Technical documents require a translator who is an expert in the specific subject. Science and technology today are ubiquitous, which means the demand for technical translation continues to increase. Technical translators handle various forms of technical documents, including instructions sheets, reports, patents, product descriptions, operating instructions, user manuals, and more.
The translations are for different audiences, from international markets and industry peers, to end-users. The critical features of technical translations are accuracy, use of correct terminology, and adaption to local culture.
What is the goal of technical translation?
First off, let us define technical translation.
It is a form of a specialized translation of various documents created by technical writers, like user guides and manuals, and texts relating to technological subjects or texts dealing with the practical use of technological information. Usually, specialized terminology is present in technical texts.
Technical translation demands a high level of knowledge about a specific subject. It also requires the translator to be a master of the relevant technology, in combination with excellent skills in the proper technical writing conventions.
Technical translation is akin to technical communication. Its goal is to disseminate, at different levels, the relevant findings because of research, which contribute to the progress of the scientific community. It covers various fields that impact the social, political, industrial, business, and scientific sectors.
For example, the scientific and healthcare communities today need so much data. Each country’s health regulators and international health organizations need to analyze volumes of information from various countries. They need to get their hands on critical information regarding the quality and safety of various medications, vaccines, therapies and biomedical equipment.
In the current setting, the international healthcare and medical communities work together, sharing information, results of clinical trials, use of specific types of medicines, treatment protocols, and results of new drug testing to curb the spread of coronavirus and its variants.
What skills should a technical translator possess?
Technical translation requires more skills from the translator because of the task. The translator must have advanced degrees in engineering, medicine, IT, or science, as well as lengthy professional work experience.
You can expect these qualities from translators working with reputable translation companies. They require precision when doing a technical translation. Therefore, the translator must be someone with enough experience and deep knowledge of the specific sector to create technical translations that are 100% accurate.
It is the responsibility of the translation company to find the right talents to handle technical translations. With the job and the specific skills the translator should possess, technical translations command a higher price. Some providers specialize in technical translations so they can focus on providing the right translation service to the community.
Most clients believe that translation is all about substituting words from the original text in another language. Many of them cannot verify the quality and accuracy of the translation. Therefore, the translation company should be the one responsible for the talent and their work.
The company should follow its principle of ensuring it has qualified translators for technical translation so it can consistently provide high-quality work to meet clients’ expectations.
Aside from the technical background and deep knowledge of languages, technical translators should be excellent writers. This is a rare skill, especially among scientists and doctors. They may know the subject, but it is difficult for them to put their thoughts on paper.
Another important requirement is to translate only into the translator’s native language. They should know specific language variants or regional dialects. For example, Spanish spoken in Spain differs from the Spanish used in Latin America. Iberian Spanish assimilates indigenous words.
The version of Spanish Latin Americans absorbs English terminologies. For example, computadora and ordenador both mean computer. The former is what Argentines and Mexicans use, while the latter is what you will hear when you are in Spain.
The technical translator is an expert in a specific subject. Therefore, the translator should also have extensive knowledge of the particular terminology related to the subject. This is an important skill, as terminologies differ between languages, even between language variants. It is critical for the translator to choose the specific term that will clearly express the meaning from the source language to the target language.
Although this skill applies to many translators, it is essential for a technical translator. We’re talking about using CAT tools, translation memories, and glossaries.
Most technical documents are long and a set may have several pages. The translation needs to use consistent terminology for the entire project. It will help the translator use translation memories and CAT tools to take care of the repeated terms and technical jargon.
What to look for in a technical translation services provider
Complexity is part and parcel of technical translation. It requires accuracy and precision. When looking for a technical translation services provider, your primary focus should be on the competence of the company and its translators.
The nature of technical translations means it will take time to create them. While the price and turnaround time is essential, concentrate on what matters. The lowest quote and the fastest turnaround time will not provide you with the high quality you are expecting.
Here are the qualities you should look for.
- Industry expertise is the first thing you should look for. The provider’s translators should have the right experience and hold a high-level familiarity with the subject, aside from language expertise.
- Experience is another thing to consider. Find out how long they have been doing technical translations, what subjects they prefer to handle, and their list of clients.
- Knowledge of specific terminologies is critical. Check what their translators use when creating technical translations. They should have specific reference materials, style sheets, and glossaries. The translators should be adept at doing research. Find out how the translators update their knowledge and how they adopt new trends and technologies.
- Quality assurance is vital. Find out if the provider has a quality assurance team to ensure the quality and accuracy of the translations. This means having a project manager, editor, proofreader, and desktop publisher.
- Industry reputation. This is vital as well because you want to work with a provider that the industry acknowledges and respects. This means that the provider is in good standing in the industry and upholds its reputation in providing the best service it can offer to its clients.
Are you looking for a technical translation partner? Contact eTS now.
You need experienced professionals with the right credentials to handle technical translations. eTranslation Services has a team of experts who can capably take on your technical translation projects. Aside from their technical expertise, they are native speakers. For high-quality, precise, and accurate technical translations, email us at [email protected]etranslationservices.com or call us at (800) 882-6058. We’re waiting to hear from you!