Considerations When Hiring a Technical Translator

Wikipedia defines technical translation as a type of specialized translation involving the translation of documents produced by technical writers (owner’s manuals, user guides, etc.) or, more specifically, texts which relate to technological subject areas or texts which deal with the practical application of scientific and technological information. (Source:

A rapid increase in technological advancement has subsequently necessitated more technical documents passing among suppliers and clients as they conduct their business in the global marketplace. Businesses, organizations, individuals and government agencies seek rely on technical documents to offer instruction, information and ideas that can be highly beneficial. But in order to make such documents easily comprehensible, it is important to translate them carefully, since many technical terms and descriptions may be used. In order to translate such technical documents, you would need a skilled technical translator.

The following are some basic considerations when hiring a technical translator:

  • Technical documents need to be translated to help people understand the working of technical things like a machine or a software program, etc. Accuracy of translation is of prime importance in technical translation to avoid serious ramifications and potential financial disaster. Thus whenever you hire a technical translator, assure that he knows his job perfectly and has experience in the technical domain addressed in the source document. He must also understand how technical functions are carried out.
  • As technical translators cannot afford to make errors, it is important that they have a technical background in the required field. You must look for specialist technical translators who are expert in handling technical jargons. Such professionals should have a sound understanding of the various concepts and ideas presented in technical documents. Broadly speaking, technical documents may also  be related to law, medicine, science, manufacturing, and other fields. Experience would enable them to translate your work using the correct technical terms, explaining them accurately if needed and  keeping the meaning of the original document intact.
  • When you hire a technical translator, you must ensure that the translator has equal mastery over the source as well as the target language or else the person may resort to using calque, meaning a term that is borrowed verbatim from another language. This might at times give an inaccurate meaning of the word it is used for. Thus it is important for the translator to know the appropriate technical terms in the target language so that the translated document maintains the meaning of the original content.
  • In addition to having a good understanding and strong grasp of both the source and the target language, a skilled technical translator should also have knowledge of the subject for which you are hiring him. When you are offering some product or service to your clients, the technical translator you hire should have a profound understanding of the same. Unless the professional has enough background information on this field, the technical translation of your documents will lack accuracy.
  • An important element to consider when hiring a technical translator is to choose a reputable service agency. Such an agency is likely to have qualified and skilled technical translators who are nearly always likely to produce accurate, effective translations.

By Sarah Hudson


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