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What is a Scientific and Technical Translation?

Written by Bernadine Racoma

November 12, 2019

Translation services encompass many sectors in different industries, and some require special skills to render scientific and technical translation. When this is required, the translation company assigns the task to a subject matter expert.

Technical translation involves the translation of unique texts, such as content regarding procedures and products from science and technology. This may include manuals, pharmaceutical inserts, medical device instructions or assembly diagrams of different products that are for distribution to international markets.

Technical translations

Documents created by technical writers that need translation to require specialists who are well versed in technological subject matters. The service deals with the conversion of scientific and technical materials that require the use of specific technical or scientific terminology. The translator must have knowledge and experience in the field and understands technical and scientific terminologies in the language pair.

Technical translation costs more than general translation. It might take longer to accomplish, as well. The cost and time it takes to finish the document will vary according to the level of technical or scientific knowledge the material requires and the availability of the specialist translator in the target language.

Technical translation services

Services for technical translation covers different documents and translators and translation agencies sometimes focus only on one subject, for example, patent translation.

Patent translation needs a translator who is a subject matter expert. He or she should also be sufficiently knowledgeable in patent writing. Practical and legal requirements cover the patent translation. Likewise, translating patents has specific demands as well. For example, in Iceland, the translation should either be in English, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. But patent filings in the United Arab Emirates should be both in Arabic and English. Patent translation is demanding, and the client and translator should consider the deadline for patent filings so they can give time for the rendering of the translation.

The translation of user manuals falls under technical translation as well. The main requirement here is that technical translation should be very objective. Moreover, the interpretation of manuals should use simplified language while including the special terminology required. This task draws on the technical and creative writing skills of the translator.

Thus, clients ordering technical translation services should be very specific about the requirements and the purpose of the translation. It is also vital that the translator knows the target users of the technical translation.

Technical translation also applies to the translation of software strings and the localization of elearning programs, apps, and software.

Scientific and technical translations

Scientific and technical translation, like medical, legal and literary translation services, requires specialists. Translators for this kind of material should be experts in the specific subject matter. Only they can provide an accurate translation that will make the materials comprehensible to non-technical or non-scientific users.

In order to make particular information available to a wider audience, the technical or scientific translator should balance the linguistic requirements of the texts, as well as the aesthetic sense of the information. Most technical and scientific texts are complex and include specific terms that are unique to each type of content. It’s the translator’s job to render the content into the target languages. At the same time, he or she sees to it that it is in non-technical languages that are easy to understand.

Scientific translation, which is a sub-branch of technical translation, focuses more on the translation of scientific texts, such as scientific journals, scientific research papers and clinical trials. The branches of science that often require scientific translation are:

  • Medicine
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Zoology
  • Neuroscience

Scientific translation requires precision, as the documents often contain terminology specific to the subject matter.

Technical document translation

When you need technical document translation, it is vital to ensure that you are working with a subject matter expert.

Technical document translation requires expertise and specialization, along with fluency in the source and target languages. It is a niche market and one of the most difficult jobs among translation requirements. You have to see to it that the translator who will handle your project has the relevant qualifications, extensive knowledge in the specific terminology of the given subject, experience in doing technical translation and consistently high quality of rendered work.

Technical translators must see to it that the tone of the translation reflects the status of the company. The tone of the information should be consistent, following the tone of the original document.

When doing technical document translation, the translator may also do some localization, to ensure that that images and other visual elements related to the information are culturally acceptable. The technical translator must work closely with the client to ensure that the translation follows the original intent of the document. Likewise, he or she must consider the sensitivities and level of understanding of the intended users of the translation.

Get in touch with eTranslation Services if you need technical and scientific translations. Our subject matter experts will gladly discuss your requirements and deadline, and even give you suggestions. Give us a call at (800) 882-6058 or send us an email at [email protected].

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