Issues Faced by Technical Translators and How to Avoid Them

Technical translation is an important service in the modern, global economy. In order for businesses to work with international suppliers, buyers and consumers, it is imperative that they understand the information being provided to them by these secondary parties, regardless of language. However, there are some major hurdles faced by technical translators that can complicate their job and make global collaboration more difficult.

Lack of a Global Glossary

When translating, many people rely on the agreed-upon glossary or vernacular of the languages they are working with. However, one major issue encountered by technical translators is that there is no international or globally accepted glossary, either in general or within most fields of industry. Terms, definitions, explanations and more will vary from culture to culture, and these differences can pose serious problems for those attempting to interpret documents of a technical nature for their clients.

Lost in Translation

Unfortunately, there are some words in every language that are simply “untranslatable”. These are usually terms for something very specific, and require entire phrases in other tongues to define. Encountering this type of verbiage is especially likely in certain fields of industry, in which there are terms that simply have no other explanation to those who do not work in the field. Words that are difficult to translate make for misinterpretations, misunderstandings and errors among translators.

The task of the technical translator is to understand all of these issues and to use their expertise to address them. By possessing a great deal of knowledge in the field that they service, technical translation specialists are able to communicate words that are difficult to translate traditionally and have them make as much sense as possible to those on the receiving end. This bridges the gaps in understanding between cultures, works around the lack of standardized language from one nation to the next, and helps professionals worldwide better comprehend one another and collaborate more efficiently.

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