4 Things to Know About Technical Translation

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2017)

You might get curious about what technical translation actually is. While looking up this term in a dictionary, you might find a definition stating that it is a specialized kind of translation on a certain subject matter. This definition doesn’t seem to be very helpful as there is a lot more to the term of technical translation than just translation. Go through the paragraphs below to learn the basic concept in detail.

Technical translation in a nutshell

Technical translations are often carried out on a source text that is usually understandable by a limited number of language speakers. The main aim behind this kind of translation is to ensure that the output is perfectly clear and easily understandable by the target audience.

Technical translation may be carried out on different source texts like technical websites, operational instructions, user manuals, technical manuals, etc. In order to get the most out of a translation project, the translator needs to have the right linguistic skills and genuine knowledge on the subject. Industry knowledge and context understanding is also essential in this regard. Moreover, using different terminology databases, glossaries and translation memories might also help in yielding more accurate results. All of this may be achieved by making use of Computer Aided Translation Tools (CAT tools).

CAT tools are good

Computer Aided Translation might be referred to as a desktop, hybrid or cloud based application that facilitates translators in different translation projects. What’s more intriguing about these tools isn’t actually what they do but it is how they do it.

Upon detecting any repetition in a project, CATs automatically reuse the phrase or keyword pulling data from the terminology database or translation memory.

Importance of translation memory

CATs and translation memory are generally perfect for certain documents that might have repetitions, for instance, technical manuals. Accessing any previously translated content may turn out to be a significant gain: it allows the translation company to complete the project with higher level of accuracy and at a faster pace as well.

Use of glossaries by companies

Dictionaries are often used by even the most experienced and skilled linguistics sometimes. The main role of a translator is to make use of certain words in the right context and in the natural way in exact accordance with the industry and the subject matter. Companies that need translation work on a regular basis normally create a glossary of terminologies of their own. For instance, a certain company might prefer using the word ‘wire’ in comparison to ‘cable’ as it may create some difference from the view point of a potential client.

Companies hiring LSPs for their first time don’t normally have glossaries. So this normally means that the clients require an LSP in order to identify certain technical phrases and words for future use. It is important for the LSPs to properly understand the requirements of a client properly. Therefore, they might require some additional content like definitions or comments for these phrases and keywords.