Getting your technical message delivered in a foreign language accurately and promptly is a critical step for businesses of all kinds and sizes.
One of the challenges of technical translation services is that the amount of scientific information doubles every 9 years!
Even Leonardo da Vinci would not be able to keep track, what to say about us, mere mortals?
Reliable technical translation even of very complex documentation is, however, possible.
There are several components that go into a reliable quality technical translation:
1) Professional expertise in translation. Usually it means that the translator is professionally trained and has a Master’s degree in Translation and /or Interpretation.
While there are many translators who work on the market, not all have received the kind of dedicated training that is required for best technical translation services, and results may be mixed if hiring standards are not maintained.
2) Specialization. Because technology and science develop very quickly, translators have to specialize one way or another.
However, specialization has its limits, if you are looking for a professional technical translator in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley who only does texts on printed circuit board design, good luck!
Best commercial translators and interpreters cannot afford to specialize too much, unless they have a very steady steams of customers ordering the same thing, for example, technical patent translations.
3) And more on hiring standards. It is the question that is discussed ad nauseum: is a professional translator who knows science and technology better or an engineer who does translations?
The answer may be not that straightforward. Best technical translation services require not just technical knowledge, but particular attention to language and nuances, especially considering that often the terminology in technical translation is brand new and does not exist in the target language.
Therefore, using a person who had dedicated training in languages is a certain advantage. Translators, including technical translators, are trained for countless hours to analyze texts on many levels and they pay attention not just to technical information, but many other stylistic and cultural markers.
Where engineers become handy, though, in when the second stage of a technical translation service happens: the editing stage. A translated text has to be verified for consistency, accuracy, correct technical terminology and language.
Experience in engineering and technical and technical writing is certainly an advantage!