What Is Technical Translation & Why is it Important?

What Is Technical Translation & Why is it Important?

Technical translation involves scientific or technical documents that use specialized terminology. Technical translators must be proficient and have an understanding of the relevant industry jargon in both the source and target languages. The need for technical translation may vary–from medical journals, scientific papers, and engineering plans to product sheets, user manuals, and patents.

Why is Technical Translation Important

Technical translators, like technical writers, provide highly specialized services for businesses and organizations. Not every translator is qualified to translate a technical document with specific professional terminology. The subject, type of content, and the number of translators required for each project will determine the cost and duration of the translations. Accurate technical translation takes time, proficiency, and knowledge of the industry. Consequently, technical translation also costs more and takes more time than general translation. 

Can You Use AI for Technical Translation?

Translation falls into the following categories:

  • Human translation (HT) is the most accurate and reliable way to translate documents. HT may be the more expensive option due to the work hours involved, but it is also the most effective. A real, live person will understand the context of the material much better than any piece of software. A human translator will also have an understanding of the culture where a certain language is spoken, allowing them to choose the best terms and expressions to better communicate ideas presented.
  • Machine translation (MT) uses new translation software technology and can save a considerable amount of time and money when one needs to translate technical documents or instruction manuals. However, some drawbacks exist to relying on AI–no matter how advanced, automated translation can never provide the kind of well-rounded understanding that a human translator offers. Using MT comes at the risk of causing misunderstandings. Certain words and phrases may have multiple meanings in another language, and a machine will not be able to determine the intent behind a certain use of language. Context can be lost when MT uses awkward grammar or language that is too literal. The results of overly relying on MT to convey high-stakes information can be comical at best and devastating at worst.
  • Post-edited machine translation (PEMT) strives to combine the best of both worlds–the speed and efficiency of AI and the superior quality of a human translator. In this work process, content is machine-translated, then undergoes a reviewing and editing process to ensure the quality of the translated text. While it is more expensive than machine translation, PEMT is less costly than HT. The post editor may not even be fully bilingual, as expert knowledge of industry terms and high proficiency in the target languages are considered sufficient. User-help manual projects contain simple language and straightforward information; they are usually a candidate for this process of machine translation combined with post-editing. Global manufacturers who need to provide translated versions of the same manual sometimes use translation technology to speed up the process and reduce costs.

For technical translation, a reliable company will always use human-reliant professional translation services. While AI can help speed the process, relying solely on machine translation comes with many risks. LUNA uses the best communication technologies available and is powered by thousands of real live people across the globe whose nuanced, industry-specific language expertise ensures accurate translation.

Patent Translation

Patents–usually in the medical, pharmaceutical, mechanical, or technological fields–are another area where technical translation services are essential. With intricate industry and legal requirements, new patent translations demand precise knowledge of scientific and technical terms, as well as expertise in the subject matter. The translator must use clear terms and have a well-rounded understanding of the context. When translating patents, it’s essential to use reliable technical translation services of a reputable company to guarantee accuracy.

Health and Safety Documents

The technical translation of health and safety documents requires the use of specialized medical terminology. Inaccurate translations or omitted information may result in potential harm, rather than help, to the user. A translator working on technical translations of health and safety documents must ensure that the content is translated in an exact, unequivocal, and easy-to-understand way, not forgetting about the cultural context of the target audience.

Software Strings

Localization and translation of software strings are an essential part of website interfaces. The language of the interface may be simple, but the translator should have a thorough knowledge of the program terminology and requirements, as well as how it interprets the strings. Often, these types of translations include particular phrases repeated several times.

LUNA’s Technical Translation Services

Do you need accurate technical translation? With LUNA’s high quality, specialized technical translations, you can always be sure of professional services in over 200 languages, at a reasonable cost. Our global team of technical translators is always ready to help with whatever translation services you may need for your organization or business. Call us at 1.317.341.4137 or contact us through our Contact Us page to learn more about technical translation services and request a free quote for translating your project.


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