Technical Translations - A Domain That Requires the Utmost Care

Technical Translations - A Domain That Requires the Utmost Care
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


For many businesses, campaigns for information or solutions, books and articles, it is prudent to note that these resources are not only meant for the English global communities, there are vast populations missing out on a solution or resource that would be beneficial to them. In offering accessibility, the textual rendition has to be translated into the native target market.



Translation is assumed as an easy feat by most multilingual or professional translators. Today, there are numerous software packages that offer translation services, but there are few things that are normally missed out, which is what will is discussed here.



Translate in-to, not out-to the Target Language



Many translators or translation services use the source language to transform the text and semantics and render them into the target language, in doing this, the rules of the source language are assimilated, and more often than not, the semantics miss the message intended. One should always take the stand of the target language, define the meaning of what is rendered into the target language, not 'out to' it. Using this approach, one will be able to assimilate the comprehension of the target language reader and present the message rather than the technical semantics.



Cases and Conjugation



Not all languages capitalize the first letters of proper nouns or important references, in fact, in some languages, a capitalized word means differently from one that is not. In Spanish, some words like the name of a month are not capitalized, they remain in lower case. In English, conjugation often replaces punctuation in sentence construction without altering the meaning of a sentence. In Castilian, the case is different; punctuation cannot be replaced, and can cause a misread on the meaning, like when listing names in a sentence. It can also cause a syntax anomaly.






English does not focus on gender, and an article can stray away from gender implications without altering the intent of an article or document. In some languages like French and German, the use of nouns and verbs have gender implications, and it would be wise to differentiate that when rendering the translation, the output can be misleading if this is not brought to bear.



Context and Meaning



Some words are similar in presentation, and sometimes in pronunciation, but they do not replicate the function of the English word in context. For instance, there are lots of words in Spanish that are similar in English, and they carry the same semantic value. But the moment the Spanish words are placed in a sentence, they get a different meaning. Some languages carry collective semantics in sentence construction, and it would be beneficial to identify the contextual implication of a translation before rendering the outcome.



Phonetic Similarities



There is no guarantee that words which have the same phonetic value in English carry the same value in other languages, they could be characterized by a whole range of factors that could easily alter the meaning.



These situations are the most adverse in the translating process, there are many others, but what would be beneficial to the translator is to imagine what the output means to the targeted reader who is oblivious of one's exposure to English and it's language structures and rules.

Also Read: How to Decode Technical Translation Like an Expert

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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.