All tasks has become the leader of the Latin-American translations market, dedicated to every type of multilingual services, but with an expanded focus in technical translation since its foundation in 1976.
We have made such option due to the immensity of technical information shared by universities, technology centers and corporations amidst the era of technological, communications and globalization developments. Despite its unquestionable relevance in the market, there are still few studies dedicated to the comprehension of the sector's mechanisms.
In fact, many are the myths that involve such practice, as discussed by theorist Jody Byrne in his book Technical Translation:
Usability Strategies for Translating Technical Documentation.
Learn the topics that are erroneously treated:
Technical translation is all about technical vocabulary
It is indisputable that the translator must know the technical vocabulary of the area in which they are translating.
That leads some to argue that, with a good dictionary, any one is able to translate a text. Yet studies demonstrate that the technical vocabulary represents only 5 to 10% of the technical translation.
In fact, a determining factor for translation quality is mastery of composing. I.e. it is necessary to “know how to write" in a clear and accurate manner, in addition to knowing the linguistic conventions and textual typology of the target language.
Also, the translator has to deal with an unstable and irregular terminology.
That is so because in most cases the technical documentation takes years to be written, and is composed and compiled in different countries by multiple authors and throughout different development stages of a sector.
The translator, in turn, needs to identify and know how to deal with that variation that dictionaries fail to keep up with.
Hence, technical translation offers a significant collaboration to establish and standardize the terminology of a sector.
In technical translation, style does not matter
The way of writing, the clarity, choice of vocabulary and sentence structure are all crucial both for the quality of literary translations and the technical translations. Such fact may be verified in the results of translation tests: most of the rejections do not result from specific term errors, but from problems with style, i.e. poorly written texts are turned down.
The translator needs to have a good composing style, combined with a general technical knowledge of the field, also in order to deal with poorly written original texts, a quite recurrent event.
In such cases, the most qualified professional does not reproduce the problems with the original text, but improves on style, ensuring the meaning intended. In result one obtains a translated text much better composed than the original.
Technical translation does not require creativity
Translating is not a mere process of transfer by reproduction, but a linguistic adjustment into that culture to which the text is intended.
Such process requires a good deal of creativity from the technical translator to know how to choose the best translation strategy, solve cases of discordance (when a term exists in one language and not in the other) and know how to handle cultural issues.
One must have a specialization to translate technical texts
However, it is possible to have good knowledge of a group of technical areas that have interlinked terminologies in a certain way, as the example below: Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology.
That knowledge, combined with a solid skill in research and mastery of writing, can ensure good translations not only within the technical area in which the translator is specialized, but also to some adjacent areas.
In brief, those myths demonstrate that the complexity of technical translation is often simplified and reduced. In practice such belief justifies the fact that some companies would rather hire an engineer to translate a technical manual instead of a professional translator, unaware of the fact that a translation's success transcends the transfer of terms between languages.