The importance of technical translations

Technical Translations: How to find the Perfect Translation Partner

The role technical translation has played in the success of global businesses should not be underestimated. The product or service itself will typically undergo very slight tweaks, or even no changes at all, as it is released in foreign markets. It is the translation of your brand message and identity, as well as the accompanying technical documents, which makes the product relevant to the new regions.

Whatever industry you work in, there will always be specialised language that details how particular products work, the service agreements that are in place, and safety and compliance information. For obvious reasons, these documents need to be produced in the native language and communicated as concisely as possible. While this technical information might not be the sexiest side of your business, it is vital to your operation.

What is technical translation?

Technical translation is a specialised form of translation involving documents typically produced by technical writers, such as owner’s manuals and user guides. The documents convey complex information and require a high level of subject knowledge and mastery of the relevant terminology to be translated correctly.

Why is technical translation important?

A high level of technical translation significantly reduces the likelihood of a misunderstanding and the subsequent risk involved. The accuracy of a translation is paramount to the health and safety of the reader, whether it’s a customer, a client or a member of your workforce. Online translation tools are not capable of producing the level of accuracy you need. Only human translators can convey such specialised information without the risk of an error or mistranslation.

What should you look for in a technical translator?

1. Industry experience

Given the importance of accuracy and a comprehensive understanding of the terminology, it probably goes without saying that you need a technical translator with industry experience. If the provider is an established translation agency with a few strong testimonials from companies in your industry, they should be a pretty good choice.

2. Accreditation

It’s a good idea to pay attention to any accreditations the translation team may have. ISO9001 is a standard that applies to all businesses and shows there are sufficient quality control mechanisms in place. You also look out for translation-specific quality standards such as EN15038 or ISO17100.

3. Affordability

Translation is one industry where you’d be wise to not necessarily go with the cheapest provider. Price and quality are closely linked, so you must always be mindful that a significantly lower price is likely to mean a lower quality service. Finding a translation agency that delivers quality work without breaking the bank might require a little research, but it will be time well spent.

4. A sample translation

The only way to really gauge the quality of a translation agency is to ask to see a sample of their work. An agency that has no problem delivering on the promises they make will be happy to provide a small sample for you to review. This also gives you the chance to see whether they have the necessary knowledge of your industry, products and practices.

So there you have it, four simple tips to help you find your perfect technical translation partner. The truth is that there’s no shortcut to finding a technical translator, but you will be rewarded for taking the time you need.

How can we help?

At Linguistica International, we are committed to delivering the highest standard of technical translations, as is evidenced by our ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. We are also fully compliant with the translation-specific EN15038.

To discuss your technical translation project, please call 02392 987 765 or email: today.

What is legal translation?

What is Legal Translation and How can you Find a Trusted Translator?

If we take a look at the definition of legal translation then you are likely to find something like this from our good friends over at Wikipedia:

“Legal translation is the translation of texts within the field of law. As law is a culture-dependent subject field, the work of legal translation and its products are not necessarily linguistically transparent.”

While we award full marks for effort, this definition does not necessarily capture the full scope of this field. Despite its name, legal translation does not only apply to the legal sector, but just about every business in operation today.

So, as well as the legal work you might expect, such as translating witness statements, legal rulings, filed patents, official reports and financial documents, there are also plenty of projects involving the translation of employee contracts and supplier agreements for firms that are branching out into new markets.

The importance of legal translations

There are very few fields of translation where the cost of making a mistake can be so high. In the case of a witness statement, a mistranslation could jeopardise the ruling of a court, while improperly translated patent or financial documents could have serious implications for the future of a commercial enterprise.

There’s one infamous legal mistranslation that illustrates this point perfectly…

In WWII, the United States issued the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded the surrender of Japan. In his statement responding to this declaration, the Japanese Prime Minister used the word ‘mokusatsu’, which translates into English as ‘ignore’. In Japanese culture its meaning is more nuanced, and more along then lines of letting a topic lie, or indifference.

However, in a press conference relating to the declaration, the word ‘mokusatsu’ was translated as ‘reject’. This apparent defiance subsequently played a part in America’s decision to order the atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan.

The problems associated with legal translations

When dealing with different cultures, it is often the case that there isn’t a single, definitive translation from one language to another. This is particularly the case with legal terms, where cultural and linguistic sensitivities need to play a part.

For this reason, moving from literal to legal translations requires an extremely high level of skill and experience, as well as an intricate understanding of the technical terms. Simply put, when there is no room for error, you need to work with a team you can trust. You cannot make do with ‘nearly-correct’ terms.

Finding a legal translator

It is essential legal translators have demonstrable legal and linguistic understanding of the languages used in both the source text (the original document) and the target language (the finished article). The legal sector itself, and the legal documents that are integrated into every industry, have a terminology or dictionary of words all of their own. Only a qualified legal translator with specific sector experience can ensure that no ambiguity, which could prove so costly, remains.

We understand that budgets are tight, but when you’re looking for a legal translator, you need to think seriously about the quality of their work. There is always a balance to strike between quality, time and cost, but at Linguistica International, we work hard to get this balance just right.

To discuss your project or for a legal translation quote, please call 02392 987 765 or email: today.