What Is Technical Translation?

Technical translation is the translation of materials related to technical and scientific subjects while using the dedicated terminology of the particular technical field. Simply put, it is a type of translation that requires the service of a technical translator with an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, including the specific terms of the field of both the source and target language.

The kind of material that requires this type of translation varies, for example, articles from medical, scientific, technical, and engineering journals. Translating these materials requires a professional translator with high-level knowledge of a particular field.

One thing client looking for a technical translation agency should understand is that it will take longer to complete and also cost more than general translation.

The extra time and cost vary and depends on the level of technical knowledge or scientific know-how needed for the translation. Furthermore, it also depends on the number of available translators for a particular language, and how high the translator is in demand.

For instance, Linguidoor recently had several projects that require translating medical articles from Portuguese to English. The high demand for translators in this particular language pair and the limited number of an expert translator makes it a costly proposition.

Sub-Specialty Areas

It’s worth mentioning a couple of sub-specialties of technical translations.

Technical translation: Patents

Some translators focus on anything related to patent translation. Patent translation does require not only being a subject matter expert but also understand the art of patent writing, which involves practical and legal requirements. These documents require specific arts and a professional level of technical and scientific knowledge.

Technical translation: User Manuals

This category, including online help is what most people usually call technical translations.

That is probably because most so-called technical writers mostly specialize in these materials. Translation of user manuals require a unique approach and knowledge from the translator — as user manuals is different from other technical translation types in some ways. According to a July 2013 article published by the American Translators Association (ATA) chronicle, The tone of technical manuals should be objective with no trace of the author’s subjectivity. The technical text aims to convey information in an objective way while helping the reader do a predefined task.

While technical and scientific material aim for a total objective tone, the case is not the same with journal articles.

Technical Translation: Software Strings

So far, we’ve talked about highly technical services. There’s another subcategory that deals with the localization and translation of software strings for an excellent user interface.

Although the user interface is in a simple language, the translator must understand how to handle how the program interpreted the strings. It’s also essential to understand the expectations and terminologies of software strings in different languages. Localizing apps, software, and e-learning programs require a considerable level of technical knowledge.

Other types of technical documents we translate

Apart from the above translation type, at Linguidoor, we specialize in other technical document translations such as:

  • Engineering specifications
  • Operating Manuals
  • Bill of Materials
  • CAD Drawings
  • Presentations
  • Catalogues
  • RFP Responses
  • E-Learning
  • Safety Manuals
  • Installation Manuals
  • Software and Hardware
  • UI Labels
  • Training Materials
  • Marketing Materials
  • Technical Proposals
  • MSDS and Data Sheets
  • User Guides
  • Multimedia audio and visual
  • Websites

Do you need a technical translator? Contact us now.

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Rishi Anand

Rishi is a Language enthusiast and Founder and CEO of Linguidoor Translation and Localization Services based in Berlin, Germany. He is passionate about the Localization Industry, and he has a keen interest in sharing Insights, News, and development to create awareness, educate, and inspire.


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