5 Strategies for your technical translation


Sooner or later, most international companies will need some technical translation. The translation of technical manuals, user guides, emails are classic examples - everything ends up needing to be reproduced in a foreign language when your operation expands abroad. If technical translation is a challenging aspect for you, don't worry! The 5 steps below will help you go in the right direction:

Pay attention to the size

Two documents written in different languages will never express the same idea occupying the same space. For example: French, Portuguese, and German may be up to 30% larger than their English equivalent. When translating technical manuals, be prepared for the fact that the new text will be smaller or larger than the original text. To resolve this, will you add new pages to your manuals? Or will you prefer to reduce the text to fit into your layout? Your translation company is responsible for the final formatting - make sure it has the correct instructions.

Write the localized content

The style and structure of the original text has an effect on the quality of technical translation. Keep sentences short, clear, and concise. Provide access to your company's style guide and official vocabularies to your translation agency – all to help technical translators understand how you communicate. Stay in communication with your translation company, this constant contact can greatly help in your projects.

Automate everything you can

Translation memories (TM) are very helpful in project efficiency. If you repeatedly perform technical translation of user manuals with few modifications, you can reuse parts of the initial translation in subsequent ones. This is great! It makes the processes much faster. Try to write sentences with the simplest structures possible. Your translation company can assist you in how to use these technologies.

Prepare and organize your files

Your translation agency must receive all technical documents in their original and editable format. When the original files are not available, they have to be recreated from scratch – a costly and tedious process. Please remove any unnecessary spaces in your files. This includes double or triple spaces, unused spaces within sentences and between paragraphs. These spaces hinder technical translators, make their work more difficult, and increase their translation time. Keep your file structure well-organized, clearly categorized, and easy to navigate. Linguists should be able to easily find and relocate these files, leaving more time for the most important thing, which is your translation service. Disorganized file structures waste a lot of time and lead to increased costs in technical translation projects. Finally, remove anything irrelevant from your files. Your translation agency doesn't need anything that isn't relevant to the project – this way we can save time for the translators to do their work.

Try this before buying

If you're not in a huge rush, try doing a translation test with your translation agency before starting the project. Send over a piece of content and then send the document translation to one of your employees for review. Tests like this help both parties understand and address issues before the start of a larger project.