Friday, January 21, 2011

How to Achieve Error-Free Technical Translations

A professional translation team understands that a combination of efficiency, accuracy, and knowledge will result in an excellent translation of a highly technical document or manual. Producing technical translations can also be an arduous and expensive task. Mistakes may be likely and costs may end up higher than projected. But this article will discuss how to accomplish accurate and consistent technical translations while keeping costs down when taking on the next big technical translation project.

The use of translation memory or glossary and translators with a finely tuned knowledge of their respective fields and industry-specific terminology are the two main ingredients that will result in good technical translations. Second-person editing and the use of graphic design experts with language background are two additional actions that can ensure a more accurate translation.

Upon request, a technical translation project begins by creating a glossary of industry-specific terms. A glossary is simply a list of commonly translated terms that are specific to the client’s industry and may serve as a tool to keep the document and any future documents consistent with each other. It is a time and cost saving tool for translators and clients as terms do not have to be continually researched time after time. Similar to a glossary and often used as an alternative, translation memory software can also store common translated terms for future use and consistency purposes. The use of translation memory software is especially helpful in technical translations because it provides horizontal and vertical consistency, shortens the turnaround time, and reduces costs on large projects.

Choosing a translation agency with in-house graphic designers or a typesetting team with language knowledge is also very beneficial for the turnaround time of the project, as well as adjustments. It is highly recommended for clients to take advantage of in-house typesetting capabilities instead of outsourcing it to other vendors who do not have experience with foreign language typesetting. An in-house team will also make the changes more quickly and will result in a more cost effective solution than going with a graphic design agency.

The use of a second translator to proofread the document is strongly encouraged for technical translation projects of any size, even more so for those of larger size. A second set of eyes can assist in avoiding unnecessary or even dangerous errors. In all forms of publication, the use of an editor is standard practice. Translation work should be no different. Additionally, technical documents, like operation manuals, are used again and again. They are generally distributed on a large scale and serve as a reference for consumers for a long duration of time. Not only is the reputation of the document provider at stake, but liability can also be a major consideration. The risk is taken by the company being represented, so it is in their best interest to assure that the translated piece is as thorough and accurate as possible. Second-person editing is a simple precaution that can only enhance the finished product.

Hopefully, you found these technical translation tips helpful. Taking advantage of a highly skilled translation and typesetting team that provides glossary, translation memory, proofreading and typesetting services will make your next technical translation as accurate, cost effective and efficient as possible.
For more information about PLG’s technical translation services, please visit

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