Like many other fields of science, translation has many branches. Some of these branches are easy, others are quite difficult or complicated. Technical localization is one of these complicated branches. If there is a one word which we can use to describe the process of localization, it should be adaptation. This refers to the way of adapting the text into the target language in a way that it becomes easy for the reader to understand.
Types of Technical Texts
In the translation and localization industry, technical localization is subdivided into two areas. The first one covers the marketing and promotional texts of devices, software and programs etc. These texts contain both technical and promotional language. Most of them are quite difficult but the more you translate these texts the more experience you get and the better quality you provide. Examples of these texts are the promotional texts of mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc. Over time you will become familiar with the common terms and expressions and then you will be able to localize them easily.
On the other hand, we have the purely technical texts. These types of texts deal with the science itself - for example to have a text explaining how an electric generator works, or a car engine’s parts. These are considered a great challenge for translators to convert to their mother language. What makes these texts very complicated is that most of the terms don’t have equivalents in many languages. In that case, the translator shall be required to localize and adapt the terms in a way that makes sense to the reader.
During the last 12 years, which is my actual field experience in the translation and localization industry, I have tried many ways to overcome these challenges and provide my clients with a localization for their technical texts that is free of errors and makes sense for their readers. Based on these numerous trials, I shall mention the most effective ones for any translator who would like to join the localization field.
1. First search for the meanings in monolingual dictionaries which are written in the native language.
2. Never take the translation available on the internet for the technical terms for granted. You must balance between the meanings and the source to judge whether they make sense.
3. If possible, seek the help of native speakers to understand the highly complicated terms and expressions, since they are the best persons to understand the source text.
4. As for the names of companies, devices, trademarks, trade names, etc., they all must be left in the source language. You should neither translate nor transliterate them unless the client instructs otherwise.
5. If you manage to finish the work earlier, you should revise it more than once. Never stop reading your translation and editing it until you deliver it to the client.
6. Last but not least, read widely in the field you are going to translate.