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Why Is Technical Translation So Important?


The technical translation process is one of the highest levels of professional translation. Subject matter expertise is required for technical documents to be accurately translated. 

Every technical translator must meet the highest qualifications and standards before they are able to work with clients.

What Are Technical Translation Services

Technical translation services is an umbrella of services that covers the translation of complex texts such as technical manuals. This requires a higher level understanding of technical terms and terminology. 

Oftentimes, project managers will use expert technical translation services in their projects. This ensures the technical terminology is fully conveyed to the technicians that will be using the translated documents. 

Industries that Use Technical Translations

Many industries rely on high quality technical translations including:

  • Manufacturing and Heavy Machinery. Businesses that are making significant investments by purchasing machinery are looking to have precise, well translated documentation to train operators with.
  • Automotive. Cars are often manufactured in one country and assembled in another. Then vehicles are sold in multiple countries so accurate technical translations are needed in at least three languages in this case. 

The manufacturing plant needs a manual in their language. The assembly company needs one in their language. So do the purchasers of the cars in every country where the vehicle is sold.

  • Consumer Goods. Product packaging, owners/operators manuals, and marketing materials should be reviewed by a technical translation agency. This ensures accuracy before the product is even packaged for sale. 

Sometimes, the government requires this by law. The European Union has a mandatory requirement that all packaging and manuals are translated properly. Every country the products will be sold in should have a manual in the local language. The Canadian government has a mandatory requirement that all products will be translated to English and French before they’re sold.

  • Software. The goal of most software companies is to sell their products to a global market. The user interface must be translated using linguistic skills and account for cultural norms or culturally appropriate jargon for the region. Marketing materials for the software will need technical documentation translations to convey the brand messaging accurately.
  • Telecommunications. Most large telecommunications companies conduct business all over the world in multiple countries. German-based Bayer pharmaceutical company has communication sites in 91 countries but outsourced their IT needs to US-based Verizon. Technicians will need translated technical manuals and internal communications will need to be translated on both sides.
  • Chemicals. Every country has regulatory requirements for the safety data sheets and proper handling instructions for chemical manufacturers. If chemicals are mishandled due to poor translation of safety sheets, that could mean huge lawsuits for the manufacturer.
  • Energy. Gas, oil, and alternative fuels are highly regulated globally and many sub-fields of the energy industry have their own terminology. Subject matter experts know and understand the industry and the needs of the regulatory committees. Contracts and field reports will need to be professionally translated by technical experts for accuracy.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Why Is Technical Translation Important?

Companies that try to take shortcuts by not paying for a professional technical translation service could cause serious injury to consumers. 

Improper translations could result in injury due to user error if the instructions aren’t translated properly. Instructions should also be able to be clearly understood by the user.

Take this eraser, for instance. There likely isn’t going to be injury from those instructions but it’s frustrating. In business, you don’t make as many sales when you frustrate your customers. 

Communicating well with your potential customer will increase your business reputation and your sales.

What a Translator Needs to Complete the Project

There are very specific items that a technical translator needs before starting work on your project! Without these things, you may not get the desired result from the translation. By giving the translator what they need upfront, you’ll increase your chances of getting a great result the first time.

The needed items are:

  • A fully editable document (not saved as a PDF)
  • Background information about the document being translated. Consider what the translator may need to know about how you’ll be using the document after translation. 

Next, what they need to know about your company. Then, provide glossaries, technical jargon, or reference materials relevant to this project.

  • Let the translator know who the target audience is so they get a feel for what you’re working on
  • Graphics that will be used in the translation. This will help the flow for the reader later on.

In Conclusion

Technical translation is a complicated process and requires subject matter experts in their respective fields to review the documents. Then, they make recommendations and provide a high quality translation to be used for your technical business. 

Being willing to pay for a technical translation is a sound investment for long term success, especially when working with chemicals. 

At Hanna Interpreting Services LLC, we hand select the best translators for your specific request. Then, we walk you through every step of the process!

Disclaimer: All content published by Hanna Interpreting Services, LLC is owned by Hanna Interpreting Services, LLC and is for educational purposes only. Published information is opinion, not fact, and should not be used in lieu of legal or professional services advice. Please consult a professional for help in regards to your individual situation or circumstances.