Poll: Have you read the manuals of the tools you are using?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:14
SITE STAFF
Sep 18, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you read the manuals of the tools you are using?".

This poll was originally submitted by Harry Bornemann

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:14
English to Arabic
+ ...
It's trial-and-error and tutorials for me Sep 18, 2006

I think manuals are rarely written in a language that an absolute beginner can do anything with.

I voted "Are you kidding?" though in some cases I do read parts of the manuals.

But if you're asking specifically about TRADOS which comes with a - what? - 600-page manual or so... forget it! I'd rather have a quick look at the tutorial, try, fail, try, check Proz forums, fail, try and try again. I'll still get there faster than if I tried to make any sense of the manual.


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avantix  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:14
German to Dutch
+ ...
What manuals... Sep 18, 2006

Where are the days when we got printed manuals?! Easy reference when using the program with the book(let) on your lap.
Apart from a basic (electronic) tutorial, today we usually must do with those badly indexed annoying Help files, where you rarely find what you're looking for under the headword where you would expect it to be.
For more or less wide-spread 'common' programs such as Windows, MSWord or even Pagemaker you can go to a bookshop a while after the programme became available and spend another 50 or 100 euros to buy a substitute. But for quite expensive 'specialist' programs, such as SDLX or Trados you won't find one.
When I already have to spend several 100 bucks or more, I would be happy to pay say 50 euros more for a printed manual that shows me the way, as in the good old days of Win 3.1.


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avantix  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:14
German to Dutch
+ ...
Where did you get that? Sep 18, 2006

Nesrin wrote:

... about TRADOS which comes with a - what? - 600-page manual or so...


When I purchased my first Trados version, quite a couple of years ago, I never got a (printed) manual with it.

Eventually I decided to print the whole bloody electronic files myself, which filled several ring covers, took hours of my time, and (apart from my time) in cost of printing alone was at least as expensive as a printed manual would have been.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:14
English to German
+ ...
I am a very old trados user Sep 18, 2006

HI! despite the integrated visuals I needed some reading of a few parts about how to do design the TM and work with placeables. Developnig this kind of a TM is not easy, but it pays off on the long run. Unfortunately many outsourcers don´t understand this, and request a TM be deliverd along with the translation and bilinguals. This may be somewhat off-the poll, but .... I had to read parts. Best Brandis

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:14
Member
English to French
currently 14% "are you kidding" Sep 18, 2006

Is that why fora are stuffed with questions that have their answer in the relevant manual?
Philippe


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:14
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
percents of what? Sep 18, 2006

How was the question meant: "did we read the manuels of 50% of the tools we are using" or "did we read 50% of the manuels of the tools we are using"?

I chose "somes paragraphs", assuming it was the "safer" answer: for some tools, I read nothing, for some tools, I read some paragraphs, for somes tools I read almost everything.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:14
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Tutorials are the only way! Sep 18, 2006

I benefit a lot from tutorials.

Several years ago (nearly 10 I think), I did the so-called EU PC driving licence, which probably applied to Word 95, and a few years before that I had been to tutorials for WordPerfect 5.1

I've never seen manuals for those programs, though independent authors have written excellent guides for dummies like me and others prepared to try, and I used those. Now I work with Windows 2000 and use a lot of the personal settings and advanced facilities happily.

I've paid quite a lot for Trados tutorials too, from someone independent of Trados, who criticises it at times, but offers solutions and workarounds.

All the tutors were throrough and helpful. I simply don't have the patience to read manuals. They don't help me, and as for the on-line help... Most of the time, if you can find what you were looking for, you don't need help.

Occasionally it does actually help, I admit, so I keep trying.

I'm voting 'some paragraphs'.
I do try manuals if any or Help before calling a guru.
I'm eternally grateful to Ralf Lemster and Jerzy Czopik
- - They're worth my Proz.com subscription by themselves!

But I really wanted to vote 'you're kidding!'


[Edited at 2006-09-18 10:46]


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:14
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
I love reading user manuals Sep 18, 2006

I know it sounds boring, but I love reading software user manuals, I even do get specialized books, on how to perform special tasks with my MS-Office. Trados manuals, all printed, and read, same applies to Acrobat, Finereader etc.

I want to know what is possible with the tools I bought.

For me it is fun reading manuals and playing with the new features. It also improves my style in how to write user manuals.

I don't understand how anybody can resist to read a user manual of a product he/she wants to use, but as mentioned earlier by sombody else, this might explain all these very basic questions in the forums.

Siegfried


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:14
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Why did you print them? Sep 18, 2006

avantix wrote:

Eventually I decided to print the whole bloody electronic files myself, which filled several ring covers, took hours of my time, and (apart from my time) in cost of printing alone was at least as expensive as a printed manual would have been.


I find it's a lot easier to refer to e-copies o the software manuals than to printed ones: that way you can search them without the need to rely only on the index entries at the back of the book.

I normally try to speed-read computer manuals in their entirety, learning enough details as to be aware of the things I may need to delve into further in the future.


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Arianna Tremayne  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:14
German to English
+ ...
I agree Sep 18, 2006

Translators are supposed to understand and convey into another language. And it is not enough to just know two languages, but the tools to do that need to be known as well!

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Is that why fora are stuffed with questions that have their answer in the relevant manual?
Philippe


What would the customer say if the plumber said 'Excuse me, but do you know what a tap is?'

My 2 cents...


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 11:44
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
The manuals are not available in Hindi, hence... Sep 19, 2006

... it is tedious reading them in English.

I only refer to them when I am in trouble. I wish they had been localized into Hindi which would have made referring to them much easier.

[Edited at 2006-09-19 03:11]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:14
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
First I misunderstood the question Sep 19, 2006

I thought tools are those Black&Deckers and the like, and of course I read those manuals very carefully, seeking inspiration for my own translations of these gadgets.
In 2002 I shared an office with some other chaps, and the machines belonged to the establishment. So when I got my first Trados (5.5) I printed some manual, probably about WinAlign, on the common printer.
A few months ago I found this ring-folder which I had never touched since and threw it away.
It was a waste of paper and ink, but as it was free I did not bother.
I have the manual for Wordfast ready to load into Word when I need it, but otherwise I do not read THOSE manauls.
cheers
Heinrich


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:14
English to German
+ ...
Manuals and other thrillers Sep 19, 2006

Years ago, I was booked by a client to work on a huge graphic design project - on site at their office and on a PC (I was a pampered Macintosh-user and never had touched a PC in my life). However, I bought the Windows manual and read the entire thing the night before I had to start the project. Showing up at their office with the manual under my arm raised some eyebrows, but it worked out fine. Since then I am an avid manual reader and my books usually are decorated with lots of Post-Its and handwritten notes ..
As a reminiscence of this exciting manual-reading marathon this particular Windows 95 manual still has its "place of honor" on my bookshelf between my Dave Barry and Stephen King collections..


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:14
German to English
+ ...
Tutorial, play around and then refer to the manual Sep 21, 2006

That's the order I often do it in.

Not the most efficient way, but it's an alternative to computer gaming, which I am not into.

However, I must confess that I also asked HarryB a question about *.exe recently, which is probably why he posted this poll in the first place.

Having said all this, I agree that Siggi's statement makes a lot of sense: "For me it is fun reading manuals and playing with the new features. It also improves my style in how to write user manuals."

Generalising about manuals and to quote a fellow translator: "I often think that there are only three people who read an average manual. The writer, the translator and the proofreader."

As long as we are included in this equation - let's keep smiling.

To go to Help, press.

Cheers
Chris


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