At first glance, a technical translation does not seem to be such a complicated task. The language used in such translations is simple and full of data and diagrams but, for a specialist, these are more than just words. Engineers and technicians often skip written passages, looking instead attentively at details, specifications and dimensions. They sometimes return to the text when they see new things in the diagrams and think some details would be useful for further clarification. But it is precisely this type of specific things that actually make technical translations difficult.
Generally, translators took up language studies and only dealt with technical language occasionally, when they bought a new sofa and tried to assemble it, for example, even though it is very likely that they asked for a friend’s help or paid for the optional assembly service. And for the car, they quite probably fixed a flat tire or a burnt-out headlight bulb, but that is it.
1 inch = 2.54 cm
Should I convert it to the international unit of measurement or should I keep the imperial one, although the country for which I translate uses the metric system? Here is a question that most translators cannot answer to. And this is the easiest part of technical translations…
Apart from sizes, there are lots of formulations, expressions or even words that are unintelligible for those who do not have proper knowledge in the respective field. Obviously, these can be learned and, where appropriate, used mechanically. But this will most likely affect quality which, as far as technical translations are concerned, it should be as accurate and precise as the document, equipment or machine itself. Any deviation may cause problems or, even worse, it may affect the lives of users or those around them.
Moreover, mistakes can be found in any text, and those who automatically use technical words will often have difficulties or even be unable to translate at all. The simple solution, available to anyone, is to translate the text as it is and, in those rare cases when there is enough time, to ask for further explanations.
Fortunately, there are solutions. There are specialists in any field, so you can find professionals trained to do technical translations as well. All that needs to be done is to look for people who, besides foreign languages, have also taken up studies in your field of activity.
All you have to do is to choose, from the multitude of offers on the market, the translation agency whose portfolio includes the necessary know-how to make sure it provides high quality services.