Technical content translation may seem like an easy task at first but once you actually start doing it, you will quickly change your mind. There are certain procedures and rules in technical translation that do not necessarily apply to regular kinds of translation. You need to understand these special requirements so that you can create the best translation of your technical documents.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Technical Content Translation
Attempting to do a technical content translation is a very brave thing to do. But it does make sense if you have considerable knowledge of the subject matter and if you are very fluent in the target language. Nevertheless, there are things that you have to keep in mind when doing technical translation so that you can produce the best possible result. Let’s start with the things that you should do.
Do Simplify Complicated Sentences
Technical documents are usually complicated enough as they are, with big words and long sentences. If they are to be translated to another language, there’s a good chance that the sentences will become even longer. Thus, one of the tasks of a technical translator is to simplify overly complicated content. This will make the translation more easily understandable to the reader.
Do Localize Instead of Just Translate
Simple translation is just changing the language of the content, whereas localization involves taking cultural or regional references into consideration while doing the translation. It is important to make the target audience feel that they are reading an original document and not an obvious translation of another document.
Do Hire a Professional Translator If the Job Is Too Hard
Technical content translation is usually difficult even for professionals so if you find that you are having a hard time doing the job, don’t hesitate to delegate it to a pro instead. You will spend some money for the service but if you choose the right company, the result will usually be very much worth your money.
Now, you know the things that you must remember to do when translating technical documents. But of course, there are also things that you should not do at all costs. Here are some of them.
Don’t Rely on Machine Translation
When it gets hard, and it will definitely get hard, you might be tempted to just run your content through a translation application, which is much faster. While software can help to an extent, an actual person who is a technical translation companies should still do most of the job, including the final proofreading and revisions.
Don’t Hire Someone Just Because They Are Fluent in the Target Language
Technical translation requires so much more than just fluency in any language. It won’t matter if they have perfect skills in the language or even if they are a native speaker, when they know next to nothing about the technical subject matter, or the culture for that matter. It is extremely important that the translator passes all these requirements so that they can do a really good job.
Don’t Hire Professional Translators with No Experience in Technical Content
Someone may have years of experience translating articles, blog posts, audio for video productions, and so on. But if they have not done any technical content translation in the past, don’t take a risk by hiring them. It is a very specialized kind of translation and requires someone who is experienced and skilled.
How to Choose a Technical Content Translation Professional
Once you have decided to hire someone to translate your technical documents, you have to be ready to embark on a meticulous search until you find the most suitable service provider. It’s not that there is a shortage of translators out there but there are few that can really deliver superior results when it comes to the technical field.
First of all, you need to find someone who is a native speaker of the target language, or who at least has an equivalent fluency. They should also be very familiar with the culture, including local terminology and the nuances of the language. This is vital to ensure a smooth flow of the resulting technical content translation, in addition to the accuracy and grammatical correctness.
The translator that you choose should also have significant knowledge about the subject of your document. For instance, it will be very hard for someone to translate a scientific paper on the use of DNA fingerprinting for the characterization of bacterial communities in soil, when they know nothing about biotechnology or biology.
All things considered, it is highly advisable to leave the technical content translation to experienced professionals. In technical documents, even the slightest errors can result in massive damage. To avoid this, you should pick a translator that does not only have considerable translating experience but also specialized knowledge in the subject and the target language and culture.
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