LTV MTV Technical Manuals
The US Army, as part of its drawdown efforts in Afghanistan, needs to train Afghan vehicle operators and service technicians on how to maintain and repair the allied tactical vehicle fleet.
Today’s military vehicles are complex technical machines, and the skills and the knowledge needed to maintain and repair them require on-going training and support. In Afghanistan, the US Army needs to train Afghan nationals, who primarily speak Dari or Pashto, and sometimes read at only a 3rd grade level, how to perform these maintenance and repair tasks. Additionally, military specifications for training manuals are very structured and are designed without these types of end-users in mind, which can make their learning inefficient. Finally, English speakers will need to use these manuals as well, so a a bilingual solution is needed.
“They have produced a quality product and have been well received from the requirements owner in theater. The contractor hired a Dari/Pashtu linguist instead of using a computer based program which as resulted in having correctly translated manuals that the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) can read and use.”
Army Contracting Command
GOALSProject goals focus on the Afghan end-user by:
- Delivering a training product to Afghan nationals to allow them to successfully do routine operator and maintenance procedures
- Designing a series of efficient non-military specification manuals that takes into consideration the end-users specific needs
- Delivering a quality product on time and within budget
MCM starts with a detailed analysis of the Afghan end-user for the training manuals, and specifically identifies cultural, language, and writing differences. A highly visual approach is taken, thereby minimizing potential confusion from long verbal instruction. Cultural aspects are incorporated into the materials, such as not using ineffective references like "counterclockwise" but using "left" instead. Using an expert internal translator of Dari/Pashto, MCM reverse engineers the English language manuals from the Dari/Pashto translations to focus on the primary learners — Afghans. Similarly, the manuals are designed to read right to left because it is easier for an English end-user to read in the opposite direction using numbers as guides rather than the Afghan audience to read in their own language backwards. A sample is sent to theater in Afghanistan as a pilot and to incorporate formative feedback.
MCM receives positive end-user feedback in theater as to the effectiveness of the products, including a formal letter from the Office of the President of Afghanistan. The non-military specification design that is performance focused demonstrates that alternative approaches can be very effective, especially in environments with significant cultural and language differences between audiences. Official assessments (CPARS) are positive to the product, schedule, and staff.