Text Analysis, Instructional Texts (User Manuals / Instruction Guides)

User manuals, instruction guides, handling instructions and operating guidelines are texts where two elements are equally important. The terms and facts about the described tool, machine or software matter a lot. And, of course, the user must be able to perform a certain task with the tool, machine or software. Therefore, the needle of the Text Type Detector, T-TD, goes to upward right.

What is important when translating user manuals and instruction guides?

The following is an analysis of instructional texts against the three text parameters.

A. Author Style/Storyline
The author’s intentions, writing characteristics or the storyline is of minor importance in this type of texts. In fact, the author of such texts herself/himself is usually bound by guidelines regarding layout, typographical conventions, consistency, usability and instructional writing.

B. Terms/Literal Facts
First, it is of vital importance to check whether the terminology used in the source text is used consistently. Any inconsistencies must be resolved before the translation is started. Second, the equivalent terminology of the target language must be researched or defined. Third, the terminology must be cross-checked against the tool, machine or software (e.g. screen labels or GUI elements in software, inscriptions or labels on instruments and machines, etc.). Fourth, the terminology should be verified, if possible, by a SME native speaker or double checked against relevant technical resources.

C. User/Action
In user manuals and instruction guides, it is important to keep the instructional character alive in the target language. This may mean that the style, layout and wording must be re-written, because in other languages and their associated cultures instructional texts may be presented to the user differently. It is also important to create and/or translate a search index of sufficient quality and volume, so that the user can easily search for and find specific information.


So, the text type instructional iexts is dominated by the text parameters terms/facts and user/action. These must be transferred appropriately to the other language.

Publications belonging to this text type:

  • User manuals
  • Installation manuals
  • Operating instructions
  • Owner manuals
  • Instruction guides
  • Training manuals (adult training, on-the-job training)

Many professional translators have specialized in working with this type of texts.


One Response to “Text Analysis, Instructional Texts (User Manuals / Instruction Guides)”

  1. Денис Владимирович Тумаркин Says:

    It’s very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of writing at this website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: