Even if you are a native speaker, technical terminology can be tricky to understand. To someone from another country, documents with dense technical terminology can be completely incomprehensible.
Making sure that these kinds of documents are professionally translated, especially by a subject matter expert, can ensure that vital information, such as design requirements, user instructions, health and safety manuals, warning labels, and specifications can be correctly followed and understood. Engineering, manufacturing and other technical-based companies are making increasing use of professional technical translation services for their technical documentation needs as pressures from regulators and prospective clients increase.
In particular, there are regulations for the translation of safety data sheets (SDS) in the European Union, where your SDS must meet the European Chemical Agency language requirements. If translation is not properly performed, heavy penalties apply. Technical manuals accompanying pieces of machinery which are exported also need technical translation into the language of the recipient.
In addition to meeting the legal requirements and ensuring health and safety needs are met, technical translations also help you gain new clients by ensuring that new markets have proper documentation in their own language for your products and services. Prospective clients are much more likely to purchase from you if they can see that their needs have been taking into account.
MTT have over 35 years’ experience in technical translations, helping to ensure that our clients’ documentation is accurate, clear and reads fluently to native speakers of the target language. Many of our translators are ex engineers or hold qualifications in engineering disciplines. This makes them a ‘subject matter expert’ translator, who will really understand the terminology and purpose of your technical documentation.
Technical documents contain highly important information regarding procedures, safety, specifications and technical practices. In many cases, these documents detail the proper operation of specialised equipment, and an incorrect or poorly phrased translation could lead to an industrial accident as a result of equipment misuse or improper operation. There may even be far reaching financial, environmental or legal consequences.
Why can't a non-specialist translator just use a technical dictionary?
While specialist translators may use a technical dictionary for reference, a translator who solely uses a dictionary to learn the terminology during the translation process cannot be called a subject expert. There is no substitute for years of education and experience when it comes to understanding high-level specialized processes and the documentation that accompanies them. Technical reference materials often give several options for the translation of a single term – it’s the years of experience which help us choose the right one for your document.
A translator needs to fully understand the text to be able to produce an accurate translation. Context, industry specialist terms and usage all play a part in the meaning that technical terminology conveys.
What are the benefits of having a professional, subject-specific translator?
A professional translator with qualifications or experience in the specialist subject concerned will have a proper understanding of your content, terminology and context. This should ensure a better quality translation, with less pointless queries, misunderstandings and wasted time. The end result should be of a much higher standard, in some instances with translators even able to spot errors in the original source text!
Even simple documents like letters to suppliers can benefit from having a subject expert translator involved – they will be able to produce a technical document translation which matches the expectations of the reader and uses language and terminology which they will be familiar with. Your company’s image can be boosted or negatively affected by the quality of your translations, whether they are marketing materials or technical documentation, so choosing to work with the right supplier can be an important decision.
So, if you are looking to reach a highly educated audience, with specialised information concerning important processes or delicate equipment for example, a professional, technical translation specialist is going to be needed to ensure your translations fit the bill.
At MTT we’re proud of our long history of providing specialist technical translations for a wide variety of industries – you can find out more about technical translation, technical manual translation, what our customers think and more on this website.