3 Skills Your Technical Translator Needs to Have

  |  August 21, 2017

An effective technical translator has three basic qualifications.

While no shortage exists in the field of translation services, only a top-quality technical translator can ensure your source document is clearly and accurately translated—and that your intended message is easily understood by your target audience.

In order to provide the highest quality translation, a technical translator should have specific knowledge of the target audience, which requires having native speakers assigned to your project. They should also have a clear understanding of the specialized field requiring translation, and thus must be subject matter experts.

Finally, a technical translator should have linguist expertise in order to understand language nuances and cultural sensitivities specific to your target audience. This is something online translation software, for example, can’t provide.

Read on for insight about why each of these three assets is vitally important to ensuring the most accurate technical translation for your project.

A Technical Translator Should Be A Native Speaker

You’re ready to take the next step in your business enterprise and jump into new global markets. There’s one problem: Where do you go for translation services to prepare your materials for the target audience?

Simply translating your source document word-for-word isn’t enough. Translation localization is of vital importance, since only a native speaker can correctly translate your document so that it makes perfect sense for the intended market.

Ensuring your documentation is translated to best suit local markets will help give your company a competitive edge, enhance your company image, and establish trust in your brand.

By recognizing regional culture and practices, native-speaking translators ensure your message is using the correct terminology for a given market and is clearly understood as originally intended.

At ILS, our team includes native speakers who fully understand your target audience’s culture, history, tastes, and nuances. We are sensitive to local and cultural issues when providing technical translation, and we can alert you to any possible issues with your text that may negatively affect your target market.

A Technical Translator Should Be a Subject Matter Expert

With so many options available to translate your technical documents, how do you ensure your technical translation will be free of errors and translated accurately? Because of the specialized nature of technical documentation, it is imperative that the person translating it have deep subject matter expertise in your industry.

That’s because subject matter experts have years of experience working with similar content and are well-immersed in the industry-specific terminology that needs translation.

A translator who doesn’t have experience in the specialized field will not understand your industry’s specific language and may deliver a translation filled with inaccuracies. This can require retranslation efforts that’ll cost you significant time and capital—not to mention potential liability from users who don’t understand the terminology and get hurt by misusing specialized devices or equipment.

Subject matter experts can ensure a clear, professional, and accurate translation in a timely matter. They don’t have to pause in uncertainty every few words because they’re fully familiar with the type of content they’re translating.

At ILS, our translators are subject matter experts with vast experience in their specialized fields. We choose subject matter experts because their experience, technical expertise, and attention to detail help ensure your document clearly conveys the original message as intended.

A Technical Translator Should Be a Skilled Translator

This one may seem like common sense, but it isn’t always. Complete translation goes beyond simply translating words. A technical translator should also have a deep understanding of a target market’s language, tone, and culture. He or she must also understand context and differences within languages that are spoken in multiple countries, such as Spanish.

The most accurate translation can only be provided by technical translators who are not just skilled linguists, but subject matter experts with localization certification and/or degrees in their specialized fields. Certified, native-speaking linguists fully understand culture and context, know what words can be used to avoid offense, and can successfully communicate your intended message accurately and effectively.