Gung-ho types may dispense with technical manuals and adopt a more hands-on approach to new technologies but for the rest of us, the technical manual is an essential resource. Anyone who has acquired technology from abroad might have had the misfortune to encounter a hastily translated user manual, whose treatment of technical terminology is inconsistent, vague and sometimes completely wrong. If this sounds familiar then you realise, as anyone in whose work involves technical translation services will tell you, that accuracy is crucial in the field of technical translation.
There are some hilarious examples of vague and unprofessional technical translation from the past, take this example from a 1962 Honda Motor Cycle Owner’s Manual, translated by Honda for the American Motorcycle Rider:
1. At the rise of the hand by Policeman, stop rapidly. Do not pass him by or otherwise disrespect him.
2. When a passenger of the foot, hooves in sight, tootel the horn trumpet melodiously at first. If he still obstacles your passage, tootel him with vigor and express by word of mouth, warning Hi, Hi.
3. Beware of the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you pass him. Do not explode the exhaust box at him. Go soothingly by.
4. Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.
5. Go soothingly on the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon. ! Press the brake foot as you roll around the corners, and save the collapse and tie up.
In order to accurately communicate technical terminology, whether for user manuals or engineering instructions, it is necessary for the translator to have a thorough understanding of the technical vocabulary of each language as well as background knowledge of the subject and sector specialism. Attention to detail is paramount, every word is important, and one mistake can mean disaster and potential legal troubles.
Employing technical translation services can be a strategic advance toward international growth for your business and its services. When you look for technical translation services you must consider whether the provider can offer a high quality service that involves consistent use of specific terms, predictable practices and language professionals with a background of technical expertise.
EmpowerLingua work only with the most highly skilled and fully qualified language professionals with the additional skills required to provide technical translation services. Our innovative business practices involve the standardisation of key terms to avoid confusion and maintain consistency and cost efficiency for our clients. We have a global network of professional translators each with their own specialist areas of expertise in specific language combinations. Our selection procedures ensure that your technical translation is handled by a professional translator who will apply their experience to translating subject matter within that field. Their knowledge of the complexities of technical translation mean that they are aware of the importance of accuracy in such undertakings, and are therefore able to communicate a precise translation of the source language and its intended meaning.
So the next time you pick up some cheap digital camera from Hong Kong or Singapore, and find yourself tearing out your hair, trying to decipher the poorly translated instructions, think of your own business and make sure you invest in quality technical translation services.