What is the Technical Translation & when we need it?

Talk about technical translation, specialized translation, and even scientific and technical translation is commonplace today. The question is: do all refer to the same thing? It is only translation of manuals or anything else? As well, to clarify some ideas, we should distinguish, firstly, between science and technology and scientific language and technical language.

Technical translation

There is no doubt that both terms are closely related. We could say that science refers to the set of structured knowledge gained through observation and reasoning, that can be tested experimentally. On the other hand, the technique refers to the practical procedures that come from the hand of science and, usually, require certain skills or skills. Both merge technology, applied science.

The Ministry of science and technology published a systematization of the fields of science and technology carried out by UNESCO. You can access it here.

Technical translation and scientific translation, is the same?

Often, we have a somewhat confused use of these terms. It gives to understand that technical French to English Translation Services is exclusively related to the fields of technology, such as translation of manuals of machines, equipment, tools and instruments. Scientific translation, on the other hand, seems to refer exclusively to pharmaceutical documents or natural sciences.

However, the scientific and technical translation cannot be separated by fields or disciplines: both modalities can occur in all areas of science and technology.

We can say that the technical and scientific language are differentiated by their function or purpose, target audience which are directed, the field where originate, as well as by the type of texts produced.

Scientific translation the scientific language is written by scientists and originates in areas of research and education. It is more universal, with English as a lingua franca, their record is cultured, academic and theoretical and its function is the transmission of knowledge, findings or perspectives (scientific communication and dissemination). Types of frequent texts found here are articles, essays, as well as treaties and textbooks. Its target audience is the collective scientific and academic and, in the case of disclosure, the educated general public.

Technical Translation The technical language is written by technicians, usually in an industrial area. Her record is closer to the common language, tends to have more local or regional variants, and its function is practical: instructor teach. We have texts of varying degrees of technicality, as patents, manuals, technical instructions, and supports online and technical sheets. Frequently, being technical documentation of products, in certain types of texts is added to the intent to sell, as it happens in marketing material like catalogues, brochures and web sites. Depending on the type of text, you can go to a specialized public or the user in general.

We see that, sometimes, the range of action of a translator in regards to technical English to Spanish Translation Services goes beyond the translation of a manual or a technical document, and need to know adapt to the characteristics of each textual genre.

Today, speak simply of “technical language” us falls a bit short, since there are many channels through which we communicate (oral, written, visual…), it would be more correct to talk of technical communication.

A terminological approach, both the technical and scientific language can contain the same specialized lexicon, so often tend to include in a single category: “scientific and technical vocabulary” or “specialized”.

The legacy of technical translators

Rosette stone during the history of mankind, the translation has always been important for the scientific and technological advancement. The famous Rosetta stone, which represents a decree in three languages, allowed to decipher the hieroglyphs with the help of the other two languages: Greek and demotic. Thanks to this finding could access all the knowledge of the ancient Egyptians written in this hitherto incomprehensible symbolic language.

Technical language features

We can say that the technical language is a subset of the language, with partial matches with common language but with specific uses of a given subject. Some linguistic features of this language are:

Objectivity: in general, this type of texts have an informative or explanatory work but, above all, they must be objective and clear. Technical terms must be precise so that we quickly relate the term with the reality that called and thus avoid ambiguity (1 term = reference 1)

Terminological consistency: within a text is always maintain terminological consistency, i.e., if we are not clear whether using one term or another, must not alternating them throughout the text, as it will only cause confusion in the reader. It may happen that some term does not have equivalence in the target language the translator will need to find an alternative to solve the problem, as it can be the use of a loan, neologism, or, in the latter case, try to explain the term. In any case, it should be a consistent solution and you should not take lightly, since the technical language is quite strict and does not agree that proliferate erroneous terms or to bring confusion. There are agencies that regulate products and services at national and international level (AENOR, ISO, etc.), where you can find references to terms that can be very useful when it comes to translate a text, or in the work of documentation.

Precision: avoid the use of unnecessary words that make sure the text has a style more elaborate and often confusing.

Logical style: drafting of texts, in general, changes according to the language of that question. So one of the tasks of the translator is to decide what is the proper way to write a text in a given language: using the active voice or passive, in case you or your readers…

Despite having guidelines General about how prepares the technical documentation, yet are little known, and therefore they have had little impact, the modern technologies of assisted in drafting technical translation. We are convinced that the great benefits which will do that companies not take to become aware of the need to optimize texts for later Chinese to English Translation Services , whether for database-assisted translation systems or even to machine translation. The tasks of technical writing often fall on own technical experts that, in many cases, have no training as a technical editor.

Tips for the translation of technical texts

Understand the context: is essential to know to whom it is directed the text, what will be its use, etc., to achieve the desired specialty in each case.

Documented: the work of documentation can save us many problems when it comes to translate. Be familiar with the topic, have glossaries and know where to go if we have doubts us saves time and speeds up the work of the translator.

Stay up to date: especially if we are specialized in a particular field, must inform us insofar as possible of what be going on in the field in question. In this way the documentation may not be so laborious.

Keep the textual coherence: in technical texts is essential precision and accuracy, respect the terminology, take care of spelling and grammar, etc., since the minimum error can have important consequences.

Attention to neologisms: sometimes is taken for granted that a recent creation (especially in the case of English) Word does not have an equivalent in the target language. In many cases it is true, and the English word is taken as a standard and universal but must make sure always that there is no equivalent in the target language.

Eye with acronyms, abbreviations, and acronyms!: can happen between different areas of knowledge there is coincidence in acronyms to designate different realities. It is likely that by the context we rule out any of the options, but we must confirm this with some reliable source. We must know the conventions of writing of these elements (with or without point, uppercase and lowercase, spaces etc.).

Control units of measure and figures: should make sure of correct writing of figures in the languages with which we work, and also make the necessary conversions to make understandable text in the target language. Errors in figures, depending on the content of the text, can lead to very serious errors.

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