New terms come alongside constant technological innovation that must be shared with the world. However, the translation of new technologies comes with challenges that only a professional translator could handle appropriately. That is why here I’ll talk to you about the challenges of translating technological texts.
Just think about it… How many cellphone models are launched every year? And what about computers? How many apps have you downloaded this month? Let alone software, because they amass as fast as dust.
Technology advances in leaps and bounds, and for making that possible, there are teams and networks that must communicate with each other to create a product. As a consequence, there must be documents, conferences, and all kinds of information related to that. As these networks and the users of these products are all around the world, translation is the key part of maintaining everyone informed.
But first things first, what are technological texts?
Technological texts are those which purpose is to spread information about technological knowledge. There are different types of technological texts according to their users’ needs; from texts for people who have advanced knowledge in the area or to those for the general audience. For example, we have manuals and software interfaces that are for people who are into technology; on the other hand, user manuals, descriptions, reviews, and leaflets of products are intended for averages users.
The translation of these texts makes it possible for technology to be useful in different knowledge subjects, even in the translation industry. So now you can request machine translation system and human post-editing services to get faster translations with the best of both worlds.
Characteristics of Technological Texts
In order to be able to address the problems faced by translators of technological texts, we first need to learn the characteristics of these texts.
- Specialized terminology
Like all other industries, the technology area has its own terms. Some of them are more specialized than others, from average user texts to the ones that are intended for specialists in the subject. The truth is that regardless of the target audience, they are all part of a rapidly changing language as described in the next point.
- Constant introduction and update of terminology
Another characteristic feature of technological texts is the fact that terminology is constantly and rapidly updated. This is due to the accelerated pace of technological advances. In other terms, new terms are added as new developments appear.
- Neutral vocabulary
Technology is expected to reach all parts of the world, therefore, in this type of text, the language is objective and concise so that all people can understand such text.
Challenges of Translating Technological Texts
As it was previously mentioned, the expansion of technology on a global level makes necessary the translation of any text that contains information about a product. Thus, the translation of technological texts involves certain challenges or problems that professional translators must know how to solve in order to deliver a quality translation to you, the client.
The first challenge that the translator faces is the Anglicisms.
The English language is considered for excellency as a lingua franca, which means that this language can be used to communicate with people who don’t share the same native language.
And the technological field is no exception to this rule, as much of the terminology comes from English. You can check it with the expressions you write when you use your phone: enter to the app store, or just and app,even in music apps, words, likeplaylist, stays the same in some languages.
- Specialized terminology
In the second place, the translator of technological texts must be aware of the specialized terminology of their subject. You must take into account that there are some terms that are only used in certain subjects, and also, there are words of general use that have a different meaning in the technology industry.
That is the case of the word “traffic”: if you hear that word, the first thing that may come into your mind is cars on a road traveling through the city. However, in the Internet world, that word means the number of visits that a web page has. Thus, a web page with a lot of traffic means that it is a popular web page.
- Terminology updating
Technology is a science with big growth and development in the last decades and with that comes new terms to name these inventions. It is essential for translators to update frequently, even more so than translators in other specialties, because the vocabulary of technology changes very quickly. If not, the translator won’t be prepared for the client’s project and will run the risk of using unnecessary anglicisms, as mentioned in the first section.
Terminology is essential for translators and that is why we made an article about that. On it, we talk about the importance of terminology in specialized translation.. After reading it, you will be left in no doubt about how much terminology means to your translation projects.
- Maintaining a neutral language
Another challenge for translators of technological texts is to make sure that the vocabulary used is understandable for the target audience. This can be complicated since the vocabulary used in a country can be different for other countries.
Let’s consider a user manual for a telephone that is in sale for all Latin America as an example: the user manual was translated into different languages, including Spanish, so it is expected that all Spanish speakers would understand the user manual, it does not matter if the person is Mexican, Chilean, or Ecuadorian.
Translation is not as easy as it seems. And it is even more difficult for technological texts! There are lots of aspects to take into account for translating a functional text without mistakes. Instead, contact a professional translation agency that offers quality technical translations to ensure you receive the service you need. Visit to our web page to check our translation packages.