How to translate a product manual?

How to translate a product manual?

What’s a Product Manual?

Product manual, also known as User guide, Instruction manual or a brochure is intended to give assistance to people using a particular system.

It is usually written by a technical writer, although user guides are written by programmers, product or project managers, or other technical staff, particularly in smaller companies.        

User guides are most commonly associated with electronic goods, computer hardware and software, although they can be written for any product.

Why do we need Product Manuals?

Let’s say, you built a nice product and you want to release that into the market, but users do not know how the product works or how to use it. This is where a user manual comes into the picture.

Whenever we buy a product like these, we always tend to check the Technical user manual for instructions on how to use the product.

For example, you buy a mixer grinder and you do not know how to use it, you open the instruction manual and learn about it and then use the appliance as given in the instruction manual.

How does a Product manual looks like?



Here are two snapshots from the product manuals.

The first one tells the specification/parts of a product and the second one shows how the product works or the technical instructions on how to use the product.

Now, why is translation of product manuals important?

When a product is released, any user tends to open the user manual to check how can they use the product.

And if the brochure just comes in English, Or Chinese if the product was bought from china.

Of course, not everybody understands English or Chinese.

The user is left clueless on how to use the manual.

Translation of Product manuals becomes important for the products that are sold across the borders.

If your consumers are non-native English speakers, then it is equally important to translate your product manual into your end-users’ native tongue.

How to do the translation of user manuals?

There are several companies that offer such translation services for product manuals. Below are some of the examples,

1. Trusted Translations

2. Interponic

3. Translation Services Experts

4. Protranslate

These companies offer translation of product manuals as a service.

You provide the manual/brochure and they translate it, redraw, typeset everything and give you the translated version of the user manual which is time consuming and also expensive.

The reason is, they have separate teams which do the Translation and Design of the entire manual.

Translators just take care of the text translation from language A to language B.

The other team DTP or Graphic Designers, then take the text of language B back and put on the original image after erasing the text of language A.

Hence it’s a complex process which involves coordination and takes a lot of time for the translated manual to be delivered.

Here is how it looks,


How do we ease this process?

To ease the process and save time for the customers, we have built the tool ImageTranslate that does OCR, translation, redrawing and typesetting online in one editor.

Here’s how ImageTranslate works:

  1. Take a picture/scan the product manual. (Make sure the picture is clear enough)
  2. Sign up with ImageTranslate. Upload the image by clicking on new image.
  3. Select the source language (The language its already in)  and target language (the language you want to convert it into).
  4. Uncheck the “create regions automatically” if your manual has a lot of text. (To know more about how to create regions, check out this video)
  5. Click on Next Your translated image will be ready in a few seconds. (Note: If you uncheck “create regions automatically”, you have to draw the regions separately for translating the manual).
  6. You can download them and print the entire product manual and read it in your desired language or share it with your friends or colleagues.

Here’s an example of a product manual of a DSLR camera translated with ImageTranslate from English to Spanish,

And this is how the process looks with ImageTranslate


As e-commerce is going global and people are purchasing products from all over the world, the translation of product manual becomes all the more important.

The companies selling these products want to have the manual in multiple languages, for their buyers to understand the product.

Importers and exporters want to translate the manuals of the product they bought from a different country, which came in their language, to the language of country and buyers they want to sell them to.

Buyers, who bought the product but didn't get the manual in a language he or she understands, wants to get it translated.

Hence the need arises for translation services or tools for translating these product manuals in our own languages.

If you are the manufacturer, who wants to publish the manual in multiple languages and do not have the translation capability you can opt for the translation services.

ImageTranslate is a tool, where you can translate those manuals yourself for your buyers. And if you are a user you can use it to understand the basic instructions given in the manual.

Well if you see, this post itself is a brochure for ImageTranslate itself.

Happy Translating :)