Any time an operating manual for an IT application has to be translated, this presents a special challenge. IT translations and these applications are often very complicated. Think about what the translator is expected to do. He/she has to translate a user’s manual of an application that they have never used on their own. It is like translating instructions on how to play a game that you have never actively played.
Therefore, more than just translation knowledge, IT translators have to have knowledge of computers and their basic functions and extensive knowledge on how databases work. Knowledge of databases cannot be done without. They have to be very “computer savvy” so to say. This is crucial. In the case of SAP translations, for example, it is a great prerequisite to have worked with SAP or another ERM (Enterprise Resource Management) systems for example.
Providing access to the program is not possible in many cases, so the translator has to be creative, but it is very important to establish a good line of communication between the client and the translator/translation agency so that questions can be asked as well as answered. For IT communication, communication is the key.
In addition, other things can also help a lot. Provide any type of reference possible. If there are older versions of the program where the manual has already been translated, provide the translator with that information. If you have screenshots of the program, make sure that these are given to the translator. If you have screenshots that are in both the source and the target language, make 100% sure that the translator gets this, or you are going to run into a terminology issue for sure. This is something that can be avoided quite easily, by just providing the translator with as much information on the program as possible and making yourself available for any questions the translator might have.
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