The Technical Translation Guide – Definition, Process, Benefits and Role

May 10, 2019
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

1. Technical Translation Definition

Technical translation involves translating documents or materials concerning technical and scientific subjects and using the specialized terminology of the technical or scientific field involved. This kind of translation covers the translation of different types of specialized texts. 

Technical translation thus requires a technical translator who has an in-depth understanding of specialized terms in the target languages and the source and the subject matter too. They should be able to do this translation with ease. 

Materials requiring translation vary and include articles from technical, medical, engineering, and scientific journals. Such materials require people with excellent translation skills and graduate training in that field. Other materials that require technical translation include user manuals, computer product specification sheets, and patents

In this article we will help you understand the different types of translations.

2. Benefits of Technical Translation 

Computer-aided translation using terminology databases and translation memories are highly appropriate. This is due to the recurrent nature of technical writing and highly formulaic nature plus the consistent terminology in technical translation like in patents. 

Technical translation also involves translating technological texts of linguistic features from one language to another. There is a similarity between technical translation and technical communication and its benefits from research in such areas and others like cognitive psychology and usability.

Translation thus involves striking a balance between science and art with an influence of practice and theory.  

You might find interesting: Most common mistakes made during translation.

The Technical Translation Guide – Definition, Process, Benefits and Role

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3. Costs of Technical Translation

As seen above, technical translation is quite involving. As such, the costs associated with translation are high and more time is also required. This high cost is affected by the high demand for translators, a particular number of specialized translators who are available for a required language. Also, the level of technical or scientific knowledge required for the translation project often affects cost. 

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4. Role of a Technical Translator

A technical translator plays a vital role in simplifying specialized texts. Nonetheless, their role is not only to transmit information but also constructing procedural knowledge and discourse through meaning. This is so because the technical translator may play the role of a technical writer

Further, technical communicators create new meaning other than just repacking past information. The need of a technical translator can therefore not be over-emphasized, whether the translation is in single or multiple languages.

Also read: Benefits of being a Translator.

5 Requirements to be a Technical Translator

These are the 5 major requirements required for being a Technical Translator:

1. Cross-Curricular Background

Any professional technical translator should have a multifaceted and cross-curricular background

2. Multidisciplinary Knowledge

They should also have a good understanding of other subjects. These include technical communication, usability engineering, and cognitive psychology.

3. Professional Translation Familiarity

Through training, they should also be familiar with professional translation

Also, they should have an interdisciplinary background, that may include Scientific or Legal Background as the majority operates in legal and medical technical translation fields. 

5. Solid Translation Skills

5. For any translation to be effective, the translator has to have solid translation skills especially if they are using machine translation (MT) or computer-aided translation (CAT). For example, engineering and mechanic documents require the utilization of both MT and CAT. 

Make sure you check the 10 Online Translation Tools Recommended By Translators.

The Technical Translation Guide – Definition, Process, Benefits and Role

6. The Process of Technical Translation 

These are the 4 steps involved in the process of Technical Translation:

1. Analysis

This occurs after translators read and understand what is to be translated. They also determine the context of the texts. The tone and register are then determined according to the context and type of text. Worth noting though is that technical texts have a neutral tone.

2. Comprehension  

The translator might require to access the type and level of difficulty in a particular text based on their nature and experience. This will determine whether they are capable of translating the text as it should and in a timely manner. They also know if there are other translation problems that are difficult to understand. 

Where it is difficult to learn everything regarding the subject knowledge, they conduct some research or simply apply knowledge of subjects of similar nature. Materials which aid in research include recently published technical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and glossaries. They should be recently published as technology evolves fast.

The Technical Translation Guide – Definition, Process, Benefits and Role

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3. Translation 

This is a process that depends on censorship which may affect a texts outcome and the ethics codes and laws present in a particular area. Also, depending on experience and time constraints, translators keep referring back through revision, research and consulting reference materials. Machine translation and translation memory software’s come in handy where translators need to get the perfect match for their clients. 

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4. Revision 

This is guided by the nature of text or the translator’s experience. Other factors governing revision include laws and style guides.

After completing the translation process, it is very important to ensure that this information is well preserved. Having put in a lot of time and money as earlier seen, the need for preservation cannot be over-emphasized. CAT and translation memory tools thus come in handy and ensure the above is achieved. They are ideal for technical documents and manuals as these have constant repetitions.

Easy access to content that has been previously translated is important. It enables your languages services provider to complete projects faster and at higher translation accuracy. This guide proves there is a need to get the best translators for your needs as an error made during translation is not reversible.

3 Comments. Leave new

Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.Keep updating more information from your blog.I will be waiting for your next post


Good information about technical translations. It will help people who are looking for such information. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Lingua Technologies International
September 27, 2022 10:06 am

Very Nice Information! Looking for a professional certified translation company in Singapore that provides professional translation services in different languages. Not just another translation agency or company, a professional translation company that provides certified translation, subtitling, technical writing, voiceover, website translation services, etc.


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