The Difference Between Scientific and Technological Translations

The Difference Between Scientific and Technological Translations
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Scientific and technological translations are far more complicated than merely translating a language.

Technical translators need several years of training to fully understand the nuances, technical terms, and expressions related to scientific and technological translations.

It is a critical error to consider technical translation the same as scientific translation.

Often, the expressions for scientific and technical translations are used interchangeably or considered almost the same by authors.

This common error creates more confusion because these fields are very much different.

In fact, they cannot be compared in the same manner. In varying degrees, both deal with information based on the job done by scientists and researchers.

However, scientific translation is quite distinct from technical translation.

What is Technical Translation?

Technical translation is an expert translation domain that involves translating documents related to technological subjects or handles the practical function of technological and scientific information.

What is Scientific Translation?

Scientific translation involves deciphering any type of writing about science. It requires expert knowledge of the subject being dealt with.

Creating these documents also requires an in-depth understanding of the source and target languages.

However, the spirit of both technical translations requires accuracy and meticulousness.

For example, scientific translations commonly utilize technical terms. Technological translations are more concerned with subject domains.

Technological and Scientific Translation Example

From a practical perspective, medical, legal, and literary translations require an expert translator.

This level of knowledge and precision cannot be expected from an inexperienced or amateur translator.

They may be unable to understand complex technical aspects of scientific and technological translations.

Typically, both scientific and technological translations need to balance maintaining the context, readability, and accuracy of the document being translated. 

The information interpreted from the original documents needs to be precise and maintain the context of the original text.

Nevertheless, it must also methodologically cover all the intricate technical essentials of the original text.

However, several key aspects of the translation process and the final document depend on the scientific and technological theme that might need clear and precise language.

Remember that scientific translation techniques are a component of the technical translation process. It is often required for certain scientific documents, including scientific journals, research papers, clinical trials, etc.

Also, the need for scientific translation is pretty common among several branches of science.

Generally, examples of domains requiring scientific translation include physics, astronomy, biology, medicine, pharmacology, neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, geology, etc.

However, irrespective of whether it is a scientific or technological translation, it needs a high level of precision and expertise to comprehend the source language and translate it into the target one.

The Complexity and Precision of Scientific and Technological Translations

Compared to literary translations and text, scientific and technological translations are different and far more intricate.

Both scientific and technological translations are concerned with analysis, investigation, and research findings.

Regarding accuracy, as compared to technical translators, scientific translators develop more consistent and precise paraphrasing.

This is because a published scientific study or research paper needs to be relevant for a long duration. It has to stand the test of time several years after it has been published.

Why are Scientific and Technological Translations Difficult to Do?

The reasons why scientific and technological translations are difficult to undertake to include the following:


Primarily, one of the biggest hurdles that translators tackle during the translation process is its precision.

For all practical purposes, presenting detailed facts, figures, and findings involves careful consideration of all the technical terms.

Reframing and Recasting

Eventually, the interpreted edition of the original document needs to be thought-provoking and insightful for the readers to browse through the translated content.

An extremely essential characteristic of technical translation is that a big chunk of the process requires reframing and recasting statements and facts.

Numbers and Statistics

Scientific and technological translations need to be handled professionally. The context of the translated text should be maintained despite the restructured sentences.

Additionally, similar to rephrasing statements, using numbers and statistics is also an intrinsic characteristic of scientific and technological translations.

In a scientific study, the numbers could connect to the research or experiment results.

However, in a technological translation, the numbers may indicate explicit references and codes.

Likewise, the numeric orders of both scientific and technological translations need accurate statistics.

The Need for Creating New Terms

The necessity to create new terms is another complexity that sets apart scientific and technological translations.

Frequently, these translators develop unique and distinct terminology to enhance the clarity and transparency of the content and context in question.

However, this frequent introduction and usage of new terminology can make the translation trickier for those who lack background knowledge.

Cultural Significance

Even when complicated technical translations like scientific and technological translations are concerned, cultural nuances cannot be neglected.

Completely avoiding cultural details can be detrimental to the quality of the finished task. It can cause additional errors in the final translation.

To conclude, it can be said that whenever scientific and technological translation processes are required, the best option would be to collaborate with professional translation services.

They have the necessary technical knowledge and can function in different domains.

GMR Transcription Services, Inc. comprises a team of dedicated translators proficient in various subjects and industrial disciplines.

They have the capacity to tackle a wide range of complicated technical translations.

Our team understands the importance of scientific translations and provides accurate and affordable technical translations in a quick turnaround time. Contact GMR Transcription Services, Inc. for further details.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.