What makes a good technical translation?

What makes a good technical translation? Whether it’s specialist, technical or advertising texts, one thing is always certain: the prerequisite for a successful translation is a qualified, highly professional translator.

In the following you will learn how an outstanding translation is created and which criteria play an important role. 

Native Speakers Are Always At An Advantage

A literal translation usually does not lead to good results. Even if every word in the dictionary is checked, this does not mean that all morphological, syntactic and semantic structures have been correctly translated into the target language.

It is not enough just to be good in the target language. A translator has to master the target language completely, including all grammatical and stylistic forms.

Ideally, the translator should translate exclusively into his native language, because it is important for the translator to know the cultural context of the language. Native speakers can better understand word games, references and forms of greeting and, as a result, can better reproduce them.

Necessary Qualifications

It is not enough for the translator to have a perfect command of the target language. He or she must also have the necessary qualifications. Ideally, the translator has a degree in Translation Studies and has learned and applied the technical and theoretical foundations.

To translate, the translator must also have the necessary specialist knowledge of the respective subject area. These are called specialist translators. They may also be physicians, programmers or lawyers who, in addition to their primary education, also have the necessary linguistic expertise to be able to produce technical translations.

High Quality Text

In many cases, the importance of the source text is overlooked when one asks for optimal translation. As a rule, only high-quality source texts should be used to create successful translation into the target language (although it is not always the case).

Important criteria should be taken into account, such as text type conventions, consistent terminology and the readership of the target text.

Important Criteria

For technical translations, one has to make sure that the text is not only legible, but that it is also coherent, cohesive and authentic to recipients in the target language.

In addition, it must also be clarified whether the translation corresponds to the professional knowledge of the reading public. After all, there are differences as to whether the primary target audience is engineers or secondary school students.

If these criteria are optimally fulfilled, the reader will not realize at all that the text is a translation.

Translated from German: unternehmen-heute.de

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