It is true that translating technical documents can be considered less sophisticated and glamorous than translating literary works such as novels or poems. But it is also true that technical documents represent the majority of global translation production, offering a strategic solution for companies and a great opportunity for translators.
The demand for language translation services in the world today generates an amount exceeding $50 billion per year, as confirmed by a recent article in Madrid Actualidad. And as one of India's most renowned translators, Arunava Sinha, explains in a Telegraph India article; technical translation and interpreting are better paid than literary translation. Wondering why?
Technical translation; what makes these documents different from other texts?
Think of the number of technicalities, references, ambiguous wording and abbreviations that any technical document may contain. Now add a lot of profoundly unique terminology, such as words or phrases used within a particular industry or that describe the field in great detail.
The result is a highly specialized text which requires professional, highly qualified and experienced technical writers to achieve a quality translation. This type of translation involves everything from user guides, user manuals and impact statements, among others, to any document related to technical fields such as engineering, IT or mechanics.
Unlike commercial or literary translations, which are self-explanatory, the subject of technical translation is often rather ambiguous. For this reason, in comparison with other types of translation, technical translation services must be highly specialized to be able to adapt to the target audience and ensure that end users can interact correctly with the products and services.
Why is technical translation so important?
All companies looking to increase their market share on the global stage will have to draw the attention of international audiences through two basic actions:
- Differentiated marketing strategies
- Writing and translating specialized texts
As many as 25% of consumers said in a Pulse Headlines article that they would never buy products or services if they could not find the specifications in their language. Both for the clients themselves and, in many cases, for legal requirements, it is essential to ensure that assets, content and documents are translated into the target audience's native language within the specific market.
The criterion when selecting translators for these very specific texts is no longer just about knowing the language, but also about the document topic. With the rise of international companies in the industrial and technology sectors, the demand for hyper-specialized translations is getting an extra boost.
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What should you take into account when looking for a technical translator?
1. Proven experience in the specific technical domain
Given the importance of accuracy and a thorough understanding of the terminology, it is clear that a technical translator with industry experience is needed. For this reason, it is advisable to go to an established translation agency with solid testimonials from companies in the same industry.
This way, having translated documents from the same domain, ambiguities, errors and inaccuracies will be avoided. They will know what problems may arise, what errors may occur, and will be able to focus on those aspects for a quality, efficient translation.
In terms of credentials, it is advisable to pay attention to the translation team's degrees and certifications. EN 15038 or ISO 17100 are standards that apply to translation companies and show that high standards of quality control are in place.
2. Mastery and use of CAT tools
Imagine the time and effort required to manually translate and manage an up-to-date knowledge repository that millions of devices contain. Suppliers using CAT tools (computer-assisted translation) work in a computer environment that helps them get the job done in a much more productive and accurate way.
One of its major advantages is that, in the case of text repetitions (very common in technical translations), the CAT tools' translation memories make it easier and much faster to perform the task. In addition, they are responsible for maintaining the terminological consistency within a project and between projects for the same client, and allow quality checks to be carried out; particularly useful in the case of technical translations.
Examples of leading CAT tools
A good example is Pangeanic's Cor technology, a crawler that facilitates the workflow's fast and efficient management in technical translations. Being an environment hosted in the cloud and accessible from anywhere, it facilitates document storage, as well as analyzing and detecting all content from websites and other sources.
Another example of cutting-edge technology is Pangeanic's ECO platform, a document translator that includes anonymization solutions designed for clients who require the technical translation of large volumes of documents or large documents. This hybrid model offers translations within tight deadlines with a machine translation post-editing service, combining advanced technology with in-house translators' expertise.
3. Project management and quality control
The communication between a client and a translation service provider is essential, and this includes the process prior to starting the actual translation. In order to ensure a quality translation, the customer's requirements and terms must be taken into account. This requires good project management and quality control.
The project managers are responsible for giving specific instructions to the translators and for providing all the information, glossaries and/or reference documents supplied by the client; thus ensuring that the translation is consistent with the specific needs. On the other hand, the supplier must use quality control tools during the translation process to assure the technical documents' required accuracy.
4. Transparency and scalability
The most important thing when it comes to finding a translation partner is do not rush the search: compare quotes and investigate which offers the optimal balance between budget, delivery time, quality and scalability.
The best translation service providers will help clients identify in which situations it is appropriate to use human translation, machine translation or a hybrid model combining both. It is especially important to determine the translation service provider's ability to adapt to each client's translation needs and demand, which may increase over time.
Finally, the most effective way to truly evaluate the quality of a translation solution is by looking at a work sample. For this reason, it is not advisable to hire a large-scale provider at first; the wisest thing to do would be to ask for an isolated budget to see the result before committing to any translation partner.
Pangeanic: expertise in technical translation
Pangeanic has brought out the best of the digital and linguistic transformation to solve complex internationalization needs. The translation of technical documents and other content is a way of breaking down the language and cultural barriers that globalization sometimes entails.
With our own intelligent technologies, Pangeanic is able to thoroughly understand contextual and technical nuances to minimize misconceptions that can detract from the translations' usefulness. We have Artificial Intelligence and native experts in fields such as engineering and science to achieve a professional and purely natural translation.
We have worked with instruction manuals and catalogs for technological products, standards for technical associations, websites, multimedia presentations and product data sheets, among others. Contact us, and we will be happy to help you.