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Different Countries = Different Writing Styles in User Manuals

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Max The Magnificent
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Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
Max The Magnificent   6/5/2014 1:47:35 PM
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@zeeglen: The system designers did not mention that important little fact in the user manual...

I'm happy to hear that th emanual itself was well written -- but you highlight another problem area in that manuals are often drafted by people who know the system intimatly -- it's always a good idea for someone who DOESN'T know the system to try using the manual to work out where problems may hide away.

zeeglen
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Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
zeeglen   6/5/2014 11:38:54 AM
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@Max ...why not go that one last bit and create a good manual.

Just had a new phone installed on my desk.  Even though a rear label says "Made in China", the manual was very well written as far as linguistics.

What the glossy instruction brochure completely overlooked was in the setup "At prompt, enter in a unique pass code, then press#."

To which the stupid machine responded "That is not a valid password."  Nothing else.  End of subject.

Turned out that the password had to be at least 4 digits long.  The system designers did not mention that important little fact in the user manual or the voice prompt.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: technical writing traps
Max The Magnificent   5/8/2014 9:45:10 AM
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@przem: Naked conductor running alongside the train...

That would be a shocking sight LOL

przem
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technical writing traps
przem   5/7/2014 10:15:07 PM
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My favorite example is:

 

Naked conductor running alongside the train


It's perfectly correct English, but a competent English technical writer would rephrase it for obvious reasons.

wes5
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Rookie
Re: Wait for it ...
wes5   5/7/2014 1:54:20 PM
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HaHaHaHaHaHaHa

 

Got to love it!

DU00000001
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CEO
Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
DU00000001   5/6/2014 9:05:37 AM
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"I can't comprehend why manuals are not submitted to a native reader for a final proofing step."

Having been tasked with translations on several occasions, things are slightly different:

Whether you have a native proof reader or a native speaker (writer) doing the translation, there is an additional require- ment for this person: knowledge of the matter handled.
I had native speakers injecting 3 major contortions within a single paragraph - and this was one of the better cases...

On the other hand, when I was reading a lot of datasheets from Sie... and Bo..., it was clear that these documents were "thought" in German and spelled in English. As the swiss colleague already stated: you can understand them by translating word by word.

Measurement.Blues
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CEO
Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
Measurement.Blues   5/5/2014 9:59:18 PM
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"Distributing an incomprehensible instruction manual is product marketing suicide."

And yet we've all seen horrible manuals. The worst are those for cheap digital clocks. I've thrown a few out becuase programming them was so hard and themanuals were useless and full of typos.

DrQuine
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Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
DrQuine   5/5/2014 8:57:32 PM
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I'd hate to think that the cost of having a native reader check a manual would be a factor for a corporation. The cost of having a reader review and correct the document is tricial in comparison to the product support costs of managing the mass of customers who require technical support because of an unintelligible manual and the lost sales from dissatisfied customers. Distributing an incomprehensible instruction manual is product marketing suicide.

Measurement.Blues
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CEO
Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
Measurement.Blues   5/5/2014 2:10:14 PM
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"I can't comprehend why manuals are not submitted to a native reader for a final proofing step."

Cost

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Linguistics and Quality Control
Max The Magnificent   5/5/2014 9:29:13 AM
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@DrQuine: I can't comprehend why manuals are not submitted to a native reader for a final proofing step.  Compared with the hardware and software development costs, the native reader review would cost nearly nothing.

I AGREE!!!  I've never been able to understand this -- when you think og the time and effort involved in creating the product, why not go that one last bit and create a good manual.

 

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