Category: Translation

Technical document translations

Technical document translation requires high precision and accuracy. This is because this kind of texts include a large number of terms and concepts specific to a particular field that, if not translated accurately, will not be properly understood by users; thus generating mistrust or posing a risk due to improper use of the product mentioned or even non-compliance with regulations.

Thus, when a company decides to translate technical documents, whether it belongs to the industrial sector or to highly regulated industries such as the pharmaceutical or cosmetics industry, it requires translation services that ensure technical accuracy. Below we will delve into how to proceed in these cases.

How to deal with technical document translations

When dealing with technical document translations, it is necessary to take some steps to ensure technical accuracy. The key steps are the following:

The importance of being familiar with the contents of the technical manual

First things first: before starting with the translation, it is important to truly understand the original text. This means that whoever is responsible for the translation of technical documents should have years of experience in the sector in order to thoroughly know the field, its specific jargon and main concepts.

At a practical level, it is important to look at the big picture before starting with the translation to ensure the jargon and area of expertise are under control, and avoid setbacks as the project moves forward.

Work on a glossary for a consistent translation

A problem common to all technical translations is terminology. Specific words and particular expressions has to not only be translated correctly into the target language, but also be kept consistent throughout the text under construction and other future translations of the same topic, always applying the same translation criteria.

An effective way to guarantee consistency is to first work on a glossary that compiles the terminology to be used and translate it accordingly. That way, you can resort to it in case of need and maintain consistency while saving time.

Use a translation memory

Translation projects require other specific tools, such as translation memories, to serve as a complement to the glossary. These tools record common segments of text in both the source and target languages, so that, as with the glossary, you use them to speed up translations and ensure consistency.

Use advanced CAT tools

These tools give major support to technical document translations. They facilitate the creation of terminology glossaries and translation memories, and ensure their implementation and permanent updating in the company’s translation processes.

For example, they are able to automatically identify previously translated text segments and propose the correct translation. This way, it is possible to reuse previous translations, thus guaranteeing consistency and reducing time and costs, while at the same time enabling you to optimise technical document translations.

Use all the resources at your disposal

Good resource management is key to solving any problems that may arise during technical document translations. This implies knowing how to search for and consult reference sources, related regulations, or parallel technical information from other similar manuals or documents from other similar companies or sectors.

Of course, if the problem persists, all there is left is to ask. Sometimes, the problem may lie in some mistake in the original text that is preventing proper comprehension and that it must be revised first.

Take into account the International Organisation for Standardisation guidelines

Some industries, especially within certain sectors such as food or healthcare, are subject to specific legal regulations or recommended standards. These harmonise the terminology to be used in different languages or impose certain requirements that must be taken into account in the translation of manuals or the translation of technical specifications.

Specifically, before translating an instruction manual it is best to check the ISO 3864 standard first, which establishes how to translate hazard symbols and pictograms, as they are designed to warn about certain hazards or risks.

Use a translation agency if necessary

Technical document translation is a complex process that requires specific skills, such as knowledge of the field concerned, and particular translation techniques. Therefore, if you cannot guarantee the required accuracy and consistency, do not hesitate to resort to a translation agency that has specialised professional translators and uses the appropriate tools.

If you need to translate technical documents while guaranteeing accuracy, Gear Translations offers the service you need. Our translation team, made up of experienced translators and supported by the most advanced translation technology solutions, is ready to take on the challenge.

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