In today’s fast-paced world of technology, technical translation has become increasingly important. This is because technical translation is needed in various documents such as user manuals, technical information, software applications, and more, as they are translated into different languages. Translation services must accurately convey specialized terms and complex concepts to the target languages. When it comes to global businesses, accurate and efficient industry-specific translation becomes even more crucial. Ensuring that customers around the world fully understand the products or services they are using is a primary function of translation.
As a result, technical translation is a key component of a successful global business strategy, and it must be done with a high degree of accuracy and precision. Naturally, these translations come with its own set of challenges. In this article, we will explore what it is, why it is necessary, what its challenges are, and its importance in more detail.
What is Technical Translation?
Technical translation is the process of translating a technical text from the source language to the target language, and it requires a strong understanding of scientific or technical knowledge and proficiency in using technical terminology and jargon in both languages. Therefore, the individual performing translation must be an expert in the subject matter.
Technical terminology is often specific to certain industries such as IT, engineering, or medicine and may include usages not commonly found in everyday language. Consequently, any error in industry-specific translation can alter the entire meaning of the text.
Businesses aiming to enter the global market or expand internationally inevitably require translation. Technical translations not only facilitate the easy use of technology but also enhance employee safety and increase company productivity by ensuring smooth communication.
Industry-specific translation encompasses various disciplines such as engineering, healthcare, IT, software, and more. Among the most common types of technical translation that businesses require are:
- Patents and patent applications
- Health and safety documents
- User and operating manuals
- Software strings
- Product descriptions
- Technical reports and warranty information
- Technical e-learning manuals
- Product installation manuals
- Safety manuals
- Maintenance guides and technical drawings.
Features of Technical Translation
Industry-specific translation is a specialized form of translation that involves a lot of technical detail. The type of translation required depends on the functionality of the content, and technical translators shape the translation process accordingly.
Industry-specific translation requires significant skill, knowledge, and attention to detail, and the choice of source and target languages also plays a crucial role in the process. Working with a professional translation service or competent translators is essential to achieve accurate results.
Technical texts, characterized by their objective and clear language, typically follow similar writing formats in various languages to meet communication requirements. Given the abundance of scientific and technical terminology in technical texts, translators must accurately and clearly convey these expressions, ensuring they are not prone to misunderstanding.
Requirements of Technical Translations
Technical translations deal with the translation of technical terminology and do not tolerate errors; therefore, ensuring accuracy is of utmost importance. To achieve this, one must have a strong command of both languages, be well-versed in terminology, and pay attention to details.
These translations are industry-specific, such as engineering, medicine, electronics, and more. Therefore, translators should have experience and expertise in the respective industry. They need to be familiar with industry-specific jargon, terminology, and abbreviations, and ensure error-free translations.
User manuals, a type of technical content, are typically authored by technical writers. Additionally, technical texts can encompass scientific and technological subjects. Consequently, flawless, and accurate translations can only be provided by translators who are subject matter experts.
In addition to these technical details, translators must also have a good understanding of the culture associated with the target language. Translations that are disconnected from the culture, even if they are technically accurate, can pose challenges in terms of comprehension.
Challenges of Technical Translation
It is evident that each type of translation comes with its own unique challenges. When it comes to this translation, you are bound to encounter certain difficulties. Here are the 6 fundamental challenges you may face in:
1. Understanding the Terminology
Each industry has its own technical terms. For this reason, it is important to work with translators who are familiar and knowledgeable with this terminology. Moreover, it is not enough just to know the terminology; it is also essential for the translator to have knowledge about the industry to understand the context in which the terms are used.
2. Localizing the Technical Content
Localization must also be considered when doing this translation. This is crucial for accurately conveying regional and cultural differences. To reach your target audience in the global market, localization is just as important as accurate translation.
3. Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Technical documents are generally legally and regulatory binding texts. This should be taken into consideration when translating technical documents and the translation should be done accordingly. Otherwise, serious consequences may arise for both the client and the translator.
4. Accurate Translation
Industry-Specific translations are related to areas such as medical documents and legal processes that are a part of our daily lives. Therefore, the accuracy of translations is of paramount importance. Incorrectly translated user manuals or health-related text can have very serious consequences. It should not be forgotten that this can negatively impact the company’s image and sales.
5. Complex Sentence Structures
Complex sentence structures and technical details are common in technical documents. Therefore, complex sentence structures should be broken down and reassembled in the target language while preserving the meaning and accuracy of the original text.
6. Theoretical Understanding
To translate technical documents clearly and precisely, technical translators must have a theoretical understanding of technical structures and practices. The translation should provide accurate and complete information about the relevant field of application. For this, the translator should be knowledgeable about industry-specific usages and theoretical knowledge. Localization services can assist you not only in this regard but also culturally, ensuring that your content is well-understood in different cultural contexts.