What Is Technical Translation – A Quick Translation Guide

Translation on your terms

No matter in which sector your business operates, if you trade internationally or are planning on expanding overseas, you will need to consider translation of your technical content. If you are to build your business effectively in a new market, almost every kind of communication you have, be it with your customers or your staff, will need to be adapted into new languages.

In establishing a presence in overseas markets, you may need to consider the translation of a large variety of different communications. Whilst some are necessarily short and simple – marketing slogans for instance – others are more complicated pieces, with terminology specific to both you and your organisation. Over time, a business will develop their own particular words and phrases which they prefer to use. Making sure that these exact phrases and their meanings are correctly translated is hugely important. This is where the process of technical translation comes in.

Getting technical

Technical translation is a specialised branch of translation, dealing with the adaptation of content that contains specialist terminology, which can only be correctly translated with the help of a language expert with experience in the industry.

Due to the specific nature of the terminology used, working with a translator with experience of the relevant sector is paramount. The translator will not only have the relevant linguistic skills but also a clear understanding of industry specific terminology. Technical translation may be required for a wide range of projects, from print material such as catalogues, manuals and staff handbooks, to website content and audio-visual material such as product demonstrations or podcasts, all of which help to communicate effectively with your overseas customers.

How it should be done

As noted above, working with a language expert who understands your industry and organisation is highly important. However, even with one in place, the process of undertaking technical translation can be complex. It is important that a translator (or their translation agency) builds a clear understanding of the customer’s requirements, collating all necessary reference material, including product information and any existing translations. To give you more of an idea about the how this process works, here are some of the steps Comtec employ to ensure they deliver 100% accurate translations every time.

One of the first stages in the translation process is to agree a glossary of translated terms with the client and to deliver a sample for review. Creating a glossary of terms and phrases, along with their definitions, early on in the process ensures that preferred terminology is used consistently across all projects. A further crucial step, which helps to ensure that technical translation projects run smoothly, is the use of translation memory tools. This software stores a translated copy of any content and allows for easy retrieval, which will assist with subsequent work. The translation memory is continually updated as each additional translation project is completed. Use of the translation memory facility not only ensures consistency in style and terminology across all materials, but also, because of avoiding unnecessary re-translation, the client is provided with a longer-term cost-effective solution.

There are many more subtleties and techniques involved with technical translation, but hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of the process. If you have any further questions regarding technical translation, please contact a member of our customer services team on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email info@comtectranslations.com. Or, if you would like a free translation quote please click the ‘Get a Quote’ button at the top of this page.

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