Operation manuals are crucial documents. Every machine has a corresponding operation manual. The language involved is very rigorous and complex. Therefore, the Chinese document translation of operation manuals must be accurate.
With the awakening economy of the country and the expedited speed to join the world stage, many national brands aspire to make a beachhead in the international market. According to a senior translator of a translation agency, the Chinese document translation of operation manuals is critical in this process.
There are a few things we need to pay attention to, when translating operation manuals:
1. In terms of the wording and phrasing of the style feature and translation purpose of manuals, imperative sentences and impersonal sentences are frequently used in operation manuals. The tone of manuals is usually very formal, rigorous, and objective. In terms of rhetoric, the style is more rustic and avoids being vague. However, there is a difference between the operation manual and the purely technical article. Please refer to “Common skills in English translation” for related articles.
The main function of the operation manual is to attract and stimulate consumers’ purchase behaviors and provide instructions on the proper use of the product. The primary concern for the translator is not about doing word by word translation, but to entice the readers (potential consumers) to purchase the products, thereby providing the profit that vendors seek. A good operation manual should be accurate and objective, providing clear and concise understanding for readers/potential consumers, while stimulating their purchase behaviors. The main objective for translators is to provide clear, accurate and thorough translations for the readers.
2. The objective of providing “clear and accurate” operation manuals is the bridge and link communication between vendors and the consumers. Factual and accurate translations are paramount for corporations seeking to break into the international market and gaining a firm foothold in the intense international competition. Appointing a proper translation agency to provide quality translation services is crucial and fundamental. Poor, erroneous and inaccurate translations can lead to confusion and misuse of products, which leads to consumer dissatisfactions and complaints, causing negative impacts on the image and sales of a product/business. Moreover, poor and misleading translations can put consumers’ lives and safety at risk.
3. The purpose of the translation of operation manuals is to implement “readability”. Translators will need to consider how to effectively convey the information content while meeting the expression rules of the translation language and engaging readers’ interest. Let’s take the translation of cosmetics operation manuals, for example. As previously mentioned, the cosmetics operation manual requires a more aesthetic style, to satisfy the female consumers’ psychological desire for beauty. From the language perspective, there are so many ways to create/invoke the essence of beauty. An accurate and deliberate selection and adaptation of appropriate style for each product can create a true and attractive association for the readers. It can sometimes go beyond the form of the original language to adapt to the readers’ tastes and preferences. Consumers today are bombarded with numerous and complex brand selections. With the intense competition in the world market, an accurate, enticing and desirable Chinese document translation could be the key to awakening customers' psychological expectations and catering to their individual needs/wants, thereby providing the business the right break and lion’s share of the market.