What are technical translations?
With industry making up such a major part of the United States’ corporate landscape, it’s no wonder that companies of all sizes are now having to invest in technical translation services. Rather than being a one-size-fits-all kind of approach, technical translations take various shapes and forms, which is what we’re going to take a look at so you have all the knowledge you need to set your company up for success.
There are so many different areas that all fall under the technical translation services umbrella – from highly specific texts for engineering, aerospace, and oil, for example, to technical documentation for consumer electronics. The list could go on forever, but pretty much anything that needs a bit of technical knowledge to be understood will normally be done by a technical translation expert.
Types of technical translations
If you’re curious about what different types of technical translations we’re able to handle, we’ve put together this list. It no-where near covers absolutely everything, but it should be able to serve as an inspiration to the types of technical translations we offer!
- Operation manuals
- User guides
- Online help
- White papers
- Technical drawings
- Machine documentation
How to choose technical translators
Due to the nature of technical translation services, it’s very important that technical translations are done by experts. Think of it a bit like medical documentation. If you get a leaflet from your doctor that anyone without any medical knowledge can understand, a professional translator will be perfectly fine to translate something like that. However, think of a complex medical journal with terminology only a qualified medical professional can understand. If you’re unable to understand what’s written there, chances are a translator without any medical training will also have issues dealing with the text.
It’s exactly the same with technical translation services – and even more so. Engineering translators are amazing at what they do, but give them something on nuclear physics and it might not be something they can handle. That’s why it’s so vital that when you send over technical documentation for translation, that you send over reference materials so that your translation agency can pick not only a professional translator, but someone who’s used to working in your field so they know how to deal with your complex terminology.
Those of you who are familiar with technical translation services will know just how repetitive these kinds of texts are. And that’s where translation technology can prove really useful. By using a CAT tool, you can leverage translations that you’ve already done so that you can benefit from both time and money savings.
The way a CAT tool works is that it stores everything that a translator has translated into a special translation memory. Each company has their own translation memory, and whenever new translations are done, it adds to the memory. So, when the translator comes across phrases that have been translated before, they don’t have to translate them from scratch as they are pulled from the translation memory and simply approved by the translator. And this is how money is saved, as you don’t have to pay twice for these matches!
Another very important thing to remember about technical translations is that they need to be consistent. One slip up in terminology, and there could be very dire consequences. This is why we thoroughly recommend coming up with a glossary to ensure that the right word is used whenever you use technical translation services.
When creating multilingual glossaries, you’ll need someone from your company who’s able to come up with terminology suggestions in English. This sounds like a lot of work, but there’s software that can do all of this for you by going through your company documentation and coming up with suggestions.
Next, what you’ll need to do is go through these suggestions and see which ones need to stay in the glossary. You’ll also have to include banned terms so that if there’s a synonym you don’t want used in your documentation, it won’t be used. Once you’re happy with your choices, your translation agency can then get them translated, so that whenever you’re getting a document translated, the translator will have a list of correct terminology to go by.
So, if you’d like to learn more about technical translation workflows, or make use of our team of technical translators who cover the world’s major languages, get in touch. We’re here to help with technical translation services!