What Is Technical Translation?
Last updated: February 7th, 2018 by admin
Technical translation is a specialised branch of translation which involves the translation of technical documents from one language into another. By technical documents may be meant medical, scientific, engineering documents and any other documents that may require a specialised knowledge of the subject and its terminology.
The degree of difficulty involved depends on the subject matter. This can vary immensely from short descriptions of how to use a particular drug through to lengthy scientific research papers and technical manuals.
Generally, it would be expected that technical translation is done by technical translators. These may be freelancers who have started their career in a particular technical field, such as the medical profession, then diverted into translation at some point. Technical translation agencies may provide different types of technical translation to suit most needs.
Technical translation is difficult work and requires a level of accuracy that may not be necessary in other types of translation. Technical translators are usually already well qualified in their particular field and tend to expect a higher rate of payment for their work than more general translators.
In addition to the higher cost of technical translation it would be expected that the turnaround time for technical translation would be longer than for simpler translation tasks.
Perhaps surprisingly, it may be noted that technical translation tasks lend themselves more readily to automated translation software than other types of translation. This is because the language tends to be highly structured without room for personal nuance. The language used, whatever the actual language will always be the standard language used in the country, not a local dialect. The text will not be subject to colloquialisms and subjective expression. The use of translation memory (TM) and glossaries, while not replacing the value of the technical translator, serve to speed up translation, provide a level of consistency in multiple translation tasks and overall provide a cheaper, yet no less accurate product.