Technical translation and terminology
A technical translation is always required if you intend to market a technical product in another country. In this case the technical documentation must be translated into the language of the relevant country. Technical documentation includes user manuals, product data sheets, maintenance manuals, product descriptions, operating instructions and much more besides.
If your technical documents are to be considered user-friendly, they must satisfy certain criteria. Professional technical translators can assist you in adhering to these criteria in the foreign language also. Application-oriented technical documents and translations:
- have a clear and meaningful structure
- are written in simple language
- are geared to the target audience
- make consistent use of specialist terms
Advantages for you and your customers
If the technical translation satisfies the aforementioned criteria and you reach your target audience, both you and your customers benefit:
- Equipment and products are commissioned more quickly.
- Servicing and repairs are carried out successfully by the customer.
- The training outlay is minimized.
The increased satisfaction experienced by your customers can manifest itself in turn in higher sales figures and an enhanced image for your company.
Consistency in technical translation
Consistent terminology is particularly important in technical translation: if operating elements are clearly described, then users will have no difficulty in understanding the instructions. It is confusing for the user if the operating element for switching on an appliance is referred to in a software manual as the main switch on one occasion and the I/O switch on another, for instance. It gives the impression that two separate elements are being discussed.
This style should not be replicated in the translation. Quite the opposite! A professional technical translator will draw your attention to this inconsistency and after consulting you will standardize the terminology in the translation – no machine translation facility can do this!
Professional translators who use terminology management tools ensure that the terms appearing in the translation are used unambiguously. Terminology tools are a valuable aid especially if a translator produces translations for a company on an occasional basis. Deploying such applications is also useful if a translator works for various companies that wish to use different specialist terms. By using consistent terminology management, professional translators ensure that they still use the correct terms for a particular customer even after a relatively long interval between assignments.
The technical translator as terminologist
Entrusting the translation of your technical documents to a professional translator who uses a suitable terminology management program yields benefits for you. In this case the translator is also a terminology manager, who records and maintains the terminology base during the translation task and makes this available to you at regular intervals on request.
Professional translators working in the technical field normally use a terminology management system. They are translators and terminologists at the same time and can help you to compile your company’s terminology. The Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer (BDÜ, German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators) maintains details of many professional translators offering various language combinations and subject areas.
If you require translation services in the following fields, please feel free to contact me: