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Mastering Technical Translation: Types & Qualifications of Top Translators

What are the types of technical translation?

There are many types of technical texts one can translate from one language into another. These types typically include, but are not limited to, the following:

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User manuals are the glue that can hold the experience of users together. Technical translators are called to accurately convey the meaning from the source language into the target language. They might be even asked to localize the manuals based on the target audience. 

During the production process, team members need handbooks and manuals to be able to deliver the required outcomes. That is why technical translation plays a major part when it comes to handbook translation since it must be accurate as one can never jeopardize technical precisions.

Patent translation is one of the most important types of technical translation as it is the only way that guarantees the rights of creators. That is why it needs to be precise and accurate. Even if a patent translation has many challenges, it is always achievable if handled by professionals. 

Interactive training materials such as videos and courses are also a type of technical translation that is very useful. All audiovisual products can be translated to help individuals if they were new employees, students, or consumers. Some might also need to be localized. 

Development documents must be translated to help individuals who work on private and open-source projects. Even if this type of technical translation has many challenges, professional technical translators can always manage to accurately translate development documents. 

Sheets of material safety and data are very essential as they include information on how to safely work with chemical products for example. These sheets must always be one hundred percent accurate as one simple mistake can directly end a life or it can have disastrous consequences. 

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User research is very important and must be translated since it helps scientific researchers and researchers in other fields. User research is considered to be key to product optimization and development. Therefore, it requires accurate technical translation that includes all details. 

Maintenance manuals are very useful both in emergencies and in maintaining a production facility. They are what everyone needs to make sure that their production facility is consistent and effective. That is why it needs to be very accurate. 

Contract translation can be one of the types of technical translation that falls under the legal translation field. Both contracts and agreements must be accurately translated. Also, translation must always be precise as legal translation is very delicate. 

In general, reports allow individuals to improve their processes and keep track of their activities. Reports are very essential and they must be accurately translated. Translation of reports can be very useful for so many purposes as well. 

Documentaries that include technical content are also another type of technical translation. Documentaries are more often than not informational and they must be very accurate as the information they contain is very precise. 

Tutorials are very useful and helpful in the technical field as they can make or break the experience of users. Tutorials are a way that guides users and they include steps and presentations that users usually ask for and need to be able to use a certain machine or to complete a certain task.

Catalogs are also a type of technical translation. Catalogs must always be accurate and technical translation must translate all details and information. They can be used on so many occasions and they are very important in the technical field.

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What are the qualifications of the technical translator?

Technical translators have to have specific qualifications to be able to succeed in this challenging field. The fact that it has over 10 types is enough to have someone reconsider their options. 

Obviously, general translators can work in the technical field if they weren’t specialized in it. However, the results and outcomes won’t be the same. The reason is that they won’t have the required technical background that can make their work easier, nor do they have what it takes to produce a high-quality translation that is one hundred percent accurate.

For that reason, there are some specific qualifications that technical translators are called to have:

  • Specialization in technical translation: It is highly advised to be specialized in the technical translation field as it helps translators overcome many challenges. 

  • Experience in the technical field: Having experience in the technical field is always required since it is the only one that guarantees high-quality outcomes. 

  • Ability to work under pressure: Technical translators might have to work on many projects at the same time so technical translators must be able to work under pressure. 

  • Ability to accurately convey the meaning: The importance of technical translation lies in its accuracy. Therefore, technical translators must be able to accurately translate technical texts. 

  • Strong communication skills: Technical translators must have strong verbal and written communication skills and they must be responsive as well. 

  • Time management skills: Technical translators must know how to manage their time and organize their tasks and the things they have to work on. 

  • Ability to deliver work on time: Technical translators must be able to respect tight deadlines and deliver work on time.

  • Ability to understand complex technical texts: Technical documents are not always easy to understand which is why technical translators must be able to understand complex texts.

  • Correct writing: Technical translators must be able to write correctly in both the source and target language. They must know all about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. 

  • Deep knowledge of both the source and target language: Technical translators must always know the culture of the source and the target language as well. 

  • Ability to conduct research: Research is an integral part of technical translation. The ability to conduct research is very important and very necessary. 

  • Computer literacy: Technical translators must have a fair knowledge of technology and computer programs. They must know how to embrace technology. 

  • Attention to detail: Technical translators must be able to pay close attention to details since technical translation is all about numbers, amounts, and other related details. 

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What are the characteristics of technical translators?

Technical translators are holders of a Bachelor's Degree in Arts in Translation. They are specialized in the specific technical fields they translate. This makes them qualified and competent and ensures an accurate outcome. They are fast and should have good time management skills. Not to mention the excellent verbal and written communication skills they all should have as an added value. Plus, they must have a reliable source of information, glossaries, and dictionaries to help them with the technical translation process. It is highly advised to have over 3 years of experience in this field.

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How can I become a professional technical translator?

Becoming a professional technical translator requires the following: First, you should definitely earn a Bachelor's Degree in Arts in Translation. Then, you can pursue higher technical studies, receive training, or do some personal effort to be qualified and competent. Also, you should be fast and you should always conduct research to stay posted and updated. Not to mention that it is better to be specialized in one specific field of technical translation.

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Is technical translation expensive?

Technical translation is usually much more expensive than other fields of translation. The reason is that translators who handle technical translation projects are more often than not specialized in this field. Also, technical translation needs to be very accurate which requires so much time and effort. Not to mention that one cannot easily find professional technical translators who can accurately convey the meaning from one language into another. And the fact that many people need it nowadays is another factor that makes it expensive. 

In a nutshell, all specialized translation fields are more expensive than general translation. Specialized fields include technical, medical, legal, and scientific fields. They require more time, effort, and research. Therefore, they are more often than not handled by professionals who are specialized in this field, at a high price.

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What does technical translation include?

As mentioned before, technical translation, in its specific meaning, refers to the process of conveying texts and documents from the field of technology from one language into another. 

However, it can have a general meaning, which is the group of translation fields that can be also considered technical in terms of precision, accuracy, and jargon. This group of fields typically includes the following fields:

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