The Importance of an International Translator for IT Documentation

  |  April 19, 2017

Why an international translator is imperative in IT documentation.

Poor translations of IT user documentation can be both humorous and frustrating. With user satisfaction dependent on how easily an audience is able to use a device, the right translation makes a world of difference.

It’s been estimated that technical translations now account for 90 percent of the world’s total translation output each year. Because companies looking to expand their brand must make their technical documents available to foreign markets, hiring the right international translator for the the job is of vital importance.

Accurate technical translation helps reduce errors that can result in damage to property or financial loss. Here are three reasons why you should hire an international translator for your IT documentation:

A Quality International Translator Employs Native Speakers with Subject Matter Expertise

Native speakers not only speak your target market’s language and culture, but they also understand the nuances and connotations of the target market’s native tongue. This plays a key role in accurate technical document translations, helping ensure that users fully understand the materials.

The consequences of a poor technical translation can be far more damaging than the slightly higher production costs of hiring a qualified international translator. Not only will poor translation services negatively affect your company’s image—they can also lead to unforeseen liabilities and a greater risk of litigation.

When user interfaces are unclear and troubleshooting documents aren’t properly translated, it reflects negatively on your product and your business. An international translator can help prepare your IT documentation for users in a given market.

A Quality International Translator Accounts for Technical Terminology

When translating IT documentation, it’s vitally important that the translator have command and understanding of the technical terminology in the materials as well as the context in which you are using them. Otherwise, there’s a significant risk that pertinent details will be translated inaccurately. While the literal words might be translated correctly, their meaning may not be.

While IT documentation is a separate and unique entity, consider the importance of having a translator well-versed in medical terminology when translating technical documents for the medical industry. Any error in translation can prove disastrous. Such an instance occurred at a German hospital between 2006 and 2007, when 47 patients were victims of botched knee operations because of poorly translated instruction manuals.

While the original English text read “non-modular cemented prostheses,” the German translation resulted in “prostheses that do not require cement.” A translator well-versed in medical terminology would not have made that error, because he or she would have known the key difference in meaning. Similar translation mishaps in IT documentation can lead to user frustration, negative perception of your product, and profit loss.

A Well-qualified International Translator Positively Affects Your Company Image

When you hire an international translator to provide technical translation services on your behalf, it is implied that the translation will honor your business’ brand. After all, people trust companies whose image is widely respected. That said, if your business comes off as unprofessional as a result of poorly translated IT documentation, it’s very likely your target audience may take their business elsewhere.

The best way to avoid translation errors in IT documentation is to hire a qualified international translator. This can make the difference between global business expansion and losing credibility or worse.

At ILS, our dedicated team of professional linguists and subject matter experts offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global businesses in a variety of industries, including IT. Our expansive resources allow you to take advantage of large-scale communication services to help you distribute content in any format.

Barb Sichel, Director of Business Development at International Language Services, Inc., has spent the last 10 years helping companies simplify and streamline the translation process. She is dedicated to educating medical device and industrial manufacturers of all sizes on how to ensure smooth, cost efficient completion of their translation projects.

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