The Knowledge of the Translator

Tips for Technical Translation

Definition of Technical Translation

The translation of the texts that are under the concept of technology and science, undertake the function of carrying out technical activities and that are related to the works or the products which are produced in technical sectors, is called technical translation. The term ‘technical translation’ covers the quality/permit documents, user manuals or documents with other purposes in fields such as medicine, engineering, informatics, energy, electric-electronics, construction, telecommunication, astronautics, automotive, biology and textile.

Examples of the technical translations include new product promotions, product specifications and user manuals. As with all translations, technical translation also has points to consider and criteria to be followed. These criteria, which will take technical translations to a professional level, are explained in detail in the following sections of this article. Technical translations should be done by technical translators who are experts in their fields, by complying with these criteria. This is the only way to ensure satisfaction between the translation company/translator and the customer.

General Criteria of Technical Translation

Besides specific points, there are certain rules to be considered in all translations, regardless of the sector. The steps to be taken before translation, during and after translation prevail for translations in all sectors. In a translation company, first the instruction files are prepared and are combined with all the reference files received from the customer and sent to the most suitable translator in the team.

Repetitions in Technical Translations

If the translation to be sent is the continuation of a previous translation, translation memory of the previous CAT tool will be included in the project. This way, terms in similar documents can always be translated consistently. The translator assigned for the technical translation reviews the instruction and reference files first in order o get information about the subject matter of the translation.

During the translation step, the translation is carried out in accordance with provided instructions, by paying attention to consistency, accuracy and use of technical language within the text. After the translation is completed, the document is proofread by a second translator, who is also an expert in the technical field. During the quality assurance step, the translated document is reviewed using quality assurance tools and edited as necessary. At the same time, it is ensured that all of the instructions given are followed and the terms requested are used in the translation. As the final step, DTP edits are made in order to make the translated text look exactly like the source document. In this step, the determining factors are the place and purpose of the translation. These criteria are the standard for all translation works and implementing these in technical translations ensures that the desired quality in these texts is achieved.

Points to Consider in Technical Translation

In general, points to consider in all types of translation, apply to technical translation as well. However, technical translations require extra care in some aspects. In order to produce a professional translation, it is important to translate paying attention to many points such as complying with technical jargon, being understandable for the target audience and not using ambiguous expressions.

Doing professional technical translations requires knowledge on the technical subject to be translated first. It is extremely important that the technical translator, who will do the translation, gathers information on the subject and adopts the terms in the technical language. For example, it is essential for the translator assigned for a technical translation of a tractor user manual from German to Turkish to refer to both German and Turkish sources about tractors.

The technical translator should use the technical terminology that he/she obtains from his/her researches effectively, be careful not to cause any inconsistency in the translation while doing this. For instance, translating the word “button” as “düğme” in the first few pages of a 50-page technical document and using the word “buton” for the same term in the following pages is unacceptable in terms of professional translation criteria.

While carrying out technical translation, it is necessary to continuously conduct research on the topic and to refer to technical resources. It is necessary to find and use the correct corresponding words and technical terms by doing accurate research. Incorrect and inconsistent expressions can pose a threat for both the client and translation company, as well as the people who will read the translated text.

The technical translator who conducted extensive research on the subject before starting to translate, may find out that a specific part of the source text is hard to comprehend. In such discrepancies that may arise from the grammar or word selection in the source, what needs to be done is to consult the client or project coordinator and indicate the incomprehensibility in the source text.

One of the most important points to consider in a professional technical translation is to use clear expressions in the translation without compromising its technical nature. Expressions in the source text should be easily conveyed in the technical translation with the same clarity, a short and concise expression should be adopted, without causing uncertainties in the target text.

One of the most critical points to be considered by an expert translator during technical translation is to convey a target text that is suitable for the target audience. In the technical translation done by following all the translation criteria, the target audience should be known and factors such as word selection, language use, sentence length, technical terms should be adjusted according to the characteristics of the audience.

Which Criteria Are Used When Determining Technical Translation Prices? How Do the Technical Translation Prices Differ?

Many different factors are taken into account when determining the technical translation prices. For this reason, factors may differ according to each translation company. Prices are calculated according to criteria such as the language of the text to be translated, the target language, the number of words, how much time the translation will take, and the level of urgency. That is why it is important to determine your needs correctly with your service provider.

Written by: M. Furkan Şahin

Date of Publication: 02/11/2020

Target Audience: All Translators, Translation Department Students, Beginner Translators, Translators who Wish to Improve Themselves, Interesting Content Readers, Those who Need Translation Services

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