Translating instructions in manuals and cookbooks - Diachronic Research
Thread poster: Avraham Roos

Avraham Roos
Israel
Jun 18, 2019

Does anyone know anything (either from experience or from outside sources) about shifts in the language-use of instructions over the years (either in ST or TT)?

I am doing diachronic research on language use and would like to focus on instructions in manuals, cookbooks, etc. I am interested in how the language for this particular type of text has changed as compared to the past. I am in particular interested in the length of instructions, use of active/ passive, gender, localization
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Does anyone know anything (either from experience or from outside sources) about shifts in the language-use of instructions over the years (either in ST or TT)?

I am doing diachronic research on language use and would like to focus on instructions in manuals, cookbooks, etc. I am interested in how the language for this particular type of text has changed as compared to the past. I am in particular interested in the length of instructions, use of active/ passive, gender, localization of TT, etc. but also if there are specific changes made when translating these from one language to another. My main focus is the English language (either ST or TT).

Bonus points for academic articles that deal with this topic.
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marvinwalker
 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to German
A place to search Jun 18, 2019

Hi Avraham,

maybe you can ask these guys and/or search their website for resources? https://www.technical-communication.org/

All the best,
Ricki


 

Avraham Roos
Israel
TOPIC STARTER
thanx Jun 19, 2019

Thank you for this suggestion. Will try it out.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What's the period you're interested in? Jun 19, 2019

Avraham Roos wrote:
I am interested in how the language for this particular type of text has changed as compared to the past.

I remember the Plain English Campaign starting way back last century ('70s?). I'm not sure whether it was just in the UK or if it applied to all variants, but it certainly changed a lot of things where I lived. At last you could actually begin to understand letters from social services and other government bodies! I know that affected manuals etc. as I remember someone on TV trying to follow garbled instructions to assemble something. The TV show presented Gobbledygook Awards for the worst cases. I remember the campaign doing great work but I was just a young secretary, not long out of school, at the time, and writing exactly what my boss told me to write. I never dreamt I'd be translating into and editing English one day .

I do remember being confused by recipes when I arrived in France. Some instructions used the infinitive and others the imperative. My neighbours in the vineyards of Languedoc said they thought that the rules might be changing. The fact that many French verb endings sound the same (couper/coupez, laver/lavez) means they probably had no idea which was which, as I later found out that most of them had atrocious written French.


Kay Denney
Emma Page
 

Avraham Roos
Israel
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting ideas Jun 19, 2019

Dear Sheila,

Thank you for this reply and for pointing me the way to the Plain English Campaign. That was really helpful. I wonder if a process like this also happened in other English speaking countries.

Avraham


 


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Translating instructions in manuals and cookbooks - Diachronic Research

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