Do you think that...

The translation costs are too high     yes   no
Everybody speaks English     yes   no
A good training replaces a manual     yes   no
Proofreading is too much time consuming     yes   no

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Yes, the translation costs are too high

You might have experienced difficulties, or the cost of a projected translation did not allow you to envisage a sufficent return on investment.
Translation costs find their explanation simply in the amount of work and in the hardware and software investment that translation requires. A technical translator charges his work at a rate which depends on his background education and experience.

In France, many sectors require a french documentation, in particular public procurement contracts necessarily include a french documentation clause.
This is also a powerful way to penetrate many industrial sectors because users do not always have the english level that would be required and they often demand a good french documentation. This is especially true for ISO 9000 certified companies because one of this standard requirement is to have a good adequation between documents and document user's competence.

No, the translation costs are not too high

You certainly had the occasion to measure the return on investment that a good translation can bring for markets which would be otherwise inaccessible. Bravo !

Yes, everybody speaks English

It is true that most of the people demonstrate a level in English that deserves some consideration, and that most of the manufacturers supply English versions of their manuals. It is nevertheless also true that this level is modest enough to make technical documentation reading difficult, in reality, many technical documents are simply never read . People prefer to a large extent to telephone to the local representative and cure the problem by technical support. The latter action solves usually the problem, however, it is expensive for the user and the manufacturer because of considerable amount of time spent in product support.


No, not everybody speaks English

You certainly have faced a situation where the English level appeared to be inadequate to make an urgent decision. Incidentally we can remark that when technicians do have bilingual or multilingual manuals, it can be profitable to them by giving them a chance to acquire some missing knowledge.

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Yes, a good training replaces a manual

A good training allows the technician to acquire theoritical and practical knowledge about the instruments and tools which he works with. However, the manual stays always the essential reference book when after a few weeks or months, initial training memories are fading away. It is then always better to have a good documentation written in one's mother languagel already available.


No, a good training does not replace a manual

If it were the case, course books and manuals would have disappeared from school and after sales service workshop shelves a long time ago. Both are complementary: there is no permanent training without good written support, inversely, there is no good written support mastering without training.

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Yes, proofreading is too much time consuming

The proofreading time depends on several factors, among which two are essential: the translation quality and the presentation quality. It is not useful here to insist on the first factor which is selfexplanatory. On the other hand, the second one is more interesting. If both documents - i.e. original and translation - show identical layouts, it is firstly much easier for the proofreader to retrieve a given sentence in the original in order to check the translation if a doubt exists, secondly, when illustrations are necessary to understand the text itself, they are readily available.
This also allows implementing cosmetic changes and/or corrections immediately without waiting for the first printout of the recomposed document.The time gain is then really significant.

No, proofreading is not too much time consuming

You certainly had to work with excellent and/or "wygiwyg" translations or with documents the layout of which was not important. You should nevertheless be interested in reading the above section.

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