Technology: Specialist technical translations & interpreting services
- Instruction manuals
- Data sheets
- Assembly instructions
- Product descriptions
- Test reports
- Reference material
- Bills of material
- Technical documentation
- Technical plans and drawings
Technical devices are often launched worldwide and thus exported into many countries. This in turn requires the translation of the enclosed technical documents. Correct and professional translations of specialist texts are vital in our increasingly globalized and connected world to guarantee smooth cooperation between different companies and authorities but also within the scientific sector. However, the translation of specialist technical texts can be very challenging even for technicians and engineers who speak foreign languages.
Where are specialist technical translations needed?
Specialist translation of technical texts is generally understood as the translation of reference books, instruction manuals and user handbooks for various commodities, appliances and systems, as well as instructions for the assembly, installation and operation of plants. It also includes translations of technical specifications, guidelines and norms, technical documentation, technical literature and technical scientific articles, patents etc. The clients for such specialist translations are generally telecommunication companies, product manufacturers or service providers, mechanical engineering companies, energy suppliers and nuclear plants, suppliers of oil and gas, iron and steel works etc.
Particularities of specialist technical texts
We highly recommend commissioning an expert team, e.g. a renowned translation agency, with the translation of specialist texts or interpreting, especially when it comes to the field of technology. This is because technical texts have some peculiarities which often make specialist translations difficult.
Ideally, technical writers already take into account that the documents may have to be translated into other languages when writing such texts. This makes the subsequent technical translation much easier.
Technical and specialist terms
Specialist technical texts often contain specific and specialized vocabulary which is uncommon in everyday language. Every scientific field has its own terminology system. Specialist terms help to present the quintessence of the respective matter as precisely and accurately as possible, ensuring the correct interpretation of the respective issue. However, when writing the text for an instruction manual or technical documentation for a certain plant or appliance, technical specialist will often use a combination of specialist words or terms borrowed from another scientific field in order to describe the function of the equipment in the most detailed way possible. For this reason, it is very difficult and even impossible to find suitable synonyms in a case like this.
Poor linguistic competences
In contrast to literary translations, specialist technical translators often have to deal with texts which were not written by someone with a strong talent for language or by a professional linguist, but rather by an engineer or another technical specialist. This is why technical translators often encounter sentences which are difficult to understand or grammatically incorrect. This can apply to whole sections that are important for the meaning or even complete paragraphs. On the one hand, this is in the nature of the profession, because the excellent knowledge of a specialized technical field does not require linguistic skills. On the other hand, this does not necessarily make the task of a technical translator any easier.
The style of technical texts
For translations from the technical field, a formal and logical style should be used, which is characterized by precise expressions as well as a restrained, rather impersonal linguistic tone. Specialists responsible for preparing technical texts generally avoid rhetorical devices to not interfere with the basic principles of technical terminology. It is therefore important to describe trains of thought and facts in a clear and precise manner. This can result in technical texts sounding somewhat dry and clinical. Despite all the stylistic differences to living, spoken language, a technical text can still contain neutral expressions and idioms, which can also create a certain kind of linguistic versatility without affecting the logic of the text.
In technical texts and documents, only the grammatical norms anchored in written language are used. Passive and impersonal participle constructions are very common here. Such texts consist largely of parataxis and hypotaxis (compound and complex sentences), in which nouns, adjectives and impersonal verb forms dominate.
Another characteristic element of technical documents is the precision of the instructions and specifications. In a specialist translation, words and phrases cannot be left out or translated freely as each of them bears a specific meaning.
Difficulties when translating specialist technical texts and documents
Due to the specific characteristics of technical texts mentioned above, providing technical translations is one of the most demanding translation services. Therefore, technical translators must pay attention to a few fundamental things for a high-quality translation.
No literary devices
The main difficulty in translating a technical text is to accurately reproduce the thoughts conveyed by the author of the text. Qualified technical translators always remember that their foremost stylistic priority, when producing a specialist technical translation, is the logical and unambiguous transfer of the source text into the foreign language, whilst almost completely refraining from using literary devices.
No room for interpretation
The requirement of transferring the statements of the source text into the target language as precisely as possible leaves no room for different interpretation possibilities. A specialist technical translator must always be aware of the fact that not a single nuance of meaning from the source text must be omitted. Otherwise, the meaning of the whole text could change, which is extremely dangerous especially when it comes to industrial machines. After all, the wrong use of industrial machines can lead to malfunctions and, especially in the case of mass production of goods, to considerable financial losses or even work-related accidents.
The necessary expertise
A professional technical translator should not only have perfect command of the respective foreign language but also have expertise in writing scientific texts and a well-developed capacity for logical reasoning. Moreover, in-depth knowledge of the most important technical disciplines and the proper use of common technical terms are vital for a successful specialist translation. Specialist technical translators should therefore be absolutely familiar with the terminology of the area of specialization. They not only have to choose the correct terms which correspond to the original text but also have to assure that the translation is plausible and correct from a technical point of view. On top of that, one single term can have several different meanings which means that even specialist dictionaries and other reference material may often not be very helpful. The challenge is to find the right translation which fits the context within a huge number of possible translations. The translators themselves should not only work with great precision and take all important details into consideration when translating a technical text, but should also constantly acquire additional skills to “grow” as a technical expert.
Commissioning a specialist
Due to the required high level of specialist knowledge on the one hand and linguistic competence on the other, a technical translation should absolutely be carried out by a specialist translation agency that specializes in the field of technology and has many years of experience in the respective specialist field.
Above all, self-employed and small entrepreneurs who do not have the necessary resources to take care of the translation themselves benefit from the services provided by professional translation agencies. Besides saving time, they can ensure that the text is actually translated well and correctly. Even before they are hired, translators working for such agencies have to pass various aptitude tests in which the applicants prove their high professional level and suitability.
AP Fachübersetzungen: your competent partner for translation services of all kinds
In our agency, your text is translated by a philologist and then proofread by an editor specializing in technology. This means that any incorrect interpretations in sentences or specialist terminology can be ruled out.
If you contact the international language service provider AP Fachübersetzungen, you are guaranteed to receive a correct, high-quality technical translation that has been proofread several times and can thus be published without hesitation.
With us, your translations are in the reliable hands of experienced specialists!