OT- Proofreading instructions and manuals
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 36
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Virginia
    Posts
    2,114
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    165
    Likes (Received)
    742

    Default OT- Proofreading instructions and manuals

    Good morning. This is not meant to be a mindless rant so please bear with me. I feel sure that a good many of us have struggled with instructions and manuals that are very poorly translated from foreign countries that don't make a lot of sense. I also feel sure that the manufacturers of any product would want their documentation to make sense. How much trouble would it be to have someone proof read the documentation before it is printed? Are there any firms that a manufacturer could email their documentation to and have it proof read for a small fee?

  2. Likes JoeE. liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,936
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You want cheap goods, you get cheap manuals.

    Price trumps e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g

  4. Likes Larry Dickman, edward.santos liked this post
  5. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Virginia
    Posts
    2,114
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    165
    Likes (Received)
    742

    Default

    These are not always "cheap" goods that I am referring to. I have purchased items from many countries in Europe that were by no means cheap. These are the manufacturers I would assume would like to have the quality of their documentation in line with the quality of their products. I totally agree that if someone is turning out parts in an alley somewhere using their toes as a vice, they are not going to spend a lot of time or effort on documentation.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Beaverdam, Virginia
    Posts
    6,370
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    354
    Likes (Received)
    2714

    Default

    I always wonder why large Chinese companies that were trying to court business from English speakers have websites written in Chinglish. We are talking companies that either have millions and millions of dollars of equipment or trying to fake it. I am sure a good Chinese to English translator is neither hard to find or expensive. Decades ago I worked at a place that had many immigrants from China that could speak and write English pretty well.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,936
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    These are not always "cheap" goods that I am referring to. I have purchased items from many countries in Europe that were by no means cheap. These are the manufacturers I would assume would like to have the quality of their documentation in line with the quality of their products. I totally agree that if someone is turning out parts in an alley somewhere using their toes as a vice, they are not going to spend a lot of time or effort on documentation.
    Now your changing your story to match your rant.

    goombye

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,936
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    351
    Likes (Received)
    1344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I always wonder why large Chinese companies that were trying to court business from English speakers have websites written in Chinglish.
    There was a recent thread about a Syil drilling/tapping center. The manufacturers website was one of the worst I've ever seen.

    I used to get a kick out of some of the manuals and placards on machines. I had a Yang Iron radial drill that had a sign: Attention! If there are oil and will rotate!

    The motor on a Supermax mill had an ID plate with the name on it. It was made by The Great Big Electric Company.

    My favorite was from an '80's era Okuma mill:

    Operators must wear suitable dresses. During times of abnormal stop do not touch the machine recklessly, while for touching the machine, confirm the state well.

  9. Likes JoeE., adama liked this post
  10. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    st,louis mo
    Posts
    600
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1
    Likes (Received)
    305

    Default

    My favorite is shooting the trouble from May Zack manual


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Portsmouth, England
    Posts
    884
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    279
    Likes (Received)
    536

    Default

    A large part of the trouble is that technical publications like handbooks and instructions are regarded by manufacturers as an unwelcome expense, so the pay for technical authors is very poor, so they don't get the people who would make the best authors. I speak from experience, having worked for a tech pubs firm in the eighties. Eventually I gave up trying to edit the unreadable gibberish produced by native English speakers, for very little pay, and moved on to pastures new. The same must be true of translation English, compounded by the fact that it was probably unreadable gibberish in its original language.

    George

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Camarillo Ca
    Posts
    422
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    20
    Likes (Received)
    98

    Default

    I bought a crane weight scale. I could not understand the calibration instructions. I worked on it for hours trying to make it work. I contacted the company, they referred me to a video. The video was in Chinese. I sent the scale back.

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    south SF Bay area, California
    Posts
    1,983
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    134
    Likes (Received)
    612

    Default

    My experience is consistent with crossthread's. Even high-end equipment can come with manuals that appear to be translated from the maker's native language to Supposedly English by someone who didn't grow up using either language.

    What's more, the processes that are most awkwardly described often contain simple-minded technical errors. One example that comes to mind was in the instructions provided by a highly-regarded Swiss manufacturer of precision measurement equipment. For confidentiality reasons, I can't cite specifics . . . but a fair illustration of at particular technical error, in normally-structured American English would be "To measure the height of a bedroom ceiling that exceeds the length of the tape measure, make a small mark on the bedroom wall approximately midway between the floor and ceiling. Use the tape measure to first measure from the floor up to the mark, and then from the ceiling down to the mark. The height of the ceiling above the floor can then be calculated as the difference of the two measurements."

    John
    Last edited by John Garner; 02-12-2019 at 04:50 PM.

  14. Likes sfriedberg liked this post
  15. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    People's Republic
    Posts
    2,461
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    121
    Likes (Received)
    1651

    Default

    Hell, for how many years have we had google translate?

    Just write it translate it, then have google translate it back, repeat until you get something back that makes sense.

    I do this when sending emails in English to ensure I am probably going to be understood.

    Idiom can make the obvious unreadable.

    I do wonder if having a non alpha based language makes the translation more difficult.

    One would think it would be a pretty nice business for Chinese/Americans. Tehc writer via email

    Funny thing about German manuals, I find them very well written, but they do not necessarily tell you what you need to know.

    Frequently the bad Asian manuals will tell you what you need, but the process of deciphering is brutal.

  16. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    4,265
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    3771
    Likes (Received)
    2518

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jancollc View Post
    The manufacturers website was one of the worst I've ever seen.
    For me, the worst website I've ever seen is Maryland Metrics.
    MARYLAND METRICS -- THREAD DATA CHARTS (7)

  17. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,936
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    351
    Likes (Received)
    1344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    For me, the worst website I've ever seen is Maryland Metrics.
    MARYLAND METRICS -- THREAD DATA CHARTS (7)
    Lol.

    I looked at their "USA-Unified Coarse" page. The numbers are all in metric. 1/4"-20 calls for a 5.35mm drill...

  18. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Beaumont, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,514
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    152
    Likes (Received)
    1314

    Default

    I have to say that this is NOT just a function of price. Some decades ago I worked as a TV engineer. They purchased some Japanese made equipment which cost somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars range each. NOT INEXPENSIVE. In fact, it was considered by many as the best of it's kind on the market at that time. They came with both operational and maintenance manuals. To illustrate just how bad the translation was, the title on the cover of the maintenance manual, which was several hundred pages long, read "Color Handy Lookie System". From that, can you even guess what that item was?

    Every step of every maintenance procedure in that manual was equally difficult to understand, some were even a lot worse. We had groups of my fellow engineers discussing just how to perform the procedures that were described. Guess and try. Repeat until it works.

    What was it? A Hand Held, Color, Camera.

    Does Google do any better with a technical translation? I wonder.



    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    You want cheap goods, you get cheap manuals.

    Price trumps e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g

  19. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Iowa
    Posts
    203
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    19

    Default

    I found this recently Travers Tool catalog for Techniks ER collets. Dead Nuts Accurate Collets
    best used for 1/8" (6mm) and smaller Their conversion is a bit off 1/8" is close to 3mm not 6mm

  20. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Utah
    Posts
    753
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1479
    Likes (Received)
    268

    Default

    If I remember right, thermite mentioned he used to write instruction/manuals/etc or something like that.

  21. Likes fusker, sfriedberg, JoeE. liked this post
  22. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Virginia
    Posts
    2,114
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    165
    Likes (Received)
    742

    Default

    My point is, in this day and age, how hard would it be to email the documents to someone who is capable of proofreading the material and then email it back.

  23. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Illinois
    Posts
    239
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    55
    Likes (Received)
    141

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    My point is, in this day and age, how hard would it be to email the documents to someone who is capable of proofreading the material and then email it back.
    I feel your pain sometimes with manuals but it is difficult to make a manual where everyone understands it with out any issues. Perhaps you need a kid to translate the manual for you like I have my kid do the upgrades on my wife's cell phone.

  24. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Ohio USA
    Posts
    3,696
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    63
    Likes (Received)
    1659

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    I have to say that this is NOT just a function of price. Some decades ago I worked as a TV engineer. They purchased some Japanese made equipment which cost somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars range each. NOT INEXPENSIVE. In fact, it was considered by many as the best of it's kind on the market at that time. They came with both operational and maintenance manuals. To illustrate just how bad the translation was, the title on the cover of the maintenance manual, which was several hundred pages long, read "Color Handy Lookie System". From that, can you even guess what that item was?

    Every step of every maintenance procedure in that manual was equally difficult to understand, some were even a lot worse. We had groups of my fellow engineers discussing just how to perform the procedures that were described. Guess and try. Repeat until it works.

    What was it? A Hand Held, Color, Camera.

    Does Google do any better with a technical translation? I wonder.
    Ahh, the infamous (and quite good) Ikegami HL-79. We had a tech fresh from the Navy who was learning about one, and he pronounced it I-keg-me.

    The HT communications radios are "Handy-Talkie".

  25. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    West Coast, USA
    Posts
    7,756
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    424
    Likes (Received)
    4644

    Default

    Be interesting to know what the Chinese language version of, say, a Caterpillar manual looks like or maybe a Haas manual in German -- if there is such a thing?

    China is now said to be the world's largest English-speaking country. Seriously:

    Jon Huntsman says more English speakers in China than United States | PolitiFact

    I'd assume that many of those 300 million+ overestimate their ability when applying for a manual-writing job? Kind of like they guy hiring on here who says he's a machinist, but can't do fractions or figure SFPM??

    As Digger noted, lots of Chinese companies are looking to do things on the cheap. It's only when you get to a now-Chinese company like Lenovo that the manuals are any good. Not sure US companies do any better in the Chinese, Spanish, German, French etc. speaking markets? Maybe, given they're aimed at the higher end?


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
2