding idioms and metaphors also simplifies translation and reduces costs. Including plenty of white space in documents allows for the text expansion that occurs in many languages.
- Minimize Changes in Revisions and Updates – For previously translated documents, minimizing changes when preparing updates and revisions can dramatically reduce costs. Change only the portions of the document that require changes and maintain a “tracked changes” file. This may substantially reduce the time and effort to update the corresponding translations.
- Prepare English Documentation with Compatible Software – For many manufacturers and engineering firms, Microsoft Word is the most common software used for documentation. It is familiar and handy. However, other software choices for preparing ready-to-print documentation are superior for translation and formatting purposes and integrate well with the translation tools used by your translation services provider. Adobe FrameMaker and InDesign offer familiar tools and interfaces for documentation creators to use and integrate seamlessly with translation technology to produce print-ready translated files efficiently and at a lower cost.
- Prepare for Translating Text in Graphical Material – From embedded text in graphical images and CAD drawings to product labels, warning labels and computer interfaces, translation can present special challenges. Providing source material to your translation provider in the proper format is important for streamlining your project and attaining the results you need. For example, providing original graphics in Adobe Illustrator format enables your translation services provider to return print-ready final output. Text in your CAD drawings can be exported for translation and then reimported at a much lower cost than translating entire CAD files.
- Limit In-Country Reviews – Many companies make mistakes when sending completed translations to in-country personnel for review. Since the reviewers are not trained, professional translators and are already busy performing their own jobs, the review process can eat up valuable time, result in unnecessary changes that add to translation costs. In-country reviewers frequently attempt to rewrite documents to reflect their personal preferences. Your reviewers can best assist by simply spotting any obvious errors upon project completion or in translating technical glossaries before the translation is started.
At our multilingual language service company, we translate English into 150+ foreign languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, Latvian, Hindi, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Bulgarian, Korean, Hungarian, Romanian, and more. Our technical translators specialize in a wide range of business documents – user manuals, operation manuals, repair instructions, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), training materials, online help files, IFU’s, labels, safety decals, contracts, promotional materials, web sites, sales flyers, newsletters, business proposals and more.
Working with Your Documentation Team for Translation Success
At International Language Services, our 30+ years of experience in providing translation services for manufacturers and engineering firms has taught us the value of cooperation between our corporate clients and our translation teams. Communication from the beginning of a project and throughout our relationship is the key to accuracy, efficiency, and cost-effective translations of your documents in all of the languages needed for your expanding global market. Our team of experienced project managers and native-speaking translators, along with our state-of-the-art translation technology and ISO-certified processes are your assurance of quality in every aspect of your translations. Contact us to discuss your manufacturing, engineering or other technical document translation needs.