Friday, January 14, 2005

Technical translation as part of software project communications.

Software projects often rely on English as the lingua franca, where few or none of the engineers are native speakers. This calls for special handling of the translation process.

Technical translations as part of project communications are especially rewarding, since the translator knows her target group well. She attended requirement handling meetings and workshops and acquired a feel for local language usage. By providing excellent, precise and swift translation services, she becomes an integral part of the success of the project.

Here are some points to consider:

1. Technical language describes complex interdependent processes, and documents serve as the the launching pad for the software development to take place. The language should be unambiguous, precise, clear and logical as any technical tool ought to be.

2. Developers tend to put down complex concepts into nested, long sentences when using their mother tongue. The translator is capable of breaking them down into shorter ones while maintaining the intrinsic logic.

3. The translator is never too embarrassed to ask, what the text means, especially if it's in her mother tongue. Often the reason lies in the authors being not quite sure about the issue themselves. Give them a chance to clarify.

4. Even technical texts can be elegant. If the author is brilliant, the translator will be able to let this shine through by her own use of language.

5. Diligent research of the subject is due prior to translating.

Gisela Strauss
Tech Translations in the Greater Munich Area
& Virtually, Everywhere


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