Manufacturing documents come in different standards and conventions across countries and cultures.
Similar to the issue with terminologies, the contents, structures, and styles of manufacturing documents may vary significantly across countries and cultures.
Several studies have highlighted the differences between Chinese and Western user manuals in terms of content. Chinese manuals tend to include more non-task-related information, such as advertisements and welcoming messages.
Research findings regarding the structure of Chinese and Western documents reveal that while a similar number of structural elements (like headings and lists) are used in user instructions from both cultures, Chinese manuals exhibit a less explicit and systematic use of these elements. It’s concluded that Chinese manuals generally have a “fuzzier” structure compared to Western manuals.
Chinese manuals tend to have a less direct style compared to Western manuals. This is evident in shorter task descriptions, less explicit identification of actions, indirect suggestions instead of direct recommendations, and less specified tools for tasks. Politeness is another aspect where differences arise, as Chinese documents often adopt a formal style to express politeness and respect, while Western documents are suggested to have a relatively informal style, with a conversational tone deemed more appropriate.
When localizing Western manuals into Chinese, it is crucial to adapt the style to match Chinese preferences. Understand that Chinese readers prefer a more implicit and indirect style of communication. Adjust the tone and style to match the preferences of Chinese readers, making the instructions more implicit and less direct, while maintaining clarity and accuracy.
In Chinese culture, indirect suggestions are often preferred over direct recommendations. Consider using a more suggestive and persuasive language style while conveying instructions. Additionally, adapt the tone to reflect a formal style, using appropriate honorifics and respectful language when necessary. However, strike a balance to ensure that the language remains accessible and user-friendly, avoiding excessive formality that may hinder comprehension.
Last but not least, it’s best to provide localized examples and references that are relevant and relatable to the Chinese audience. Incorporate Chinese cultural references and ensure that measurements, currency, and other specific details align with Chinese conventions.