Many industries deal with specialized documentation full of jargon which is hard to understand for an average citizen, let alone a foreigner. Thus, conveying a solid technical translation is crucial for international companies. What is technical translation, why is it important, and what are its main types? We answer these questions below.

What are technical translations?

The term ‘technical translation’ refers to the translation process of various documents related to technical and science industries like metallurgy, software development, chemical technology, automation etc. Therefore, technical translators must not only be experts in both the source and target language, but also have in-depth knowledge of the given field, as each industry operates on its own specific terminology, jargon, or even specific writing conventions.

Why is technical translation important?

Besides providing a way to reach Non-English speakers and linking your business, professional technical document translation services will prevent problems with local regulations and potential health and life hazards that mistranslation could cause. Technical terminology can be tricky and mistakes may cause serious problems. Thus, documents such as user manuals should be translated using high-quality technical translation services.

Mistranslating just one word can have dire consequences, a great example of this is the Treaty of Waikiki from 1840, which sparked a serious conflict that lasted for over 100 years. Although treaties aren’t considered technical documents, this example illustrates perfectly how critical it is to get an accurate translation.

If you want to learn more about the process of technical translation and preparing technical documentation for translation, don’t hesitate to read our blogposts dedicated to these subjects.

Main types of technical translation

Technical translation services may have many branches, depending on the nature of the technical documentation involved. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly translated technical document types:

User manuals

An informative, yet easy to read and understand user manual is a must if you aspire to make a good first impression with your product. Thus, translating user manuals should have high priority when you’re opening for new markets. Simple transition between languages is rarely enough and might lead to serious misuse of the product – that’s where seemingly stupid instructions such as ‘don’t stop the chain with hands or genitals’ come from. Yes, someone must’ve really done it, if it ended up in later versions of the manual.

Financial and technical reports

This type of documents is presented to the stakeholders/business partners, maximal readability without any ambiguities is a must. With the help of a qualified technical translator, you can engage your foreign stakeholders and potential business partners, thus benefiting from their unique input.
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Technical tenders and proposals

Being able to present your requests, projects, and pitches comprehensively is crucial in any business-related interactions, especially those involving technical terminology and very specific data. This category covers documents such as:

  • Technical proposals
  • Project bids
  • Presentations and multimedia content
  • RFQ (request for quotation)
  • RFI (request for information)
  • RFP (request for proposal)

Maintenance manuals

A precise maintenance manual is an important part of running a prosperous facility – they contain information on effective upkeep and procedures, tools, team members, and third parties involved in solving the most likely crisis scenarios. Maintenance manuals should be direct and consistent, as they are most useful during emergencies, any ambiguity or hard-to-follow wording is absolutely out of the question.

Material safety data sheets (MSDS)

MSDSs are documents containing information on potential hazards and safe ways to work with chemical products. This makes them one of a company’s health and safety policy’s cornerstones. While dealing with translation of this type of documents, precision is of utmost importance, even a small departure from the original text can lead to life-threatening situations, as the controlled substance might seem less dangerous than it really is.

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Although patent translation services fall into the legal category, many patent documents include technical data, terminology, and industry-specific jargon that should be handled by a technical translator. Any ambiguity in these areas could lead to failure in securing patent rights outside the original country, patents are regional-based and in most cases country-specific, so they must be acquired independently for each new market.

How to get the best technical translations?

If you want to make sure that your technical documents’ translations will be impeccable and meet all legal and practical requirements, you should choose a reputable, professional translation agency that specializes in technical texts. You don’t have to look far, here at TEXTOLOGY, we can provide you with the highest quality technical translation services for various industries. Our experienced translators possess deep technical and specialist knowledge that enables them to catch all the linguistic or cultural nuances involved in technical document translation. You want to make sure we’re up to the task? Submit a free quote and learn what we can do for you and your business.