Technical Translation Services: A Great Option for Companies

Technical Translation Services: A Great Option for Companies
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


As businesses become more global, technical translation services are needed to communicate effectively and as accurately as possible. A business can thrive when communication is clear but can experience problems when language barriers get in the way.

The best technical translation services use skilled and experienced translators who have a deep understanding of technical issues and both the source and target languages. The translator must work with a variety of technical documents including maintenance schedules, training manuals, and procedure guides. Understanding how to communicate fluently with clients is essential. Here are reasons why it's important to hire an expert translator for a global business.

Text Translation

Source language text must be studied thoroughly by an expert before attempting to translate it. Once the text is translated, it must be analyzed for effectiveness and accuracy in terms of context, grammar, and spelling. The error-free document is then presented to the client as the source and target texts are kept on file in case further changes are needed. A list of technical terms is also archived for future reference. The translated files are stored in various file formats including MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, WordPerfect, PDF, and RTF. More advanced formats include Adobe PageMaker, FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, and Interleaf. Web-based formats include HTML, XML, and SGML.

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Educational Background

An advanced translator needs to have an education in various languages and science. Usually, knowledge of engineering and computer technology is essential to attract high-end work as a technical translator. The most popular languages in the industry include English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Canadian French, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Italian. Other useful 8 languages to know to include Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, Swedish, Czech, Indian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Polish, and Finnish. Translators work with CAT tools to help with translation along with Wordfast and SDLX and other tools.

Cultural Understanding

In addition to being able to read, write, and speak a language, a translator must understand the culture where the language is used. In many ways, language and culture are intertwined, as it is difficult to know one without the other. If you do not understand the customs, traditions, and regional nuances of a culture, you may misinterpret certain things that someone from another culture takes for granted. In other words, simply knowing definitions of words from a glossary isn't good enough to conduct effective and accurate translations. Since not all cultures practice the same protocols, not all languages can be converted into word to word translations of other languages. In some cases, one word in one language might be the equivalent to a phrase in another language.

One thing that a human translator can do better than a machine translator is to understand context, especially when it comes to slang or colloquialism. Since languages are constantly evolving, it can be embarrassing to misinterpret something that was meant to be light-hearted but was taken too seriously. Not all sayings or cliches can be instantly understood in a translation if the translator does not understand the culture.

Various Translation Types

Certain translations require more accuracy than others. For example, legal and scientific texts must be very precise. Whereas, texts used for the arts or for general translations do not require as much precision. It's essential to know a wide variety of translation types such as the following:

  • Word For Word translation:
    This translation is based on the most common meaning of words; it's useful for pre-translation.
  • Literal translation:
    A direct translation of one word at a time, which is considered a bad practice because it can produce errors.
  • Faithful translation:
    An accurate translation from a source language to a target language without any type of distortion.
  • Semantic translation:
    A flexible translation that takes into account equivalence in meaning with slight compromises.
  • Adaptive translation:
    This type of translation takes liberties and is used for plays and poetry for artistic effect.
  • Free translation:
    Used mainly for paraphrasing, this type of translation does not rely on the form of the original text.
  • Idiomatic translation:
    This translation considers phrases within a language that have a different meaning than the literal translation.
  • Communicative translation:
    A translation that tries to generate the precise contextual meaning of the original.

Also Read: HTML Translation: Understanding the Process

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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.