Are you a civil engineer who needs documents translated? Civil engineering translation traditionally deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of all manner of different structures. It can be difficult to know where to even begin.

Making civil engineering translate can be a formidable task. That’s why we’ve created this guide to step you through the process.

In order to translate civil engineering material, one has to incorporate several sub-disciplines which may include environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, urban planning, and construction engineering.

These disciplines are established subject areas of specialization in their own right, so in-depth knowledge is essential for any professional translation. Some common civil engineering terms will be the same across the board, but there may also be variations, according to the type of civil engineering project in focus.

These can include:
  • Dams
  • Tunnels
  • Roads
  • Road bridges
  • Rail bridges
  • Road tunnels
  • Rail tunnels
  • Water tunnels
  • Power stations
  • Transmission lines
  • Sewers
  • Water treatment and desalination plants
  • Canals
  • Airports
  • Harbors
  • Mines
  • Offshore structures
  • Buildings

Depending on the type of project, you will need to follow these steps to prepare your material for translation. Building bridges between languages requires preparation, just as building structures demands a solid foundation. The following foundational steps will help you begin.

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Making Civil Engineering Translate: A Guide to Getting Started

Prepare Your Content

When getting ready to translate civil engineering material, make sure your original documents are professionally written and edited in their original language. For instance, if your source language is English, writing for translation means all documents should be in simple English with short, clear sentences.

Including only one thought per sentence helps translators understand your meaning and simplifies the process of building your translation memory. Common civil engineering terms can be more easily identified, recorded in the project translation memory, and used again and again. Engineering material will not typically include idiomatic expressions that may not translate well across cultures, but any of these should be eliminated.

Making civil engineering translate effectively to other languages often means using diagrams and pictures. These are usually easier for users to understand than lengthy sections of explanatory text. Always check to ensure the images you choose are easily identified in your target market.

Also, avoid embedding text in graphics. For simpler translation, always ensure that all text is “live,” so your content can easily be captured for translation. Text embedded in images must be manually extracted for translation, increasing the time for your project to be completed.

Providing editable source files is vital for making civil engineering translate. Common file formats for text and images are most easily translated, and will save the time required to convert publishing or CAD files to simpler, editable formats.

Develop a Glossary

Preparing for a technical translation includes creating a corporate glossary and style guide that are reviewed and approved by all involved parties within your company. Providing a glossary or reference guide of technical terms, clear definitions of acronyms, and key terms, especially company-specific industry-related terms, will help ensure that your translation team can translate civil engineering terminology correctly.

This is especially important considering all the different types of projects and sub-specialties encompassed under the heading of civil engineering. Your company may have several different project-oriented glossaries that each share common civil engineering terms but also contain project-specific wording.

Each target language will require its own project-specific English-to-target-language glossary in order to translate civil engineering documents accurately. Only a professional translation partner will be able to build and maintain such a library of glossaries for a single company.

Use Subject Matter Experts

Of course, the only people who can make civil engineering translate effectively into other languages are linguists who are subject matter experts themselves in civil engineering. As any civil engineer can attest, only someone who has the training and experience of a civil engineer can fully understand the complexities and terminology employed on various projects.

Moreover, native-language translators who are well-versed in the civil engineering industry will also know the variations pertaining to engineering topics that exist between languages. When projects also require content relating to subjects like hydrology, mineralogy, seismology, or soil mechanics, you will be glad you chose a translation partner with such a knowledgeable team.

International Language Services has the talented and experienced team to translate civil engineering documents for any type of project. We are a professional company that uses translation memory and other advanced techniques to ensure quality and save you money.