Technical Translations



Receiving a poor translation is a business’ worst nightmare.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that translation is a straightforward, word-for-word process. However, all types of translation come with their own unique complexities that translation agencies need to be aware of, especially with technical translation.

There is a wide variety of different technical documents, which means they can be found in many different sectors. They can be found in medical, engineering, industrial, software, and automotive industries, ranging from instructions for use and user guides to product and software manuals.

In order to avoid low quality translations, there are a few practices that translation agencies should follow. When choosing an agency for your translation project, keep these points in mind to help make sure you get the best results.

  1. Guidelines and standards

When translating technical documents, the translator must follow certain guidelines and standards defined by the target market.

For example, markets within the European Union have strict regulations regarding instructions for use (IFUs) which come with medical devices. The latest European Medical Devices Regulation (EU) 2017/745 outlines even stricter guidelines and standards for manufacturers, especially regarding the translation of the different technical documents.

Make sure that you clearly communicate your needs to your chosen agency. They should then have the knowledge needed to produce a translation which conforms with the regulations of your target market.

  1. Accuracy and quality

Certifications are a great indicator of accuracy and quality control. You should especially keep an eye out for certifications from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). This means the agency will have strict processes in place, giving you a higher chance of receiving a high-quality translation.

Clear and timely communication with your project manager is also key to making sure your translation meets your requirements and local standards. This helps keep everyone on the same page, ultimately giving you a high-quality translation that fulfils its purpose. 

So look out for certifications and make sure you are happy with their communication. Be confident and ask any questions you want about their processes, and make sure you get clear answers right from the start.  

  1. Language proficiency and expertise

It is also important that the translators working on your source documents are proficient in your target language. The best way to make sure of this is to check that the translation agency you choose only works with native speakers.

They will have mastered the target language and all its subtle nuances, as well as the habits and customs of your target audience. This knowledge will allow them to adapt the translation and tone of voice to produce a text that feels natural and conveys the message clearly.

However, being a native speaker alone is not enough, and a professional translator must also be a subject matter expert within your specific industry. This expertise will help guarantee that any specific terminology will be accurately translated into the target language.

Choose a professional agency for professional results

When it comes to technical translation, there is no room for error and the slightest mistranslation could have severe consequences.

At Intertranslations, we have spent the past 25 years dedicating ourselves to producing quality translations. Our experience and expertise paired with client-tailored services has allowed us to become one of the top translation agencies around. 

Our services are adapted to your needs, and depending on your goals, we can offer two possible solutions:

Translations for internal use

Our advanced machine translation saves on both time and cost, making it ideal for urgent projects and strict budgets. We have trained our neural machines using translation memories created by professional translators over the course of the last 25 years. This solution allows us to deliver good quality translations in just a few hours for very competitive rates.

Translations for official use

When handling urgent projects for official use, we create custom teams of translators and subject matter experts dedicated to your project. These experts and linguists are all native speakers of your target language.

They then work meticulously with bespoke glossaries created from your documents. This allows each team to make sure there are no discrepancies across your translations, guaranteeing quality and consistency.

Globalisation has made it easier to open the doors to various markets around the world. Any company looking to benefit from this access will need to translate various documents in order to reach different audiences. Technical documents are one of the most commonly translated types of documents, and there are multiple reasons why businesses often need these translating.

But what exactly are ‘technical documents’?

There are many types of technical documents spread across various industries. They can include everything from reports, reviews, presentations and press release notes, to flyers, business plans, policies, procedures and instructions.

Some technical documents are intended for users, such as manuals, guides, and information for use. Other documents relate directly to a specific product or service in a more ‘technical’ way, such as programming interfaces and development or software documents.

The most important part of handling technical documents is defining their intended audience. This influences not only the writing, but also the translation. Some documents such as advertisements, web pages or marketing materials might even need localisation services. This is where the translator also takes into account cultural elements of the target market and the target audience.

In order to get a better understanding of technical documents, we have divided them into two categories—user documents and process documents.

  1. User documents

Generally, user documents aim to provide customers with relevant information so that they can use a specific product or service correctly and safely. They are mainly instructions and explanations to guide the users on how to use them, step by step. For the best user experience of the products or services, technical writing uses clear, common terminology that is understood by everyone.

User documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Market requirements documents (MRDs) which describe the customer’s wants and needs for the service or product
  • Application programming interfaces (APIs) which describe the services and how to use them correctly
  • Software development kit (SDK) documents which describe how to perform certain tasks or actions to develop a platform
  • A user requirements document (URD) or user requirements specification (URS) which describe the user’s expectations regarding the product or the service
  • User guides or manuals, installation guides, configuration guides, FAQs, etc.
  1. Process documents

Process documents are related to the development, maintenance, improvement or testing of a system or a product. They usually target professionals such as engineers, testers, managers or marketers.

Unlike user-targeted documents described above, process documents use industry-specific jargon, terminology and technical terms known by professionals within the industry.

  • Process documents include similar types of documents to user-oriented ones. These documents include, but are not limited to:
  • An application programming interfaces (APIs) which describe the services and how to use them correctly
  • Software development kit (SDK) documents which describe how to perform certain tasks or actions to develop a platform
  • Code documents and internal or product development documents relating to the development of a product, service or software

With technical documents, translation can be tricky due to the diverse range of documents and industries included, but also because of the different target audiences. Regardless of the type of document and its intended use, technical translation leaves no room for mistakes.

These documents need to be translated by native speakers who are also subject matter experts. That way, you can make sure you achieve the most accurate translation possible for quality results.

A translation agency you can trust

At Intertranslations, we have been helping businesses translate their technical documents since 1996. Our experience and commitment to quality have allowed us to become one of the top agencies in the market, working in over 150 language pairs.

ISO certified for accuracy, we only work with native speakers who have mastered the nuances of your target language, and who are experts in your industry. Through their expertise, we can guarantee the accuracy and quality of your translations.

We also offer a range of translation solutions tailored to your specific needs, offering expert translation and localisation services for a range of industries. Whatever your needs, we are fully cyber essentials and GDPR compliant, so you can rest assured your project is in safe hands.

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