4 ways to achieve the perfect multilingual manual

Picture this…
you have just received that expensive amazing super cool gadget. You rip open the packaging without hesitation, get the instructions out and realise that you need a degree in modern languages to even get started.  You can’t even figure it out for yourself because there are no pictures.  So, you head to the nearest review site to leave a scathing review based simply on the manual.

Admittedly, many gadgets don’t need too much in the way of instructions but sometimes, just sometimes, instruction manuals are a necessity.

So, how do you ensure your brand doesn’t fall into the shoddy instructions = bad review trap?

There are so many ways that you can create the perfect multilingual manual.  Here are just 4 ideas to help you create the perfect instruction manual.

Hire a professional copywriter

Yes, no one knows your product like you do, however, if your target market’s language is not your native tongue you could end up alienating a huge consumer base. Likewise, if your grammar isn’t up to scratch, then you could end up turning JFK and Stalin into strippers!

A professional copywriter with be able to turn your own instructions into a beautifully written piece of copy. Your instructions will be clear, concise and a piece of cake for any consumer to follow.

With the second point in mind, you would get bonus points for finding a professional multilingual copywriter.

Find a human translator with experience.

If you are arranging the whole production, marketing and sales processes yourself and plan to market in multiple countries then you will need an awesome translator.  A human translator may cost you some money, but you will be thanking them in the long run.

As a kind of spin off point here:


They are often inaccurate (even if only slightly) and you could end up with something rather like these awful (but so funny) translations.
As funny as they are, they aren’t very professional and won’t do anything to help you market around the world.

Hire a company to do it all for you.

There are many companies who specialise in multilingual manuals. Generally, they are with you every step of the way and will provide you with an amazing manual that make sense in any language.  You will be able to avoid the translation fails linked above.

I am going to tell you to research companies.  Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and other search engines and networking tools to find the company you want to hire. It’s important to find a professional company that fits with you and your brand. You will need to work closely with them to get your manual exactly how you want it.

Include pictures

Manuals with oodles of text scare me. Why? Text can be hard to read while attention is split between the manual and your new toy.

Consider producing illustrated manuals for your products and you could be on to a winner.  If the pictures are good quality and resemble the product there won’t be any problems. There’s nothing stopping you from adding one line of instructions alongside the image.  In fact, this will probably work incredibly well.

Creating the perfect multilingual manual shouldn’t be difficult but you must do it right.

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