Re: SUGGESTION: TechWR and Translation

Subject: Re: SUGGESTION: TechWR and Translation
From: John Posada <jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 15:22:30 -0400


Is it alright to start a thread on TechWriting and translations? This is a
topic that interests me greatly.


This is a topic that interests me too. Not so much from a standpoint of how to
do translating, but it's ramifications when it comes to technical matters.

For instance...I do technical proposal responses and many of the RFPs that we
receive are RFPs from foreign organizations. These documents usually get
translated. Unfortunately, many of the words don't get translated correctly.
We recently did a response that got translated back into the language of the
company requesting the bids and where we discussed transportation issues, the
word "trips" got translated into "children".

I have several questions in this area.

1) When you do a document, and it gets translated, how do you verify that the
translated output is done in such a way that your information stays accurate
both literally and as intended.

2) This is more for those that handle proposals, but when you deal with a
document that has been translated, and you come across wording or phrasing that
you believe has "lost something in the translation", what do you do; have it
retranslated, answer it based on what you think they meant or answer it based
on the translation that you received?

3) Should you create a document, and it gets translated, where does the legal
obligation apply. To the English version of the document regardless of what
the translated document says or based on the document in the receivers native

4) When you submit a document to an entity in another country, how closely do
you follow their conventions. Example: I did a proposal for a German company
that contained a cover letter. The person being addressed in the body of the
letter was a doctor. The correct German form is "Herr Doktor XXX". Do I say
that even though the cover letter was in English? That's kinda like us white
boys saying something is "Def" It may apply, but it just doesn't work.

These are just the questions off the top of my head. I do, however, think it's
an appropriate thread.

John Posada
Technical Writer
Bell Communications Research, Piscataway, NJ
(908) 699-5839 (W)
jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com (W)
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things"
- Vice President Dan Quayle 11/30/1988
I don't speak for my employer and they return the favor

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