Technical translation refers to the translation of specialized documents that are technical in nature. That is, documents related to science, engineering, industry, and technology. One can say that technical translation is part of scientific translation, which covers all sciences and, therefore, also includes technical translation. This is why it is sometimes also known as scientific-technical translation.

What are the technical documents?

As stated earlier, technical documents are those related to science, engineering, industry, and technology. In addition, they are documents with certain special characteristics such as:

  • They are texts aimed at a specialized audience
  • They always refer to a scientific discipline
  • They are formal, concrete, clear and objective
  • They have a specialized terminology, typical of each discipline

Some examples are the translation of patents, technical manuals, user guides, instruction manuals, specialized articles, science books, monographs, technical catalogs, papers, and academic articles, among others.

Why is technical translation important?

At present, technical translation has acquired great relevance since it allows publications and technical documents to reach every corner of the world. That is, technical translation allows us to share scientific findings and progress. In addition, if the technical documents were not translated, they could only be known in countries that understand the language of the original document. In other words, scientific translation allows one to break language barriers and exchange specialized knowledge.

Therefore, technical translation is a way of facilitating communication and globalization. Additionally, technological advances and the constant creation of scientific documents have made scientific-technical translation one of the most demanded translations in the chemical, pharmaceutical, medical, technological, aeronautical, automobile, and petroleum industry.

Another reason for this is the importance of the English language. Well, although the technical translation into Spanish, German, French, or Portuguese is also in high demand, English certainly takes first place. Therefore, thousands of scientific publications originally written in English, as well as thousands of technical documents translated into English, can be found.

What is the process of technical translation?

It is very important to have a certified translation company or a specialized translator who has the necessary experience to perform this type of translation. This is because bad translation could result in terrible disasters.

Without a specialized translator, the translation of a manual could result - in the best case - in a misunderstanding or in the malfunction of a machine. And in the worst case, it could even cause personal injury or the death of an operator.

We should be aware of the importance of guaranteeing the fidelity and quality of each scientific-technical translation. Therefore, we present the following very efficient and specialized technical translation steps:

  1. Choose specialized translators:

First, we need to choose the translator or group of specialized translators who will work on the project. Translators must have the necessary skills to perform technical translation. That is, they must have specialized knowledge and experience translating technical and scientific texts.

  1.  Previous reading:

The translator must read the document before doing the translation. This way, they can understand what the text is about in general and what resources they will need later.

  1.  Documentation:

It is much easier to translate on topics that are already known. Therefore, specialized translators must be thoroughly aware about the subject to be translated. This speeds up the translation process and helps the translator learn all the specialized terms he or she needs to know before starting the translation. This is of vital importance since science and technology are constantly changing. New terms and topics appear every day which the technical translator must be familiar with.

  1.  Identify specialized terminology:

Each technical discipline has a specific terminology, and the technical translator must identify it to avoid terminology errors.

For example, in the automotive field, "dead engine" refers to a "draft engine ". If the translator does not have the necessary specialized knowledge, he could fall into the trap of translating this term as a "dead engine." This shows that it is not enough to have bilingual skills, but it is also necessary to have the experience and specialized knowledge required to provide a correct and reliable translation.

Resources that a technical translation companies must have 

In addition to knowledge of the subject, the technical translation experts must-have reference material of the highest quality, such as manuals, research articles, glossaries, presentations, bibliographic catalogs, and specialized dictionaries. These resources can be of great help when translation difficulties arise. 

Through a technical translation, a message is always transmitted, which becomes the fundamental element of it. Its importance is vital. For example, if it is a user manual, a poorly made translation can seriously compromise user safety. 

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Whistance perspicacious columnist, writer, and blogger, always engrossed to help youth and women to reach their goals. Her focus has been on writing, producing and editing stories on lifestyle, tech, business, interesting personalities, entrepreneurs, culture, the environment, and social issues. You can always find her @IamBrooke94.