Sworn or technical translation: which one to choose?

Learn how to choose between sworn and technical translation and check which one best suits your needs

There are many different types of translation services, including technical, financial and medical translation. They all exist for one reason: to meet the needs of each specific industry.

The right choice depends largely on your needs.

Because of the various types, businesses requiring translation services usually have a lot of questions about the topic. This is the case with sworn and technical translation.

Therefore, we have provided you with some important information so that you can better understand how to choose between sworn and technical translation and how to select the most appropriate type of translation for your project. Check it out below:

What is technical translation?

Businesses work with highly specialized and important documents, which need to be translated.

Businesses operating in the engineer, pharmaceutical or scientific sectors, for example, work with complex documents containing specific terminology and covering specialized topics. Documents of this kind must be translated by a qualified and experienced technical translator.

Technical translation occurs when specific and complex documents covering a given subject are translated from one language to another. It differs from “regular” translations because technical translators are required to have expertise in the subject, in addition to being familiar with the terminology, and the source and target languages.

For example, an architecture firm located in Brazil has been hired to design a new skyscraper in Switzerland and it needs to hire a translation agency to translate the designs and guidelines properly so that builders can begin the works.

Not only will the technical text and instructions need to be translated, but sizes and measurements will have to be converted to the metric system that is used in Switzerland.

The incorrect communication of a certain type of material, load requirement or tolerance specification can have devastating consequences that, at the very least, will seriously delay the project.

When do you need technical translation?

If your source text contains complex or sector-specific terminology and concepts, you will likely need the help of a specialized language collaborator, who must be a specialist in technical translation.

Some common documents for technical translation include:

Patent translation

Patents are governed by legal and practical requirements. Patent translation is highly complex and requires experienced linguists who should also have document writing skills. Patents may cover medical, chemical, mechanical or pharmaceutical subjects, for example.

A clear understanding of the original context is required – be it a claim, a description or even if the document is used in a legal dispute.

User manual translation

User manuals are also common documents requiring technical translation. Like patents, manuals also require expert linguists and, preferably, those who are experienced in the sector.

Linguists also need to be experts in translating manuals and guides, in addition to being able to use the right style of writing that is culturally sensitive to the target audience.

Technical manuals must have straightforward, without showing any sign of the author or trace of subjectivity. To achieve that in the target language, special skills are needed.

Translators also have to understand the correct industry terminology when translating a manual so that it meets the standards of this style of text.

Health and safety documents

Health and safety topics are full of specific terminology, and failure to translate these terms correctly can cause harm to users – something you would certainly like to avoid. After all, a company’s most valuable asset is its employees.

To translate health and safety documents effectively, a qualified linguist is required. They must be fully specialized in health and safety topics, as well as being able to translate texts that are easy to understand and suitable for the target audience.

With a professional translation agency like Fidelity, your documents will be translated by an experienced and qualified translator.

Other areas to be considered

The field of technical translation is vast and covers a wide range of content. In addition to those named above, technical translation can also be used in the following areas:

  • Papers and journals
  • Viability studies
  • Manufacturing and engineering studies
  • Marketing communications
  • Safety data sheets
  • Product specifications
  • Regulatory dossiers
  • Service, maintenance and policy manuals
  • Technical reports
  • Textbooks
  • Training materials
  • Instructions for use and operation

What is sworn translation?

Sworn translation means that a sworn translator – or public translator – has issued a signed document stating that the translation made is an accurate and true representation of the original document.

Sworn translations are usually required for documents with legal value. This includes marriage, death and birth certificates, adoption agreements, supporting documents for immigration, court transcripts, service agreements, and commercial contracts that were not written in the official language of the country in which the documents will be submitted.

When to use sworn translation?

In most cases, you must use sworn translation for documents that have legal purposes, such as immigration, college applications, and corporate and commercial negotiations. Here are some of the types of documents that may need sworn translation:

  • Official documents required for visa applications
  • Legal documents required for legal proceedings
  • Diplomas and transcripts for educational institutions
  • Birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates
  • Driver’s license, passports and visas
  • Criminal background checks for recruitment, HR and visa applications
  • Business contracts
  • Financial reports and bank statements
  • Medical records

Choose the right type of translation according to your needs

In addition to sworn and technical translations, there are several other types of translation, such as literary, legal, financial etc. Each of them follows different processes and uses different technologies that can work for different types of translation projects.

What makes sense for one type of translation may not work for another.

Fidelity provides sworn and technical translation services for all types of documents. We are experts in the field and we are happy to help you with your translation project.

Contact us to learn which type of translation service is right for your needs.

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