Technical Translation

Technical translation is one of the most difficult types of translation aimed at rendering source language scientific and technical text by target language means, thus it is necessary to consider age, experience and background knowledge of target audience on which the text of technical translation is oriented. In order to obtain high-quality technical translation it is also necessary to consider the purpose with which this text will be used  furtherbecause it will effect on the translation method applied, structure and style of the ready scientific and technical text, as well as terminology.

Usually people use scientific and technical texts only when they need to solve any task or issue: to learn any equipment, deal with novelties of software or launch new manufacturing capacities. This is precisely why any technical translator sets the task to adapt modern technologies according to the needs of target users. Depending on purpose the distinction is made between the following types of technical texts for translation:

  • procedural documents, i.e. documents which describe any technical process, for instance, instructions on assembly and disassembly of equipment, the instruction on manufacturing processed, etc.
  • descriptive and explanatory documents, such as the description of products and services, explanation of scientific and technical processes and concepts, reports on activity of the entity or condition of equipment at the enterprise, etc.
  • convincing and assessment documentation, such as research projects or engineering documentation, assessment of products or services, and also reports which recommend application of these or those actions or practices
  • research documentation, for instance, new reports, the main objective of which is to present results of new researches, developments, etc.

How to define the high-quality technical translation? For this purpose there is a set of estimated factors, but the main criterion is readability and ease of perception by the target user. It is the target user who is the key when translating scientific and technical texts, therefore, any technical translator must concentrate first of all on the target user of the text since it will be the target user who will estimate whether translation is of high-quality or not. It is also necessary to clearly understand what the target audience wants from the text and for what puprose this text will be used (obtaining information, advertizing materials, etc.).

Technical specialists, advertizing managers, heads of enterprises, customers, commodity experts, as well as target users, who if to speak about all abovementioned groups, are the only non-professional technical specialists, can be target audience for technical translations. Experts of the translation agency Glebov developed a range of recommendations concerning distinctive features the translation will have depending on the target audience.

Manager: information should be submitted in the form "problem-solution" from the general to more specific, from the most important to the least important.

Expert: in translations for such audience it is necessary to use special dictionary and the standard terminology, or highly specialized terminology.

User: documentation for users should describe technical procedures with simple, clear and plain language.

Scientific and technical knowledge has always been of paramount importance in development of this or that country in particular and all humanity in a whole. Technical translation and translation of scientific and technical literature played a key role and this role day by day is becoming more important especially in an era we call "computer age". Thus technical translation has been always considered as something extremely difficult and simply as process of information rendering and the "heavier" information load is in translation, the more important is the translation and the more the translator is being paid. But simple presentation of information in technical translation is not sufficient, it is necessary to construct sentences correctly and to structure data thus to receive the coherent and legible technical text in which extralinguistic strategies and techniques are dominant.

The translation of technical documentation is not just ensuring the actual accuracy of the content, but also the multilevel process at which the translator should consider a variety of factors and contextual indicators. Technical translation, as any another one, is influenced by the cultural language environment. Very often it is disregarded, but it is manifested in terminology and the content of technical documentation. This is precisely why it is possible to claim firmly that the technical translator not simply deals with terminology, rather should always remember that the culturological aspect is manifested even in popular scientific texts and it must be considered in order to avoid emergence of conflict situations.

Terminology in technical translation is a particular issue. If terminology is not standardized, it is necessary to check each term carefully and attentively since cultural factors can lead to that the same concept in different cultures is treated differently. In each language terminology is based on exact definitions where each term has its place in difficult hierarchical structure. A rule of thumb states that terminology can vary not only from one branch to another, but even from one region to the other within one field of activity though one would think that terminology should be standardized both within language, and within scientific or technical sphere.

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