Technical translation is one of the most delicate and challenging tasks in the translation industry. It is highly specialized and requires an in-depth knowledge of technical terminology specific to the business or industry.
Technical translation involves manuals, user guides, reports and scientific texts translation and is mostly required in the following industries: medical translation, software localization, marketing collateral transcreation, engineering documents translation, pharmaceutical and healthcare translations, etc.
Unfortunately, many language service providers (LSP) don’t give the needed attention to the specificities of the different industries, which often results in catastrophic outcomes –far beyond simple delays and need for retranslation.
By knowing the following four rules of thumb, you can make a more informed decision regarding your technical documents translation:
- Subject matter expertise: A professional translation company must ensure that its team of technical translators possesses the relevant knowledge and training in the subject of translation. Familiarity with the content terminology and technical expressions guarantees accuracy and readability of the translated text.
- Regulations: Many industries implement constant updates required by regulatory bodies that vary from one country to another. A professional LSP maintains records of all changes and makes sure that their team abides by them in all translation projects.
- Quality Assurance: You may be able to assess your LSP by their professionalism and translation samples that they show during the consultations and preparations for the translation. Though, the possession of an ISO9001 certification along with robust processes and success stories can speak volumes!
- Native, certified translators: In addition to being knowledgeable with the industry, the technical translator should be native to the target language and familiar with the culture of the end-user.
Some agencies use generalist translators to provide all kinds of translations. Hence, their services might be cheaper than specialized LSPs with emphasis on technical translation. However, the results often show big gaps in quality. This will negatively reflect on the end-users’ perception of the company’s commitment to quality and on its image.