BlogGeneral Articles5 Technical Translation Traps and How to Avoid Them

5 Technical Translation Traps and How to Avoid Them

5 Technical Translation Traps and How to Avoid Them

Technical translation is what we do best - so here are our top five Translation Traps and how to avoid them to help you get the best translation possible from your supplier.

Trap 1 - Thinking your normal translator can handle it

He (or she) may be a specialist in marketing translations, legal translations or business documentation, but does he really understand how a technical manual should be translated, and all the technical concepts and terminology required? A short instruction note may be simple to translate to start with, but a highly technical engineer’s manual is a different kind of assignment.  

Our technical translation team are specialists in various areas, from automation and robotics, to chemicals or agricultural equipment. They will be familiar with specialist terminology and have an appropriate background to deliver the best translation possible.

Trap 2 - Getting units of measurement wrong

Incorrect conversion of imperial to metric units has been known to cause serious consequences – for some clients we hold approved conversion tables, showing how many decimal places they need their conversions to be made to and we also coordinate all conversions across a range of languages.

Trap 3 - Focussing on one document

Thinking in terms of one document, not documentation as a whole can sometimes lead to problems. Translating just the manual rather than considering any software for example can lead to customer confusion when information screens don’t match the user guide.

A good project manager will be able to offer advice on how to handle translation of any screenshots, translating the software so it runs in a different language, and any associated technical drawings. A range of formats from CAD drawings and InDesign manuals, to mobile Apps and website pages might need to be handled.

Trap 4 - Handling queries

Any queries need to be understood by your project management team and need to be answered by qualified contacts. Here at MTT our team hold engineering qualifications or have technical training so we understand what’s involved.

Trap 5 - Not knowing your audience

The style of translation needs to be appropriate to the reader, whether that’s a skilled technician, chemist or engineer, a purchasing manager looking to buy a product on a website or a home user reading about your company in a magazine. It’s important to get the tone and vocabulary right so your message is clear. Make sure your document is in the right style and has the right level of technical terminology to suit your intended audience.

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