Technical Translation

Technical translation is the type of translation, which requires a considerable amount of understanding and skill. A technical translator is not only a translator, but also a specialist and an expert in the related field. Technical translation is required to translate machine installation manual, patent papers, user manual, research papers, project reports and thesis, etc. Technical translation consists of content related to scientific and technological data. A technical translator performs the duty of transferring the text from one language to another in an understandable and a logical way without changing the intended meaning. Somehow, a technical translator works as a technical writer. A technical translator should have high level of knowledge of the topic. Aside from the knowledge of the topic and the language, a technical translator should also have knowledge of psychology, technical communication and usability engineering.

The present article on “Technical Translation” provides some basic tips that every translator should follow in order to improve their work.

Tips for Proper Technical Translation

Reading and understanding the text:

In order to offer outstanding technical translation services a technical translator should read the text carefully before translating it. This helps the translator to understand the subject-matter more clearly. In case there is any confusion, the translator must refer to the reference books and subject-specific dictionaries for guidance.

Using the correct language:

Avoid using inappropriate single word, which can make the whole text meaningless. For instance, mechanical parts and instruments should be translated carefully. A technical translator must have adequate knowledge about the location-wise meaning of that specific word as one word has different meanings of different regions.

Vocabulary and uniformity of words:

There could be a contrast in the words used generally and that which is used while doing technical translation. There are certain subject-specific words that must be used by the technical translator for the precise and valid technical translation. Besides, there should be uniformity in the terms used for a particular thing. If a specific term has been used for a specific matter the same term should be used throughout the content.

Using industry-specific words and terms:

A technical translator must use the industry-specific terms while performing technical translation. A single technical translator cannot be a professional in all fields. Thus, technical translation service providing companies appoint industry-specific technical translators for different sorts of technical translations.

Reviewing and proof-reading:

After completing translation of the text, it is important to review and proof-read the final work. This helps in preparing an error-free technical translation. Proof-reading must be carried out considering three parameters: (i) grammar, (ii) spelling, and (iii) technical vocabulary.

By following the above given tips, one can gradually learn to effectively translate any text from one language to another in a clear and coherent way without changing the intended meaning. Eventually, this can be mastered with regular practice.

The Revising Process

The process of revising involves a series of steps, basically following the ARRR (adding, rearranging, removing, and replacing) method. In each step, the writer considers a set of questions from general to specific concerns:

  • Is the document complete?
  • Is all necessary information included?
  • Is the question answered adequately that you had set out to answer?
  • Is the hypothesis tested?
  • Have readers understood your main points and their pertinence?
  • Is the overall look of the document attractive and compelling?

After checking of the organisation of the document, ordering the given information and reorganising paragraphs is important. In addition to the logical sequencing of information, a conventional sequencing, depending on the type of document that you are writing is also important. A thorough grammar check is also important at this step. Check all paragraphs for unity and cohesion. Also, check if you have included all relevant information.

Finally, proofread the entire document for word choice, punctuation, spelling grammar and logical flow. Avoid any unnecessary repetition or wordiness for a clear, correct and concise document.

Fix the Spelling Mistakes

Whatever writing problems you have, you must stop making spelling errors! You can follow these easy steps to eliminate the errors:

  • Always write in a robust word processor that has spell-checking capabilities.
  • Use the spell-checker; fix the errors it identifies.
  • When you use a name whether a person’s name, the name of a team, the name of a place, or even the name of a horse, by gosh, make sure you spell it correctly. Look it up on line if you have even the slightest doubt.
  • Read your work. Read it out loud. Have you used a word that sounds like another word but has a different spelling? Make certain you’ve used the correct word. If you don’t know, look it up! Typing the word in Google might save you some embarrassment.
  • Create a cheat sheet. All writers use words that won’t stick in their heads. For example, without assistance, I would misspell embarrassment even though I’ve been aware of this problem for more than 30 years! If you constantly misuse your, you’re, and yore, add them to your cheat sheet, and stick it to your monitor so you never again make the mistake.

