The Process of Translating Technical Documents

UPDATED: June 20, 2023

Language access is more important than ever! Are your documents up to the task?

Technical document translation has never been more essential than it is today. These documents are typically information sensitive; words cannot get lost in translation without repercussions. In some instances, it could result in lost business or serious legal consequences. Have you evaluated how your message is being perceived? The United States is growing more linguistically diverse by the day, and there is a high demand for quality technical document translation.

Having an efficient system for translating documents puts your business in a prime position to grow into a global mindset–being able to identify and appreciate cultural differences. An article from Forbes identifies that building a global mindset is something that needs to be pursued; it is not inherent. This mindset can serve as an interface between multiple cultures. If you do not have accurate translated technical documents, your business, products, and/or services will be inaccessible to many. Here are some important questions to keep in mind when translating them.


How is the Document Written?

It can be very tempting to want to publish a document as soon as the last word is typed. However, reviewing a document for errors and inaccuracies is a good way of ensuring the correct message. In writing and translating technical documents, using short sentences that deliver the message effectively is a good strategy. Sentences with metaphors or regional references are often mistranslated or do not apply in other regions. When people read a document intended for their target language, they can easily be confused and discouraged by such errors. Taking the time to read over the text in partnership with a professional translator who is also an expert in localization can greatly impact the impression on the intended audience.

Technical document translation services with human translators are designed to catch the nuanced cultural gaps in communication that an automated service like Google Translate can simply not compete with. More on that below!

Woman Signing technical documents

How are you translating your documents?

While there are many machine translation options available, most are not suitable for business needs, especially documents that contain industry-specific or technical terminology. Tools such as Google Translate and other similar programs will not fulfill your needs. These programs were developed to translate the most basic words and phrases, not the complexities behind more technical business or legal documents.

 What about hiring a bilingual employee to handle your technical document translation? Conducting translation services in house is a practice that is potentially costly. A common misconception with translation is that anyone that is bilingual can translate documents. This statement is false, especially when considering business documents. Translation is more than a simple exchange of words, and it requires a professional translator with specialized knowledge in both the subject matter and the target culture. It can be more expensive to fix a bungled in house translation than what a professional translating service would have cost from in the beginning.

 Another benefit to utilizing a professional translating service is that they will retain a Translation Memory (TM) database for you consisting of all of your translated documents separated by language. A TM database will help you maintain consistency throughout all of your future translated documents and communication.

Legal Document Translation and Risks

Employment/HR, is vulnerable if there are translation inaccuracies. Translation errors can lead to: 

  • harmful misunderstandings
  • lawsuits
  • fines
  • low employee retention

The need for legal document translation services is even higher for lawyers and law firms. When handling legally delicate matters like divorce, estate planning, or business contracts, a lawyer who is working with clients that have limited-English-proficiency (LEP) needs to ensure that all documents can be clearly understood. Don’t take risks by cutting corners! A badly translated legal document can haunt someone for years.

What are the Next Steps for Your Business?

Customers take notice of businesses that offer easily accessible and understandable resources. One small encounter can make or break a relationship. Businesses that are able to offer their information and resources in the potential customer’s preferred language are more likely to be used than other businesses that are not. Partnering with a professional translation service can help you provide seamless, accessible resources for your business so that you can focus your efforts on other important aspects such as customer satisfaction. This is one of the major benefits we pride ourselves on providing for our clients–a better, consistent relationship with the people they are trying to serve.

Does your business need the help of a professional translation service?

Do you have clients in need of accurate and timely documents in their native languages?

Contact us for a free consultation on how to get started. We can help you provide the expertly translated and localized resources that are essential to building relationships with all of your clients, in whatever their preferred language. We can also help you work towards achieving a global mindset that will set you apart from all your competitors in the market and show your clients how much you care about being accessible to them.


Contact Us

I am interested in
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.