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Do you know everything there is to know about the New Low Voltage Directive?

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4 min read

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Argos Multilingual

Published on

28 Mar 2017

As of 20th April 2016, the new Low Voltage Directive, LVD (2014/35/EU) came into effect, replacing the earlier directive (2006/95/EC) as part of the European Union’s efforts to harmonize the New Legislative Framework (NLF). The aim of the NLF is to improve the EU market’s conditions for the trading of industrial products, including establishing a common legal framework for them. For many companies involved in the production of electrical components or trading in the electrical sector in the European market, this new directive will affect your business and your products’ supporting multilingual content.

This directive applies to all electrical equipment running (or generating) a 50-1000V ac/75-1500V dc range and ensures that affected electrical products provide a high level of protection for European citizens. Products affected by the new directive include household appliances, cables, power supply units, laser equipment, fuses and more.

The aim of the directive is to ensure that traceability is upheld throughout the supply chain, from start of production to storefront. Previously, the Low Voltage Directive only required that the brand names or trademarks of the distributor or manufacturer were made visible on the product. With the new directive in place, the brand name or trademark of both manufacturer and distributor, as well as their postal addresses must be visible on the product. However, one of the most important changes is the requirement for manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that every product that is imported and sold in the European market is accompanied with instructions for use and safety information in the language of the targeted market. This means that if you are a Japanese manufacturer looking to import the latest medical device into Germany, you must now include a German version of your instructions for use and safety information.

Whether you are a manufacturer of ophthalmic lasers or plasma televisions and are trading in the European market, now is a good time to speak with your language services provider and work together to develop an effective transition plan. By doing so, it will ensure that you can continue doing business in your selected markets.

It may seem like a headache having to implement the changes enforced by newly adjusted directives or regulations, but there is always a bright side. When changes like this happen, they bring opportunities, too. While the directive may force you to take another look at your current source documentation, you might find that the process is less painful than you thought, given that you need to make changes to your content anyway. Put together a team to go through the source content you currently distribute and identify any parts that need improvement, simplification or even better control of the source language. Right now at Argos Multilingual, we have multiple teams working with clients across different sectors who have been affected by this directive. Our teams are helping our clients through this transition by providing controlled English consultancy, centralizing content, translating their current content into more languages, and creating language assets as well as implementing CMS systems across departments and offices. Although this may seem like a lot of effort, these process changes will help to improve the quality of translated content while at the same time reducing future translation costs.

For more information about the New Low Voltage Directive, please go to the European Commission’s website.

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