Technical translation is one of today’s most highly demanded branches of inter-lingualcooperation. The globalization of the world market reflects this, of course, especially in industry.Components of a future product may be produced in one country, assembled in another, under the trademark of a third country for sale in the territory of yet another country on the face of the earth.Assembling a lawnmower out of the parts for a children’s play pen is hardly likely, especially one that works; however, writing accurate and functional operating instructions or guides is just as indispensible for the production of ready-to-use products as for intermediate materials. Technical translation makes up the vital link in this chain, but, as everyone knows, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This is how the quality of the translation can determine the very quality of the finished product.
You don’t have to look very far for examples. Everyone knows that the current expansive leader in worldwide industrial production, China, produces products of the most varied quality and level of technological capacity. If you have ever looked at the label on the cheapest of items produced in that vast Middle Kingdom, then, of course, you’ve had the idea “Maybe I should send this tortured text to my friends – we’ll have a good laugh together”. If you set aside the grammatical absurdity and focus only on the lexical level, even then you can’t immediately understand the substance. In the same way, the quality of a high-tech product, produced under a well-known brand, is hardly called into doubt even if there are slight inaccuracies in the translation of labels, instructions, guides or service agreements. All of thesegoals of technical translation will be just as wonderful as the functional quality of the product.
How often, and mistakenly, do people who aren’t familiar with translation think that it is enough to have a basic knowledge of the target language in order to adequately handle the interpretation of a text.The fact that a Notary is legally permitted to certify only those translations made by a degreed specialist attests to the fact that the level of school programs or language courses is not adequate to meet the needs of full technical translation.
In addition to a deep understanding of the language, technical translation assumes familiarity with the field of its application. Would you try to interpret the content of a paragraph from a text book on quantum physics? Let’s complicate the job – the life and safety of workers depends on your explanation: they are relying entirely on you. Such is the unbelievable task of the translator of technical materials – to take on the burden of responsibility for every word, and to know the entire technological process at least as well as any of the workers directly involved in it.
Not every enterprise can afford to have a full-time translator on staff, and there is no guarantee that partners will not change, and that there will not be a need for specialists in other language pairs.Besides, most companies do not need specialized translators every day.
In the field of technical translation, outsourcing seems to be the best solution to the problem. The hiring of a specialist from a translation agency saves time and resources. To achieve the maximum result, the assignment should be clearly defined with respect to time, considering that seven to eight pages of standard text per day is the norm which guarantees the best results. This is important, since it will be better if only one translator is involved with your project. When submitting the work order, don’t forget toprovide translation memory databases that you already have, or even examples of similarly-themed textsthat have already been completed for you. Discrepancies in terminology will not improve your future translation. Remember, an unprofessionally prepared translation can poison your business life.
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