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3 Reasons Why Technical Translation Needs to be 100% Accurate

By Neil Gauld, 

The term “technical translation” refers to the translation of a document which has technical subject matter. It’s essentially the translation of a document to another language by an industry expert. This expert should be able to make sense of the material to convey the overall message, as well as use their expertise to make sure that it is technically sound in that industry.

Technical translation is invaluable for many companies, particularly in industries where instruction manuals, user guides and research papers are necessary. Accuracy is hands down the most critical element to a technical translation; however, this comes in different forms, and efficiency must be maintained across all of these forms, to create a completely accurate document.

Here are three reasons why accuracy is of utmost importance in a technical translation.

1.  Brand Credibility

A business’s product, service or customer relationship often hinges on these documents. Therefore, 100% accuracy is of paramount significance to their success. Using the correct words and phrases for the industry is crucial to the document’s success. Accuracy also ensures that the brand looks credible and reliable.

For example, when it comes to health and safety manuals or guidelines, one incorrect word or phrase in a description or instruction could have dire consequences. These consequences could even see a brand come under fire in a legal capacity, and it would undoubtedly tarnish the brand’s reputation and therefore, credibility in the eyes of their customers and stakeholders.

In this day and age, where social media is king and news (particularly bad news) spread like wildfire, a brand cannot afford to make mistakes. Without credibility, how can a brand possibly flourish?

2.  Clarity and Comprehension

Accuracy, in terms of clarity and comprehension of the document as a whole, is vitally important. While a document may be technically accurate and uses all the correct terminology and phrasing, it still needs to make sense overall and be easy enough to comprehend. This requires an in-depth knowledge of both the language it is being translated from and the language it is being translated to, so it conveys the message perfectly. When it comes to the document making sense overall, it’s imperative that the translator can accurately convey the meaning of specific phrases into another language, while maintaining technical accuracy.

Whilst the peddlers of machine translation products will have you believe they can produce accurate translations, only human translators can give a document specific nuances and make sure that it’s easy to understand, in a way that automated translations simply cannot. While there is value in both, human translation undoubtedly provides a better outcome in terms of clarity and comprehension.

3.  Cultural Accuracy

When we talk about accuracy, we cannot ignore the fact that technical documents need to be written by someone who not only understands the material they are translating but also understands the audience who will be reading the document. So, making sure that the text is not only technically accurate but also fits the social and cultural norms of the region it will be distributed in, is very important.

Cultural accuracy is an essential factor because inaccuracy in this regard could land a brand in as much hot water as technical inaccuracies would. For example, different cultures may require different ways of phrasing things, or within the English language even, different ways of spelling things and different words to describe the same thing.

A prominent example of this would be American English spelling versus UK spelling, with words like “colour” versus “color”. Or people in America calling it an “apartment building”, versus people in the UK calling it a “block of flats”.

When it comes to technical descriptions, cultural accuracy is a highly necessary factor that simply cannot be overlooked.

It has quickly become the norm for manufacturers of all industries to make use of translations as part of their processes. So, now more than ever, accuracy is at the top of the list when it comes to maintaining brand credibility and reputation.

This accuracy spans across the three points listed above and requires all three to maintain overall 100% accuracy for a technical translation.

If your company needs technical translations, get in touch with Brightlines. We have thousands of specialists across the globe covering all commercial languages and many industries, to provide you with fast, reliable technical translations for your business.

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