Technical Translations



Technical translation is a specialist area of translation that involves translating technical documents from one language into another. Technical documents include a wide range of different texts, such as user manuals, computer-aided design (CAD), software strings and patents.

Specialist knowledge for different documents

The level of knowledge required to translate a technical document will depend on the type of document. For some documents like articles, a general level of knowledge will suffice. However, other documents, such as product sheets for computer hardware, might need a level of knowledge equivalent to a professional within that sector.

When it comes to translating these specialist documents, your best bet is to work with a professional technical translator. They will not only have a strong command of both languages and your specific industry, but also any technical jargon involved.

But specialist knowledge goes far beyond terminology alone. It is important for technical translators to also be aware of the environment in which the source text was produced. As such, they must have an understanding of the industry as a whole in order to ensure a high-quality translation.

Translation technologies for better results

When it comes to technical translation, technological resources are key to producing high-quality, consistent results. Some of the main tools that technical translators rely on include glossaries, terminology databases, and translation memories.

These resources are all part of computer-aided translation (CAT) tools. By highlighting previously translated words or sentences, they save the translator time while also ensuring consistency across all documents. This facilitates the entire translation process, for faster results with a higher quality.

Machine translation for improved productivity

Another method is to use automatic translators. Back in its early days, machine translation (MT) had a reputation for producing poor translations filled with errors. However, like all technologies, MT has since evolved and we now have neural machine translation (NMT). Designed to learn much like the human brain does, with the right training, these engines can produce impressive results.

For even better results, MT can be used together with post-editing services. This combines the speed of MT with the linguistic sensitivity of a human. During post-editing, a professional linguist verifies and improves the words and phrases used in the machine-produced translation. This ensures that the target text is accurate and free of any errors.

Regardless of whether a translator uses CAT tools or MT, the results must be highly accurate and easy to understand. The success of your project relies heavily on the quality of your translation, making these tools invaluable to the technical translator.

Localising imagery for professional results

Technical translation requires a mastery of both the languages and specialist areas involved, but the variety of documents and formats makes this even more challenging. These documents can get very complex, also featuring drawings which might need localising to suit the target audience’s expectations. By localising the drawings, the translator can achieve clear and effective communication.

A translation agency specialising in technical translations

Technical translation is a vast and complex discipline. This means that in order to get the best results possible, you should always turn to professionals specialising in your industry. Using a variety of different tools and techniques, they will be able to provide you with accurate and consistent results that protect your company’s reputation.

At Intertranslations, we offer a comprehensive range of technical translation and localisation services specialising in different sectors. Using professional CAT tools in all our translation processes, we produce bespoke glossaries and translation memories for each of our clients. This allows us to speed up the translation process while ensuring consistency, also highlighting any repetitions for a fairer pricing system.

If you would like to learn more about our technical translation services, get in touch with one of our translation specialists today.

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.

Technical translation is the translation of any technical document from one language into another, with a specific target audience in mind.

Technical documents cover a wide variety of text types, including user manuals, technical guides and patents. As such, technical translation is essential for many industries. From engineering, IT and electronics, to medical, manufacturing and industrial, nearly every industry will find itself in need of a technical translator at some point.

Like all types of translation, it requires in-depth knowledge of both the source and target languages. However, technical translation is a highly complex discipline. Each field has its own specific terminology, which a translator will need to master before they can start translating those technical documents. But what else goes into producing a high-quality technical translation?

  1. Quality source documents, quality translations

First and foremost, in order to get off to a good start, you need to make sure that the source document is accurate and free of translation errors. A poor-quality source document will only generate a poor-quality translation, which will complicate the translator’s task and cause confusion. If those errors prevent the translator from understanding the source text, the translation may be completely wrong.

As such, the technical content needs to be of high quality right from the start. This will give your translator the best chances of being able to clearly understand the text, and therefore deliver an accurate translation.

  1. Use native speakers with expertise

Your translation project needs to be carried out by professional translators who are native speakers of the target language. They will be able to understand any subtle linguistic nuances, and know the correct phrasing and terminology to be used in your target document.

They will also know exactly where to simplify the language used while maintaining the overall tone of the document. By using simple words and keeping the use jargon to a minimum, the translation will be clearer and easier to read.

Wherever jargon cannot be avoided, then subject matter experts will be able to choose the correct technical terminology for a professional translation. They will also be able to create a technical glossary containing all the right terms, which can in turn speed up the translation process and ensure consistency across all documents.

Working with native speakers who are subject matter experts will deliver a translation that is coherent and fluent while using all the right terminology.

  1. Localise your documents to suit your audience

As well as text, many technical documents also contain diagrams, graphs, schematics, and images. If these appear in your document, the caption is not the only thing you need to translate. You will also need to ensure that the illustration is technically and culturally relevant, which might involve adapting the image to suit your target audience.

Depending on the source and target languages, the quantity of words in the translated document might also differ. This can impact the way the text sits in the original document, and might mean that the layout needs adapting to fit the translation. By using multilingual desktop publishing services, you will receive professionally designed documents ready to present to your audience.

Why should you choose a professional translation agency?

When working with non-professionals, you run the risk of having errors in your translation. These errors can have serious consequences, costing more time and money in the long run. This is why we always advise hiring professional language service providers, such as a specialist translation agency. That way, you can guarantee that you will receive a high-quality translation produced by an expert in your field.

Faster results, higher quality

Using professional services will give you faster results of a higher quality. Since professional translators handle technical documents on a regular basis, they have the knowledge and know-how needed to translate at a faster pace. Some professionals also use translation tools, such as machine translation or computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.

CAT tools offer a range of handy features that help the translator speed up the translation process while also ensuring accuracy and consistency. By creating translation memories and glossaries, these tools highlight any previously translated content. This not only help your translator deliver faster, consistent results across current and future translation projects, but can also help save you money.

If you decide to hire a professional, then make sure that your document is delivered in the right format. Translation can be a very long process, and so sending editable documents right at the start will save both you and the translator time. Then, while they get to work producing quality results at a faster pace, you can dedicate more time to other aspects of your business.

Intertranslations are ready to help

At Intertranslations, we offer a wide range of professional translation services in different sectors, including technical translation services. Our specialist translators use all the current translation technologies, delivering fast and accurate translations every time.

If you want to learn more about our technical translation services, contact one of our technical translation specialists today.

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