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How to Approach the Translation of Technical Terms

Tackling a translation containing technical terms requires both linguistic knowledge and a broad understanding of technical language. This is a type of specialized translation, characterized by content full of terminology exclusive to the field in question; industry, science, technology, or an array of other disciplines.

Technical translation consists of transferring specialized texts into another language using the corresponding technical vocabulary and style.

This is a different kind of translation with very specific requirements. These translations must be approached using specific techniques and tools.


What makes the translation of technical terms different?

Technical documents, unlike literary texts, are the product of research, measurements, or findings, in which codes, numbers and highly technical language are used. 

Consequently, technical translation cannot be viewed as general linguistic translation. In addition to requiring in-depth knowledge of the technical subject matter, it requires a high degree of accuracy, perfect clarity and constant updating from the translator.

Some of the characteristics that make technical translation different include:

  • Accuracy. Although, depending on the target language, the translation may require sentences to be rephrased, it is always essential that the translation of technical texts accurately conveys the content of the original document.

  • Clear concepts. Technical documents usually contain practical applications of technological or scientific information. It is therefore vital that the translation be clear and precise.

  • Correct use of numbers. All numbers must be expressed correctly according to the source language and the indications given by the client. These numbers are measurements, the product of research, or reflect exact descriptions of equipment, systems or products.

The lack of precision or clarity in the translation of technical terms can have legal implications. For example, it can cause a product to not comply with a country's legal regulations or with the statutes that regulate a company.

In addition, the target audience of the translated content must be taken into account. A document may be destined for the general public or, on the contrary, it may be designed specifically for professionals of a technical domain.



Industries in which the translation of technical terms is of the utmost importance

The translation of technical terms is required in scientific, technological, and industrial fields, for example. These include:

  • The pharmaceutical industry.

  • Medical and scientific research.

  • The different branches of engineering: electronic engineering, software engineering, chemical engineering, etc.

  • The automotive industry.

  • Manufacturing industries.

  • The commercial sector.

  • The legal field.

  • The finance industry.

These industries produce manuals, instructions, user guides, medical tests, results reports, contracts, resolutions, financial statements, scientific journals, etc.

But specialized technical translations are also required in other non-scientific fields. For example, content marketing translation.


Tools and techniques for translating technical terms

Commonly used techniques and tools when translating technical terms include:

  • Thoroughly reading the content to determine the context and tone.

  • Conducting research to acquire a solid understanding of the content and its terminology, both in the source and target language.

  • Using up-to-date technical glossaries and dictionaries from recent publications.

  • Keeping up to date with the technologies and terms in the technical field in which you specialize. For example, by taking courses and attending conferences.

  • Asking for help from technical experts, such as engineers, doctors, industrial managers, etc. in order to receive explanations or clarify specific doubts.

  • Consulting the author of the technical document. The author is obviously the most familiar with the context of the content.

  • Inserting examples to explain concepts that are difficult to translate.

  • Using technology such as translation memories or machine translation programs.



Pangeanic, your expert partner for the translation of technical terms

At Pangeanic, we specialize in natural language processing and the combination of artificial intelligence and human potential for top quality translation.

We have extensive experience in the translation of technical terms in various fields. We offer technical translation services in the automotive, commercial, financial, legal, medical and pharmaceutical fields, among others, and technical translations of scientific journals, user manuals, machinery specifications, patents, commercial news, video games, etc.

Contact us for human or machine translation services. Our language services extend across many technical sectors, such as manufacturing, engineering, banking or IT.