The ideal professional profile of a technical translator

Published on 20/06/2022

Technical translators have experienced a significant rise in value over the last few decades. A technical translator, is a translator who specialises in producing technical translations, but what exactly does this mean?

A technical translation is the translation of texts within the framework of a specific professional sector. Most commonly found in sectors like engineering or, more generally speaking, in all sectors related with technology. However, technical translation is also present in many other fields.

Technical texts include terminology that is rather uncommon in everyday life and, in many cases, it’s highly specialised terminology of a certain sector. Professional technical translation requires a very specific profile and skills. We will tell you all you need to know. Take note!

1. What is the technical translator’s profile like?

1.1 Must be specialised

A technical translator should have in-depth knowledge of a specific field and, consequently, should master the specific terminology. Although they don’t have to have the same knowledge as an actual engineer, but they should have a basic understanding of the context. This quality is acquired through the experience gained from translating texts in this field.

1.2 Must have a dynamic and highly informed profile

The technical and technological context is characterised by its dynamism. It is a sector that is constantly developing and therefore requires continuous adaptation of language. A professional technical translator needs a dynamic profile, i.e. keeping up to date with the latest developments and innovations in a specific field. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and providing high quality technical translations requires a profile that is up to date with new developments.

1.3 Their degree of experience is particularly important

A strong practical background is a requirement for all translation profiles. Technical translators, however, have a special role. Technical texts have certain terminology and therefore require not only a solid knowledge of the source and target language. It is not even enough to have a solid knowledge of a specific field. If the translator has not dealt with technical documents before, the results are unlikely to be good. This text type is very particular and in most cases it is only possible to acquire knowledge of the specific terminology through systematic translation.

1.4 Possesses documentation and research skills

Technical texts tend to be demanding. Most often, even in the case of the most experienced technical translators, new or unknown aspects of the subject area are revealed in the course of their work. In order to provide a correct and accurate translation, the translator must go through a rigorous documentation process. Obtaining a clear overview of the content can sometimes take longer than the translation process itself. The investigation phase may be extended: The search for reliable sources and the consultation of specialised manuals or dictionaries are some of the most common resources. Good bibliography can make a difference.

1.5 Assumes a creative approach to the translation process

A good technical translator must be able to provide a target text that is a faithful representation of the original. Each specialised word or expression must correspond to the specific terminology in the target language. However, the process is not always straightforward. In many cases, there is no equivalent term and he is forced to use his creativity to construct a text that reflects the original meaning and does not harm the translation.

1.6 Create a natural translation

A good technical translation leaves no trace. The texts produced by a technical translator are organic and therefore go far beyond a mere literal translation. A professional translator is able to identify the most appropriate formulations taking into account the needs of the author and the needs of the audience that consults they content. The result is a natural and readable text that does not compromise the work of the original creator.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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