Does your business need technical translation?

When expanding your business internationally, one of the most important considerations is the translation of all documentation and written material. If you’re opening a branch of your business in China, for example, you might hire an experienced Mandarin translator to help you prepare for the launch of the new branch. But just because the translator has complete fluency in Mandarin, that doesn’t mean they’re suited for your business needs. Just as you wouldn’t ask a music teacher to check over any chemistry homework, it’s important to choose a translator with specialist expertise in your industry.

The manufacturing industry is an area which calls out for specialist translation as it covers highly technical subjects and terminology. Here at Global Voices, we have experienced linguists that specialise in technical translations. This can entail the translation of anything from industrial equipment installation guides and operation manuals to technical reports and website copy. But how do you know when to invest in technical translation and when a more simple translation service is more suitable?

Three reasons why your business might need technical translation 

1. You need a subject matter expert

All translations should involve more than just a word-for-word replacement into the target language. Much depends on the wider context and meaning of your material, which is why a translator can’t simply use a technical dictionary. They must also consider the dialects, nuances and social norms of a target market, using a process known as localisation to ensure the translation retains the original message while making sense to the reader.

However, for highly technical industries, the translator will need to be able to go above and beyond geographical expertise. The aerospace industry, for example, is naturally international and requires effective communication between global businesses in order to be successful. There’s also very small margin for error, meaning everything must be as clear and concise as possible. Your average translator won’t be able to accommodate this, and you’ll need to work with an expert who understands the industry’s technical jargon in order to correctly translate it.

2. There is a health and safety risk

In some cases, technical subject matters can bring about a health and safety risk, such as when dealing with industrial equipment. The sector operates on a global scale, so manufacturers need to be able to effectively communicate with businesses and consumers around the world. Documents that need translating include installation guides, operation manuals, product specifications and hygiene and safety procedures, all of which need to be highly accurate and easy to understand.

Working with an industrial equipment translator means your copy will be accurately translated in your target language for readers around the world. Translation experts in this field will also know the legal requirements for each country and language being targeted when it comes to product safety advice. For example, any business manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling consumer products in the UK are responsible for ensuring each product is safe to use, and that labels used are legally sound. If your business is found in breach of any product safety requirements in the country to which you’re expanding, you could face legal action.

3. Your industry is heavily regulated

Some industries face strict regulation to protect customers and businesses alike. In these instances, rules and laws regarding products and the way businesses are run are subject to change at any given time. This is to ensure the public is kept safe, especially for industries that have the potential to harm human health or a community’s financial well-being. Food, for example, is regulated by the Food Standards Agency in the UK, while it’s covered in the US by the Food and Drug Administration. 

These regulations change around the world depending on local governments. It’s important to work with a translator who not only understands your industry but who also keeps on top of these changing laws. This allows them to offer advice on your business and means they can guarantee that every document follows the guidelines for the country you’re targeting.

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