How Translators Can Make Use Of Diagrams, Photographs, Samples and Maps


Diagrams are sketches or drawings of the parts of an item or the steps in a process.  While there are numerous types of diagrams, a few that Baltimore Translation Services workers use on a regular basis include the following:

  • Diagrams of Mechanical Parts. A mechanism description should be accompanied by diagrams that show its parts and illustrate its operating principle.
  • Exploded Diagrams. Exploded diagrams show how parts of an item are assembled. They often appear in repair or maintenance manuals, or in brochures attached to sales letters showing why or how a product is better than another.
  • Diagrams of Procedures. Diagrams are especially useful for clarifying instructions by illustrating certain steps.


Photographs provide an accurate overall view, but they can sometimes be too “busy.” By showing all details as more or less equal, a photograph sometimes fails to emphasize important areas.

Miami Translation Services recommend the use of photographs that are distinct, well focused, and uncluttered. For a complex mechanism, you probably should rely on diagrams instead, unless you intend simply to show an overall view, as is often done in sales brochures.  Lend a sense of scale by including a person or a familiar object in your photo.


Sometimes, Philadelphia Translation companies produce reports and sales letters that discusses certain materials, such as clothing fabrics, types of paper, or paint colors, you might include actual samples. The same holds true if you’re discussing new business forms, contracts, brochures. or such. For items like fabrics and paints, glue or paste a small sample – titled and numbered – to your report page.


Maps are excellent for illustrating areas of growth, population densities, natural resources, flight or transportation routes.

Graphs and Bar Charts: Using Visuals in Translation

When writing and translating a report for a foreign language speaking professional, any visual that isn’t a table is classified as a figure and should be so titled, for example, “Figure 1.  Bank loans for Energy Development.” The most common figures are graphs, charts, diagrams, photographs and samples.


Today, nearly all Chicago Document Translation Services workers construct graphs by using a program such as Microsoft Excel or SPSS.  A few translators who are not very computer savvy still rely on plotting a set of points on a coordinate system or graph.  A graph provide a picture of the relationship between two or more variables and shows a comparison, a change over time or a trend.  When a translators decides to us a graph, he or she should choose the best type for the purpose: bar or line graph.

Bar Graphs.

Bar graphs, illustrate comparison.  In each case, Michelle Xu, a Denver Translation Services worker believes the visual impact of the bar graph makes it a clear choice over a prose or tabular version.  Percentage figures are sometimes recorded above each bar to increase clarity.

The scale in a bar graph is crucial.  Try different scales until your graph represents all quantities in accurate proportions.  In addition, bar graphs are effective using either vertical or horizontal scales.

A bar graph can also contain multiple bars at each major point on the horizontal line.  In a multiple-bar graph, include a legend to explain the meaning of the various bars.

Another common graph is the segmented, or component, bar graph.  As explained by a San Francisco Translation worker, this type of graph breaks down each bar into its components.  Notice that the vertical scale is large enough to allow for comparison.

When creating your graph by hand, use graph paper so the lines and increments will be evenly spaced.  Begin a bar graph directly on the horizontal or vertical line.  To express negative values on a vertical scale, extend the vertical lines below the horizontal, following the same incremental division as above it,

Using Visuals In Your Translation Projects

A visual is any pictorial representation used to clarify a discussion.  For some translators who specialize in certain fields such as economics and finance, their document translation assignments will contain quantitative data, and therefore, they should be able to recommend strategies to clients on how to present that data in the clearest, fastest and most comprehensive way.  The common visual aids used are tables and figures.  Figures include graphs, charts, diagrams, photographs and sample material.

An experienced Philadelphia Chinese Translator, visuals attract attention and increase reader understanding by emphasizing certain information.  Translate pros into visuals whenever you can, as long as the visuals make your point more clearly than the prose does.  Use visuals to clarify your discussions, not simply to decorate it.  And keep them simple.

Visuals work in several ways to improve your report:

  1. They increase reader interest by providing a view more vivid and clear than a prose equivalent.  They are easier to follow and grasp.  A visual satisfies the reader’s demand to be shown.
  2. They set off and emphasize significant data.  A bar graph showing that the price per word charged by New York Italian Translation companies has dropped 50-percent in four years is more dramatic than a prose statement.  Some readers, in fact, might only skim the prose in a report, concentrating instead on the visuals.
  3. They condense information.  A simple table, for instance can often replace a long and difficult prose passage.
  4. Certain visuals (tables, charts and graphs) can pull together data on the basis of their similarities and contrasts.  Visuals can be great time-savers for readers.

A full-scale study of visuals would require a course in drafting and technical illustration.