Translating device instructions
Thread poster: CANFR

CANFR
Canada
Local time: 03:14
English to French
+ ...
Dec 23, 2016

Hello,
I have a question. I am translating instructions relating to the operation of an electronic device. There are several functions, modes of operation and general push-button modes. This product's marketing is only in English and I am translating to French. Of course, terms such as ON/OFF is generally translated to MARCHE/ARRÊT. But, if there are other functions that are not translatable in French, is it wrong to have some modes and functions in French and others in English throughout the text?

What do you suggest I do? It has to be consistent and I am not sure what the best thing to do is.

Thank you for any help.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm intrigued Dec 23, 2016

What functions can you perform in English that can't be performed in French? Are they really not translatable?

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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 09:14
Member (2005)
English to German
Ask the customer Dec 23, 2016

... most have rules on this, or you can make several suggestions and let them pick one (1. English only, 2. translations only, 3. English words with translations in brackets consistently for everything, 4. they send you photos of the device and you can see for yourself which words are printed on the device itself and which ones are just descriptive and thus translatable).

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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:14
Polish to English
+ ...
solution 3 Dec 23, 2016

I assume that all descriptions on the device enclosure are in English only - disregarding the marketing area language. Therefore, I support Ricki Farn's solution 3: English words with translations in brackets consistently for everything.

In the instructions manual, I would write ON/OFF (MARCHE/ARRÊT) etc. for all English function names.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:14
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
This Dec 23, 2016

Ricki Farn wrote:

... most have rules on this, or you can make several suggestions and let them pick one (1. English only, 2. translations only, 3. English words with translations in brackets consistently for everything, 4. they send you photos of the device and you can see for yourself which words are printed on the device itself and which ones are just descriptive and thus translatable).


Since this is a manual for a physical device (i.e. not software localization), I'd say that's something you should definitely keep in mind.

[Edited at 2016-12-23 09:55 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 09:14
English to Croatian
+ ...
I'm guessing. Dec 23, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

What functions can you perform in English that can't be performed in French? Are they really not translatable?


They are not "translatable" when they are found in 100+ sources in French in professional usage. He may translate them but the people in practical usage are so used to the English term, they may even get confused with the French word. It does happen with some terms. It's not really proper, but it's the way it is from pragmatical point of view.

I find this with some terms in Croatian. Medical professionals get some materials, like the sound of some words in English, and then being using them intensively and do so for years, and then the term is rooted. What I usually do leave the term in English and then Croatian word between brackets, ie. let the term appear this way at least once in the text.

Agree with others who said that thought should be given to the space for certain words on the actual physical device. In that case I would go only with a clear local word.


[Edited at 2016-12-23 10:11 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:14
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Dec 23, 2016

Ricki Farn wrote:
...which words are printed on the device itself and which ones are just descriptive and thus translatable).

Exactly what I do. Anything not actually printed in the source language on the device gets translated. Most devices have icons and not a tad of text today, so this is less of a concern in modern times.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:14
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Reseconded! Dec 23, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Ricki Farn wrote:
...which words are printed on the device itself and which ones are just descriptive and thus translatable).

Exactly what I do. Anything not actually printed in the source language on the device gets translated. Most devices have icons and not a tad of text today, so this is less of a concern in modern times.


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