If you can’t correct your own spelling, despite the awesome technology at your disposal, get someone to read your work before you publish it.

Tips to proofread your own work

  1. Don’t proofread until you’re completely finished with the actual writing and editing. If you make major changes while proofreading, even if it’s just within sentences, you’re still in an artistic, creative mode, not a science mode.
  2. Make sure you have no distractions or potential interruptions. Shut down all email and social media, hide the cell phone, shut off the TV, radio, or music, and close the door. Print your document if you need to get away from the computer altogether.
  3. Forget the content or story. Analyze sentence by sentence; don’t read in your usual way. Focus on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Work backwards, if that helps, or say the words and sentences out loud. Concentrate.
  4. Make several passes for different types of errors. Try checking spelling and end punctuation on one pass, grammar and internal punctuation on another, and links or format on yet another pass. Develop a system.
  5. Take notes. If you notice format issues while checking spelling or if you need to look something up, make a quick note and come back to it so you don’t lose your focus.
  6. If you do make a last-minute change to a few words, be sure to check the entire sentence or even paragraph over again. Many errors are the result of changes made without adjusting other, related words.
  7. Check facts, dates, quotes, tables, references, text boxes, and anything repetitive or outside of the main text separately. Focus on one element or several related aspects of your writing at a time.
  8. Monitor yourself. If you find yourself drifting off and thinking about something else, go back over that section again. Try slapping your hand or tapping a foot in a rhythm as you examine each word and sentence out loud.
  9. Get familiar with your frequent mistakes. Even the most experienced writer mixes up their, they’re, and there or too, two, and to.

Check format last. Every document has format, even an email, whether it’s paragraph spacing, text wrap, indentations, spaces above and below a bullet list or between subheadings and text, and so on. Leave this for the end because contents may shift during handling.

Refining and proofreading your draft

When you’re done with the rough draft, take a break so that you can come back to your writing with fresh eyes. When you pick up your draft again, ask yourself:

  • Is my writing clear?
  • Do my ideas make sense?
  • Are my points and conclusions supported by evidence?
  • Do I avoid repetition?
  • Do I use proper grammar and spelling?
  • How does it sound read out loud?

Make sure you have enough time before your deadline to show your draft to others. Another point of view can help you polish your paper and catch inconsistencies and mistakes.

After you make any necessary corrections and improvements, proofread your draft again. Continue refining until you’re happy with your work.

Principles of good writing

Experiences in school leave some people with the impression that good writing simply means writing that contains no bad mistakes – that is, no errors of grammar, punctuation, or spelling. In fact, good writing is much more than just correct writing. It’s writing that responds to the interests and needs of our readers.

Briefly, here are the basic characteristics of good, effective writing:

  • Good writing has a clearly defined purpose.
  • It makes a clear point.
  • It supports that point with specific information.
  • The information is clearly connected and arranged.
  • The words are appropriate, and the sentences are clear, concise, emphatic, and correct.

Good writing is the result of much practice and hard work. This fact should encourage you: it means that the ability to write well is not a gift that some people are born with, not a privilege extended to only a few. If you’re willing to work, you can improve your writing.

Grammar

Grammar is a subject too complex to be summarized here.  Poor grammar may do nothing worse than irritating your readers.  Sometimes, however, poor grammar can make your writing confusing or impossible to understand.

Be careful with spelling, and especially with homonyms (words which sound the same but are spelled differently).  You may have correctly spelled a word that you didn’t mean to use.  “Joe is a little horse” is a very different statement from “Joe is a little hoarse.”

Incorrect punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence.  “My brother’s money” belongs to my brother, but “my brothers’ money” belongs to my brothers.  A misplaced comma can turn one modifier into two different modifiers.  “He arrived for his appointment, late yesterday afternoon,” suggests that he arrived on time for an appointment in the late afternoon.  “He arrived for his appointment late, yesterday afternoon,” suggests that he was late for his appointment.

Failure to understand the parts of speech can also cause confusion.  If, instead of “I feel bad,” you write, “I feel badly,” it sounds as if you are not very good at feeling.