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How the technical translation process works

Adriaan Brits



In order to find out how technical translation works, it is important to look at what technical translation is in the first instance. Technical translations are translations that could also be referred to as specialized translations. It is the translation of manuals, user guides, instruction guides, and any other text relating to technology or technological and scientific texts or documents. Following the technical translation process is an important aspect of technical translation.

These types of texts require a specialized method of translation. It also requires the translator to be trained in any one of the fields they are translating. If, for example, a science paper or an article has to be translated, the translator needs to have training and knowledge of such content. This means that the translator needs to have relevant technological knowledge, know all the scientific terminology, subject knowledge, and genre-specific writing conventions.

Circle Translations offers clients the services of translators who understand the technical translation process very well. They would use the following steps in order to create such a translation. These are, first of all, the analysis of the text; an understanding or comprehension of the text; translating the text, and doing a thorough revision of the text, once completed.

1. Analysis of the Technical Translation Process

The technical translation process starts with the analysis of the documents to be translated. The translators need to thoroughly read through the entire document to determine the context of the content. In reading through the document, the translators will also determine which technical terminology is used in the source text.

Furthermore, they can determine the tone of the text as well as how it reads to the public – that is, how it is understood by the general public or if it is more applicable to scientific readers. This means that they need to find the target audience for the text.

Essentially, one might also regard the analysis of a scientific document as a preliminary research into what the translator needs to translate. Doing the initial research and analyzing the document will lay the foundation for a good technical translation.

2. Comprehension in the Technical Translation Process

Doing the analysis in the technical translation process will allow the translator to have a better understanding of the text as well. Thus, comprehension in the technical process of translation plays a large and important role. The analysis step will inevitably lead to a close reading of the text as well.

It will lead to a better understanding of the text. Therefore, the translator can do a more accurate translation. Even though the translator needs to have some scientific knowledge, at this point there might be a need to do further research into certain aspects of the document, even if it is just to double-check facts. Even experts in the field need to look things up and do extra research. This is no different for the translator.

In order to accurately convey the meaning of a text into the target language, the translator needs to understand the text fully, and that is why comprehension in the technical translation process is so important. It is an important part of the steps in technical translation, and translators should, therefore, take their time during this part of the process.

3. The Translation in the Technical Translation Process

The initial analysis of a scientific document usually leads to a better understanding or comprehension of the document. The more time spent on these two steps, the better the translation will be, as they will lay a solid foundation for a good translation. The translators at Circle Translations have a good understanding of the first two steps in the technical translation process.


Once the first two steps have been completed, a translator can then move on to do the actual translation. These are not word-for-word translations, but translations based on an understanding of the technology and terminology of a specific document. The translator can then move on to do a proper translation. This is again based on the target audience as well as the target language.

4. Revision in the Technical Translation Process

The final step in the technical translation process is revision. This is a vital step as it will pull the translated document together and allow final changes and fact-checking to be made. It is important to fact-check a translated scientific document, especially in order to keep it as close to the original as possible. Scientific facts, in particular, cannot be changed, so they need to be read correctly in the target language.

Depending on the target language, it is vital to ensure that the linguistics are read correctly as well. It is also the time when the translator should check whether they have reached the target audience. It might mean revision of the text in some places.

To provide the client with an excellent translation, Circle Translations would ensure that their translations are thoroughly reviewed before submission through the technical translation process.

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