Translation of technical manuals: 4 tips from professional translators

Published on 21/04/2020

Translating technical manuals requires specific skills, two of which stand out. On the one hand, it is necessary to have a good knowledge of the intrinsic characteristics of a technical text and, on the other hand, to know the sector of activity in question.

For example, when translating the manual for a medical device or medicalequipment, the translator must be familiar with the format and layout of these texts as well as the medical terminology. More generally, there are resources and strategies that facilitate the translation of a technical text by optimizing its quality, regardless of the subject matter.

1. Development of a glossary for consistent translation

Ensuring consistency, particularly in terms of terminology, is one of the difficulties of technical texts. A glossary compiling all the technical terms used in the text in question will enable the translator to translate the terms according to the same criteria.

In addition, in the event that there are several technical manuals to be translated, the glossary can be easily reused and even updated and completed. This will save time for the translator and add quality assurance to the translations.

2. Creating a translation memory

Creating a translation memory

The translation memory complements the glossary. It consists of recording the text segments that appear regularly in technical manuals along with their translation into the target language. In this way, the translator can once again guarantee perfect consistency in the translation of technical texts.

Having a translation memory is essential if we have to translate a large number of technical documents, especially when it comes to texts for a similar product range. Repetitions and partially matching segments will be automatically detected and directly translated correctly.

3. Use of Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools

Use of Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools

Assisted translation tools, not to be confused with machinetranslation, offer valuable help when translating, especially when it comes to technical translations.

They allow us, among other things, to create glossaries and translation memories. By using CAT software, the translator will be able to save considerable time in his work, optimise the quality of his translations and ensure the consistency and accuracy of the terms translated.

Both the translator and the client enrich the program's database with the specific terminology of the technical text in question. Far from replacing the skills and experience of a professional translator, CAT programs are important allies when it comes to technical translation.

4. Using a translation agency

Using a translation agency

For the translation of manuals, documents or, in general, technical texts, it is advisable to turn to a translation agency such as AbroadLink Translations, as these texts require specific experience and skills. In fact, using a translation company has a number of advantages:

  • Rigorous monitoring throughout the project;
  • The selection of experienced and specialized professional translators;
  • The management of large translation projects in any of the existing formats (Word, InDesign, QuarkXpress, etc.)
  • The possibility of carrying out the layout or integrating it into the translation process;
  • The creation and management of a glossary and a translation memory
  • Real-time update of the project's progress, relevant modifications made, etc.

For more information, please consult our service offer for the translation of technical manuals.

The translation of manuals, documents or technical texts is a rigorous and demanding discipline. In addition to specific technical skills, it requires impeccable consistency. Specialized translators who translate technical documents must be specialized in their field in order for their translations to be reliable and of high quality. 

A translation company has the advantage of being able to select the best translators specialised in the translation of technical texts, according to their skills and experience

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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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