4 Types of Technical Documents that Need Chinese Translation

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Who says reading an end-user document is fun?

Do you enjoy reading the Terms and Conditions of a software company you’d like to use?

Well, if you think reading these technical documents is tedious and laborious, you are not alone. We, too, believe they’re the least type of materials we’d like to read.

However, when we’re talking about Chinese translation of technical documents, this is a different story — every word and context matter. Mistranslation can cause injury in the assembly line, malfunction of a machine. Alteration of phrases or sentences could even result in an accident or a life-threatening situation. Worst could also lead to death.

Technical documents usually include a step-by-step guide on how a product or service works. Complex documents may consist of manuals in the mechanical engineering field, covering the nitty-gritty details of how the operation in factories or assembly line works.

If you’re in the technology, mechanical, manufacturing, software development and closely related sectors that require critical procedures and processes for the business, you might need to run a checklist of the documents that need Chinese translation.

End-User Document

The document is an instruction manual to help the “end-user” or the general public on how to use your product. For example, if you’re planning to work with a manufacturer in China, you need to provide these documents so that you can explain with clarity on how the consumers will use it. In this way, it will be helpful for them on how they can develop it in a way that’ll be effective for the buyers. The manufacturer should have a copy on how the item works because it would be hard for them to produce or assemble it.

Product feature documentation

The document is often used in software products, whether the tangible or the digital formats. It includes a description of every feature and setting of the item the buyer can configure. How to use the item, when, or why a function should be used are covered in this document. The goal of such a technical document is to help the buyer understand the features and settings and what they need to know while they use the item in a specific situation. Some complicated software requires long and detailed documentation especially if the buyers are architects, IT professionals, and developers. Think of this type of document as the “Software Y Handbook.” Usually, the Help button inside a software will lead you to his section or document.

Troubleshooting Documentation

The document covers the word itself, “troubleshooting” tips and instructions. Failures do happen, perhaps a malfunction or merely a bug in a system. The technical writer of this document will help the end-user or buyer to figure out how to fix the issue. There are software products, which include this documentation suitable for advanced users, too, to read the log files and see where the item or task failed. When translating troubleshooting documentation in Chinese, its’ recommended that the translator is also knowledgeable in IT or related field to make sure the steps are clear and the buyer can diagnose the issues.

Code, API, or SDK Documentation

The document describes how developers or engineers can use your code or libraries to write plugins, integration, and add-ons. It could have instructions on how they can customize the software or application. Usually, this is for external use that resellers or middle-ware companies may need to develop programs for their clients. The readers of this type of documents are either system analysts, developers, integration engineers, and resellers.

Our takeaway in Chinese technical documents

When we work on these types of documents, we have a pool of translators who specialize in a specific sector, so they understand the words and terminologies. We also use a CAT tool, a computer-assisted translation that helps and supports us in the translation process. It’s useful when we’re working on technical documents because its translation memory TM can track those phrases and words that are already used before. It can track repetitions. This way, it can speed up the process and ensure that the translation is consistent and accurate.

document translation in chinese