Technical translation refers to the translation of texts using specialized language, generally used in industrial environments, with terms that a professional translator is not familiar with. To add fuel to the flame, professional translators cannot have studies or working experience in all the subject matters they deal with.
The translator or contracted translation agency should have a thorough knowledge of the technical language, and take into account the function or intention of the text, the target audience, and the field from which it comes in order to be able to make correct use of the terminology in the translated language.
Technical translations can include patents, manuals, instructions for use, reports, work certificates, construction projects, drawings, and all kinds of documents associated with industrial sectors and technology of any kind. That is why this type of translation requires a high degree of specialization; the translator must not only have a good knowledge of the procedures and uses of language, but also the specific terminology of the area the document belongs to.
Translating technical texts relying on an automatic translation or on a professional translator with no experience in the field can be like playing with fire. Not only is the company’s image at risk, but the safety of the users of your product may also be at stake.
Since an incorrect translation can have very bad consequences for your company, a lot of precision is required. Here are some examples of real-life technical mistranslations.
Let’s see this example. As you can see, it’s about springs. Well, it happens that, in Spanish, spring –like the ones in the image- is translated as resorte. However, spring also means primavera in Spanish, which refers to the spring season!! So, the translator here has picked the wrong meaning: spring season. Most likely, a Spanish speaker would be totally clueless about it.