Technical translation services: learn more about this translation modality

Understand the aspects involved in this type of translation and when it should be requested.

There are several types of translation. Each one serves different purposes. Technical translation services are among the most specific ones, as they address a specific purpose and must be done by highly-qualified professionals.

They are especially important to scientific development, and to different areas of expertise around the world, as they enable access of a greater number of people to relevant contents.

Understand how this translation modality works and why it is so necessary.

What is a technical translation service?

Technical translations involve technical contents such as scientific papers, experiments, and research studies, and should always stick and be faithful to the original content.

According to The STM Report, a report published in March 2015, approximately 2.5 million scientific articles are published annually, representing 6,849 articles per day or 285 articles per hour in average.

These articles address different areas of expertise, including medicine, chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, social sciences, engineering, architecture, computing, marketing, etc.

The language of these articles change according to their country of origin. Although most of the scientific publications are written in English, some documents are also written in German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, among other languages.

These articles can be a great determining factor for scientific discoveries worldwide, in countries where the language of the article is not frequently understood – this is where technical translation come in.

For example, if an article about prostate cancer is written in German and a patient from the Philippines is experiencing the same situation as described in the article, Philippine physicians will only be able to access that information if it is written in a language they can understand.

That is why technical translations are among the main translation services and are highly important to disseminate knowledge globally.

How is a technical translation made?

This type of translation has to be under the responsibility of professional and highly-qualified translators who do not only master the language pair, but also the specific area of expertise being addressed.

A technical translation is full of technical terms that need to be correctly translated so that the document is properly understood in the target language, i.e. it involves more than simply translating from one language to the other.

Additionally, mastering the language pair does not necessarily qualify a professional to provide a technical translation service, as being familiarized with the subject is really crucial.

For example, Brazilians are fluent Portuguese speakers, but that doesn’t mean every Brazilian can understand technical medical terms, like aphasia, colostomy, episiorrhaphy, phlegmasia, myasthenia, polyuria, tachypnea and vasoconstriction.

In addition to the technical terms themselves, some acronyms cannot be understood by laypeople, i.e. people who do not master the subject, like ARE, EM, HVD, IAM, PCR, RCR, TVM and VSCE.

The same is applicable to other areas of expertise and other languages. While it is crucial to master the language pair, translators must be highly familiarized with the subject addressed to provide a high-quality translation service.

There are some differences between technical and sworn translation, but a common aspect is that translators have to fulfill specific criteria to provide a good quality service that effectively meets customer needs.

When is a technical translation necessary?

Médico escrevendo algo em um papel, sobre uma prancheta, com as duas mãos do paciente sobre a mesa, entrelaçadas, dando a entender quando a tradução técnica é necessária, como em casos de conteúdos de ordem médica.

Several areas of expertise require technical translations. Some of the main areas include:

  • Instructions manuals;
  • Scientific papers;
  • Scientific research;
  • Drug leaflets;
  • Lawsuits;
  • Financial reports;
  • Product patents;
  • Bids;
  • Business audits.

In addition to the examples listed above, whenever a document or content has technical terms or specific expressions associated with a certain area of expertise, technical translation is necessary if good results are to be achieved.

How can a technical translation service be hired?

Choose a specialized translation agency that can ensure the quality of the services provided by its professionals.

In many cases, you can question whether automatic and crowdsourcing translations are any different from professional translations – although a professional translation is always recommended, choosing a highly-qualified translator is even more important in technical translation.

The number of good translators can be limited and this number is even lower for technical translations. When requiring translators to master both the language pair and the subject addressed, the group gets particularly small.

Therefore, choosing a specialized and experienced agency is the best way to ensure not only a good quality technical translation service, but also specialized professionals.

How much can a technical translation service cost?

Another common question people ask is how much a translation service is worth: this will change depending on text length, timeframe, language pair and the subject addressed.

As technical translations address specific segments, the number of qualified translators is more limited and, consequently, prices tend to be higher compared to other types of translation.

However, this should be carefully considered. Cheaper translations are usually not a good option in view of their poor quality and, consequently, make the service lose its credibility.

Additionally, the purpose of a document is that incorrectly translated can be seriously impaired when technical terms or acronyms are not translated correctly.

As for cost-effectiveness, your service has to be provided by a reliable agency whose experience and market reputation can make up for the money invested and offer you the best possible result.

Fidelity is a translation agency specialized in technical translation services and has over 48 years of market experience. It offers excellent cost-effectiveness and deadlines that meet customer needs, always offering the best possible results.

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