7 points to look out for when purchasing a technical translation

7 points to look out for when purchasing a technical translation


Do you regularly need technical translations, for example of your user manuals, diagnostic software or data sheets? Then you probably know that things can go horribly wrong. The translator has no knowledge of the subject, the wrong terms have been used or crucial numbers have been mixed up in the specifications. In this blog, we give you seven tips to avoid painful and costly mistakes and get your hands on a solid technical translation.

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Our technical translators tinker with your text until it is absolutely correct. They have years of experience and do not have to reinvent the wheel each time. Request a free quote now.

1. Entrust the job to a specialized translator

Perhaps an open door, but a very important one. Almost all translators have a specialization. The chance that a medical translator will translate your building specifications correctly is small. Therefore, offer the translation agency access to the document during the quotation phase and also provide a short, clear description. For example: 'This is an installation manual for a welding robot. Complicated matter The translation agency then immediately knows that it must look for a translator who is completely at home in industrial automation.

2. Inquire about quality assurance procedure

In a technical translation, thorough quality control is essential. Many translation agencies today use special software for this purpose, such as Xbench or Verifika. This allows aspects such as terminology, consistency, numbers (and number notation) to be checked quickly and systematically. That way you can at least be sure that the translation is not to blame if a maintenance engineer puts 240 volts on a 24-volt system.

3. Provide as much reference material as possible

Do you already have translated technical texts that you are satisfied with? Then pass them on to the translation agency. The translator can glean a lot of information from them: how your products work, what terms you prefer and how you address technicians and customers.

4. Share your translation memory and terminology list with the translator

If you have previously had technical documents translated through another translation agency, chances are that CAT software was used for this purpose. Ask the agency to send you the translation memory it has built up (you are entitled to do so). This is very valuable for the translator, as he or she can search it specifically for previously translated phrases and terms. If you have a company- or industry-specific terminology list, that's of course great. The translator will thank you for it.

5. Appoint a contact within your company for content questions

It is very beneficial for the quality of the translation if the translator can ask questions to someone in your company during the project. Of course, this should be someone who has both time and a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. Especially in larger projects it is useful to use a special Excel sheet for asking and answering questions and to agree that it will be updated (for example) twice a week.

6. Give targeted feedback

After delivery of your technical translation, it is a good idea to have it thoroughly reviewed by someone who is familiar with the subject matter and the language in question. Do you have specific comments about terms or wording used? Then share them with the translator (for example, again in a special sheet). It may cost you some extra time, but you will gain it back in your next project because the translator will take your feedback into account.

7. If it seems too good to be true...

If you have received a very competitive quote to translate your manuals for a newly developed ultrasonic measuring system, be wary. Such complex translation projects can only be completed successfully by specialists with sufficient time and attention. An extremely low rate usually means: use of an inexperienced or non-specialized translator, no solid terminology management, no quality control, etc. In the end, you end up cutting yourself ugly. Even a realistic rate can be competitive and for that you not only buy a high-quality translation, but also peace of mind.

At Scriptware Translations, your technical documents are in trusted hands. We work exclusively with experienced specialists and follow strict quality procedures. Feel free to call us to get a clear picture of our approach. We will be happy to tell you all about it.

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