Mastering Technical Translations: Tips for Improved Accuracy

What aspects really matter when it comes to technical translation services?

Translation errors aren’t something unheard of. You might think the world’s leading companies and organisations with huge budgets and teams of experts would not have problems releasing quality translations, but they do.

Whether it’s a missing preposition error made by the airport authorities in India or KFC China translating ”finger-lickin’ good” to the cannibalistic ”eat your fingers off”, translation errors can be  costly, albeit hilarious.

Due to specific business jargon and complex industry terminology, professional language translation services can be extremely challenging, even for the most experienced translators and interpreters. To explore and discuss tips that can help to improve accuracy when translating complex documents for the technical sector, we’ve spoken to some of the industry leaders as well as our in-house expert translators.

Technical Translations - how to improve accuracy

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What Are Technical Translations?

Let’s first decode what ”technical” means here. Any document, document section or article that talks about a particular field and has jargon specific to that field falls in the category of a technical document.

Technical translation services, therefore, are translations of such documents into a target language. We’ll give an example.

Suppose your company makes electronics, such as vacuum cleaners and electric kettles. You need to launch your products in Italy. In the US or the UK, you already have product manuals printed in English. Now that you’re expanding to Italy, you need the manuals translated into Italian. That’s a technical translation.

Why Is It Hard to Translate Technical Content?

Sometimes, if you have to translate a sentence for your German or French audience, you may not need to outsource a whole translation team. Instead, you could ask the German or Spanish team member to do it.

But you can’t do this with technical translations. Your German colleague might speak excellent English (and German), but would they know what ”statute of limitations” or ”amortisation” is in their native language?

Lack of familiarity with the jargon isn’t the only issue in technical translations. In many cases, the translated content must also comply with specific international regulations. Failure to comply can result in fines and other penalties.

For example, datasheets and manuals for electronic products must comply with the regulations set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Similarly, healthcare documents have to be written according to the standards of local regulatory bodies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.

The terminology of technical documents is also changing with every passing day. A decade or so ago, artificial intelligence (AI) wasn’t as big as it is today. So, businesses did not have to include AI aspects in their data privacy policies. But now, they do. The same is true for new terminology and concepts in engineering and manufacturing.

The complexity of these translations mandates the need for a technical translation service. Such services employ translators who are well-versed in the technical field and also know both the source and target languages.

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Why Are Mistakes in Technical Translations a Big Problem?

A translation error in the product name or tagline might make someone chuckle. But when it comes to technical translations, mistakes are not a laughing matter.

Technical manual translations are critical for the safety and proper usage of products. Any translation mistake could mean the difference between a successful operation and a malfunction that could result in accidents or even death.

Also, businesses expanding worldwide cannot afford non-compliance risks. Something like that can put their whole reputation at stake.

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4 Tips to Improve Accuracy in Technical Translations

We’re sure we’ve set the stakes high by now. We get that you don’t want to compromise on your technical translations. Here are some helpful tips to ensure accuracy in your technical document translations.

4 tips for improving technical translations

Work With a Reliable Technical Translation Service Agency

The first step is selecting a translation service provider you can depend on. Here are a few questions to ask before making this choice:

• Does the translation service agency have experience in technical translations?
• Do they have qualified translators who are experts in your desired languages?
• Have they handled similar projects in the past?
• What is their quality assurance process?

Also, ask the translation service provider about their translation process. Do they assign different account managers to handle your account? Or is there a single, dedicated account manager? Ideally, you want the latter.

It also helps if the translation service provider has a user-friendly online platform or portal for uploading and downloading files. You won’t have to deal with a plethora of emails this way.

Create a Glossary

A glossary of terms is the backbone of accurate technical translations. It should contain all industry-specific terminologies and their translations in the target language.

Think of it as your technical translation dictionary. It acts as a reference for both the translator and the proofreader. Some words may have two or more translations. But since there’s a glossary where you’ve specified the word to be used, there’s no room for confusion.

Even if you have to switch to a new technical translation service agency, you can provide them with your glossary for translation consistency.

Check the Source Material

Sometimes, the errors don’t arise during the translation process; they already exist in the source material. A simple mistake like ”out” instead of ”our” or ”form” instead of ”from” can change the meaning of a sentence entirely.

Double-check your source material before sending it for translation. Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Remember to review punctuation, too.

Write With Translation in Mind

When creating technical content that will eventually require translation, you should keep this in mind.

• Use simple and concise language. Avoid complex sentence structures that may be difficult to translate.
• Avoid slang and idiomatic phrases that may not exist in the target language.


Some languages are also written from right to left. Similarly, others may have longer words or different sentence structures. The copywriter should account for these differences while writing.

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Even if you speak your native language well, you’ll still have trouble translating legal documents, technical user guides, financial documents, or medical information. Why take this risk, then?

Instead, work with a technical translation service agency for better accuracy. Don’t only choose a service based on their translation proficiency; check if they’ve worked with clients in your industry before. Experience helps.


About TS24

Translation Services 24 (TS24) is a leading translation agency providing expert services in over 200 languages. We work with clients in all corporate and public industries and specialise in sector-specific linguistic solutions. With over a decade of experience in the industry, 15+ million words converted every year and 100,000+ projects completed, TS24 is a leading provider of expert translations and interpretation services and an officially certified member of the ATC. Contact TS24 here. You can also read all of our recent articles here.

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