The Value of Technical Translation in the Engineering Industry

Engineering translation services

Why Engineering Translation Services?

The engineering industry is characterized by sophisticated, obscure, and very specific terminology and jargon. The language used in this industry can be impenetrable to non-engineers, regardless of whether they are native language speakers or not. It would be almost impossible, for example, for a non-engineer to guess the correct French translations for the setback, Kelly dive, and shale shakers in an oil drilling rig, or the components of a jet engine in a Gulfstream maintenance manual. That is why engineering content developers who want to translate technical documents need to look for specialized engineering translation services that cater to technical content, and not rely on general translators. The ideal scenario would be to build a team of translators and editors who are experts in the given domain, and have them build and translate a glossary of terms before the engineering translation even begins.

When searching for a translation company to translate your technical documents, it is imperative that you find the one with the ability to put together the right team, either from translators on their staff or, for more obscure subject matters, from a recruitment and testing process. And not all “technical” translators are the same. For example, a civil engineering translator will know different terminology than a mechanical engineering translator. The key is for the agency to recognize your specific needs and adapt the team to them. Also note that construction authorities frequently require contractors to present their documents in the world’s most used languages, such as English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Engineering Documents

In most cases, engineering content that needs to be professionally translated includes:

  • Functional specifications

These documents outline the functions of components in a specific system. They help the system user to understand the input requirements and output expectations of the system ahead of time. If incorrectly translated, the risks could be catastrophic, including personal injuries, lost revenue and work stoppages.

  • Warning labels

These are labels that equipment manufacturers attach to a specific piece of equipment, warning the user of the possible risks and dangers associated with improper handling of it. These warnings can also be found in the equipment’s instruction manual. Considering that some heavy equipment used in the engineering sector can inflict serious or fatal injuries to their operators if wrongly handled, you need to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.

If the warning labels are in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese, then you need a native engineering translator with impeccable English language skills and, most importantly, an excellent understanding of how the equipment operates and the terminology used.

  • Design requirements

Every project has a set of unique design requirements that lead to successful project development. You need a translation company with strong engineering translation services that will accurately capture the intent of your project, the systems to be used in the project, and the final product that your project seeks to deliver. This is critical to meeting the requirements of your project’s backers.

  • Safety data sheets

Safety data sheets (SDSs) mostly cover the occupational safety and health of the users handling different materials and products during a project. Some of these materials could be chemical in nature, which makes them dangerous if inhaled, swallowed, or make contact with the eyes. You cannot underestimate importance of correctly translating the safety information for all substances and products included in SDSs.

Note that SDSs are required across the EU. Multinational chemical engineering firms are required to have SDSs that are written in strict compliance with the European Chemical Agency’s language requirements. If you oversee a chemical engineering process in Europe, you will need to find specialized engineering translation services not only for Western European languages but also for Eastern European languages like Bulgarian, HungarianPolish, Russian, Romanian and Czech, among others.

technical translation for engineering companies

When do engineering companies need technical translation?

Engineering companies buy most of their supplies from foreign suppliers, which calls for translation and complete documentation in local languages. User manual translations require translators who have specialized knowledge in the engineering field.

Furthermore, you need qualified translators who are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to translate patents and other legal documents. Remember that patents in this field contain rigid practical requirements and technical details that can only be handled by a technical translator.

Last but not least, you need technical translation to work on your quality control documents. City council and other local construction authorities across the world do not appreciate shortcuts, so you must translate all your engineering documents as per the local laws.

Why is technical translation important?

  • The risk of losing business

Engineering translation services guarantee your project is compliant with local and international standards. Without this compliance, you risk two things. First, your potential clients might be reluctant to do business with you fearing that your company is incompetent and illegitimate. Second, you risk having your license canceled and even being hit with fines by quality regulation authorities.

  • A show of professionalism

Your business partners and employees will feel safer working with you if you show genuine efforts to protect their interests, both business-wise and health-wise. A good translation company will ensure that every piece of information is accurately translated and professional-looking so that everyone involved with your company can feel comfortable.

  • Broadening your client base

When you translate your material into multiple languages – European, Scandinavian, Asian, and Latin languages, for example – your potential client base broadens. If you produce your product catalog in non-Latin script languages such as Armenian, Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, for example, you will be able to penetrate markets that other engineering companies are yet to discover. You have to broaden your client base if you are to stay ahead of the game.

  • The potential risks of misinterpretation are dreadful

As we mentioned, the risks of misinterpretation in the engineering sector include personnel and user injuries, fatalities, and endless lawsuits and penalties. You cannot wait for any of that to happen. It is beneficial on your part to seek professional engineering translation services: translators who have the experience and resources necessary to produce quality translations that read fluently to native speakers of the target language.

  • It is a requirement when registering your company

The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) requires all engineering companies to translate their documents into all the principal languages of their employees. Without that, your company will not be registered in the US. All your engineering documents, handbooks, brochures, and posters must be in English, and in the event that you have Hispanic employees, the documents must be in Spanish as well.

Conclusion

We have established that technical translations are important when an engineering firm is communicating information about a product, service, or piece of equipment to employees and potential clients. And because it requires specific skills, your only option is to find the most reputable technical translator who works in your target market. A good engineering translator will ensure you get quality work on your documentation.

Lastly, be aware that these services can be more labor-intensive and time-consuming than general translations, so they often are more expensive. The good thing is that they are worth every penny. Do you require reliable engineering translation services for your sector? At BeTranslated, we have a diverse team of native translators, many of whom specialize in engineering and technology. Our dedicated project managers select or recruit the most appropriate linguist for your documents and tailor the project to your budget and time constraints.

Get in touch with our team today for a free, no-commitment quote!