We talk a lot about translating web pages, audio-visual translation, financial translation…but not much about technical translation. It seems that technical translation encompasses everything and that technical translators are “omnipotent” beings, capable of reading entire instruction booklets, deciphering complex engineering manuals, and most important of all, translating them into another languages.
Technical translators read everything
If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they´re lying. A good technical translator is well informed about everything. Documentation is key, especially in this specialism. A technical text must be better than perfect. From receiving the document in another language until the job is completed, technical translators go through a whole investigation process.
There´s no trick to a perfect technical translation, just good documentation. Because of this, technical translations usually turn to sources similar to the target language in order to clarify any potential doubts and to look at formatting. The result? A perfect technical translation.
Specialisation is the thorn in the side of technical translators. Even in the most technical spheres, it merges with other types of translation, like legal translation. Can you imagine translating a patent without knowing about the legislation that you´re talking about? This is why many technical translators have often started studying other, more technical degrees like engineering, medicine, law…
In search of quality
Technical translation is one of the most complex branches of translation. There is a lot of demand and very little supply. This is precisely why only the best devote themselves to this peculiar branch of translation. They do it because every technical translator has a story…but we´ll save that for another day.