Technical. The word alone causes many to shudder, and that’s before you even get on to reading a text about quantum physics or biochemistry. Tackling a technical subject in a foreign language is therefore obviously no easy feat, which is why only certified experts are allocated to the task.
A Specialised Profession
A technical translator being bilingual is like a bodybuilder being muscular – it’s a basic, unquestionable requirement. Even being a certified translator is taken for granted, as it’s detailed knowledge and experience of the specialist field that really sets translators of this kind apart from the other linguists who make up the industry. Their background will include recognised qualifications in the subject and/or significant work experience of relevance, equipping them to handle complicated terminology with ease along with keeping abreast of notable developments in the field.
Reaching an Audience
Mind-boggling technical jargon aside, a technical translator also has to use their linguistical prowess to translate content in a way that is suitable for a particular audience. This concerns nationality and culture as well as the professional profile of the reader, if indeed they have one. Someone operating a piece of machinery, for example, is just going to want to know in clear, straightforward terms how to use it, rather than be subjected to the details of its inner workings. Capturing the exact message of a translation down to the finest detail is essential, whatever the nature of it.
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The Weight of Responsibility
Back to that word, technical. You can’t imagine anything being described as such that isn’t intricately precised, that might fall apart metaphorically or even literally if the smallest of elements is amiss. Potential consequences stemming from inaccuracy in technical translations includes everything from lawsuits sparked by violating in-country regulations to possible injuries and fatalities resulting from the incorrect use of machinery. It’s a high-pressure job, but few will make it as a technical translator if they don’t have what it takes.