What Qualifies as Technical Translation?
You may have heard this term at some time when you have contacted translation agencies. Translation agencies use this term to justify long deadlines and high translation fees. When they say ‘this is technical translation,’ they mean this difficult to translate. Since it is difficult, it will more time and money to complete.
So what is technical translation?
Technical translation can encompass the translation of texts written with the use of vocabularies of certain types. It includes not only those text types of engineering or medical type, but also such text types related to information technology, psychology, law and economics.
As they are special in nature that they require from the translator some sort of knowledge of the subject field, although it is not a difficult task to promptly gain this knowledge these days. But in essence, a translator should be able to write comfortably in the concerned field of text type, as well as to develop research skills.
That doesn’t mean that any engineering text should be translated by an engineer, or any medical text should be translated by a doctor. What matters most in translation is the translator’s linguistic competency.
Important Features of Good Technical Translation
It is true that technical documents and texts are expected to have some jargon. But in general, technical texts should be clear, concise and correct. The translation of any technical text should reflect these features.
Even they are technical, technical translations must be understandable. Otherwise, what is the purpose of translating?
If your translated text is hard to understand, you may question the reasons. Not always do difficulty comes from the nature of ‘technicality’. It may come from poor writing skills of the translators. As no translation is perfect, you may ask for re-translation or even rewriting. No text is engraved in stone nor any writing is sacrosanct.
A qualified translator can always find away to satisfy your needs in terms of the clarity, conciseness and correctness of the translated text. Don’t hesitate to ask for more of these three textual qualities as any communication event, translation included, should have certain degrees of the three features.
What can be viewed as technical translation?
Samples of documents and texts that can be dealt as technical translation include the following:
- Technical and scientific publications translation
- Machine and device brochures translation
- Data sheets translation
- Catalogs translation
- User manuals translation
- Learning courses translation
- Auto manuals translation
- Engineering specifications translation
- Maintenance guides translation
- Safety manuals translation
- Software illustrations translation
- Technical manuals translation
- Staff training documentation translation
- White papers translation
- Websites Localization
What is unique in technical translation?
As you may know, context and culture plays a role in any translation, but a greater one in technical translation. This is in particular true in our age with the prevalence of high technology and the need for faster communication. Despite all the hype and uncurbed enthusiasm about the small village, that is the earth, different cultures use technology in different ways.
One researcher found some aspects other than linguistic ones that require special attention in communication across cultures. Take for example the differences in measurement systems. You may include in this category length, weight, currency, time, energy, area. The systems used in the source text may be inappropriate or useless if translated as is to the target readers.
Technical translators must be aware of these differences, in case he/she needs to replace cultural technical aspects of the source text with those of the target audience. In short, yes, technical translation needs more care and attention. But in Elaph Translation, we’ve already developed the skills needed to deal effectively with the most complex technicalities.
And for sure, we wouldn’t use the phrase ‘technical translation’ as an excuse for long deadlines and higher translation fees.
No matter how much technical your text is, you would find among us a translator who can render it accurately, concisely, and clearly.