Technical translations are extremely helpful to millions of consumers and users worldwide. Technical documents include instruction manuals, product descriptions, and specialised texts for industry experts. Translating these texts requires extreme accuracy, and there are obviously a few critical issues to avoid.
When is it useful to translate technical documents?
Translating technical documents is necessary when businesses need to provide essential information on products sold to international markets.
Meanwhile, in academia, technical translation plays a key role in the publication of data, information, and research in the international scientific community.
Knowing how to translate technical documents is essential as these types of texts are widely used. Here are a few tips and tricks.
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1 – Use a customer-approved glossary
Technical translation involves ensuring technical terms perfectly correspond in the source and target languages.
To achieve linguistic uniformity, translators need to obtain, create, or request technical glossaries from customers, i.e., a list of sector-specific terms and their translations.
2 – Use translation memories where possible
Translation memories are invaluable when translating technical documents for existing customers. If the texts cover the same topics, basing the new translation on a previously approved text is a great way to get accurate translation results in less time.
3 – Write simple, linear sentences
In most cases, manuals and technical texts solve concrete problems and give precise instructions. As such, translated texts should be as clear and straightforward as possible. If a literal translation is not appropriate, a professional translator might take the liberty of rearranging sentences or punctuation so that the text works better in the target language.
4 – Avoid idiomatic expressions where possible
Idiomatic expressions and metaphors are a big headache for translators as they refer to language-specific cultural phenomena.
For this reason, we do not recommend using idiomatic, symbolic, or metaphorical expressions in technical translations.
5 – Do not underestimate the importance of a specialised translator
Technical texts and documents deal with very specific topics that could be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with the subject area.
To ensure you receive a flawless translation, we recommend using a translator who specialises in technical translations and has a good handle on the subject area of the original text.
6 – Rely on a professional translation service
Companies often need to have technical documents translated into English and other less common languages.
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