“Sequentially ordered steps are the centerpiece of a set of instructions, and they typically take up much of the space in the document.” (Johnson-Sheehan, 2007)

Instructions are used to assist people perform a certain task. Manufacturers tend to make these multilingual to ensure a wider audience understands the task. This is important not only for European manufacturers, who are required to produce manuals in all the languages of the European Union, but also for multi- national companies, whose international sales are reported to constitute over half of their total sales. (Paris & Scott, 1994)

Some companies take the approach to create a booklet with numerous sections for each language. Whereas other companies use illustrated instructions with no use of words. A famous example for this is IKEA (see figure 1). The reason for this may be due to the cost of translating the copy and the cost of the production of various versions or a large booklet.


Figure 1: Example of IKEA instructions. Source:


Johnson-Sheehan, R. (2007). Technical communication today. Pearson Longman.

Paris, C., & Scott, D. (1994, June). Stylistic variation in multilingual instructions. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Natural Language Generation (pp. 45-52). Association for Computational Linguistics.

Available at: [Accessed on: 10th March 2013]

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