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TECHNICAL TRANSLATION

What is a Technical Translation? Technical translation is one part of specialized translation. It can be considered potentially non-cultural, and thus universal, because the benefits of technology are not confined to one speech community only. This type of translation is distinguished from the rest by its terminology. Its characteristics and grammatical features (such as the usage of passives, normalizations, third persons, empty verbs and present tenses) merge with other varieties of language. The most characteristic format that technical translation employs is the technical report - this includes instructions, manuals, notices and publicity. This !ind of report puts more emphasis on forms of address and uses mainly the second person. The technical style is characterized by being free from emotive language, connotations, sound-effects or original metaphors. The "ob of the technical translator is precisely to eliminate these features if they are present in the #$ te%t, rephrasing poorly written language and converting metaphors to sense. TERMS: &ne of the main difficulties that a translator might come across when dealing with this type of te%ts is usually the new terminology. To solve this, 'ewmar! advises on translators to underline in the te%t what appear to be its !ey terms and then loo! them up (he remar!s that it should never be ta!en for granted any word as already !nown ). (ven then, the main problem is li!ely to be the technical neologisms in the #$, some of which are relatively conte%t-free and appear only once. )ut if they are te%t-bound the translator can understand them easily and therefore eliminate the less appealing versions. *ontrary to popular belief, standardized terms may have more than one meaning in one field, as well as in two or more. #o the purpose of these new standardizations is always to establish a single one-to-one relationship between a referent and its name. +s soon as the currency of the referent increases, its name is li!ely to ac,uire figurative senses. -or instance, concept-words are !nown for their different meanings related to various technologies, and may have different senses according to their collocation.

VARIETIES OF TECHNICAL STYLE: There has been made a distinction of four varieties of technical language. /. #cientific 0. 1or!shop level. 2. (veryday usage level. 3. 4ublicity and5or sales. 6owever, these are general categories to which is often arbitrary to assign one or another term. Another examples are: $anguage of mathematics 7athematical "argon *omputer hardware *orporate "argon $egal 'autical #cientific International scientific vocabulary 7edical (conomics terminology that differs from common usage In some areas, the nomenclature is confused by additional obsolete, obsolescent or regional terms. 'owadays, there is a tendency to name a product by its latest trademar!. +lso

eponyms are used as a source to identify a discovery or an invention by the name of whoever is associated with it, but may be not be recognized by another country in its language. TECHNICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE TERMS + further problem that a translator may find is the distinction between technical and descriptive terms. The #$ writer might use a descriptive term for a technical ob"ect because. /. The ob"ect is new and hasn t got a name. 0. The descriptive term is used as a familiar alternative, or to avoid repetition. 2. The descriptive term is used to ma!e a contrast with another one. +n e%perienced and responsible translator, should translate technical and descriptive terms b their counterparts! and resist the temptation o" translatin# a descriptive b a technical term "ust to show off his !nowledge, because in this way the linguistic force of the #$ descriptive term will be sacrificed. 'onetheless, if the #$ descriptive term was used because of the #$ writer s ignorance or negligence, or because the appropriate technical term does not e%ist in the #$ language, or if the ob"ect referred to is un!nown for the #$ but not for the T$, the translator can be "ustified in translation a descriptive by a technical term. 4rofessional translators have a tendency to ma!e a mysti,ue out of their craft by re"ecting any descriptive term where a T$ technical term e%ists, because the technical ones are thought to be always more precise(though narrower in semantic range). Incidentally the mysti,ue tends to ignore any distinction between spo!en and written language, and it goes against good translations. 1hilst the technical terms may be a translator s finding and will help to acclimatize the professional reader, 'ewmar! considers it mista!en to prefer it, bearing in mind that descriptive terms in the #$ te%t may serve other communicative purposes.

In the cases in which the translated piece is technical and there is clear evidence that the descriptive-more general and generic- term is only being used because the technical one is rare on lac!ing in the #$8 in this case, the use of the technical term in the T$ te%t is certainly preferable. *onversely, where a #$ technical term has not-!nown e,uivalent, a descriptive term should be used. +lthough little can be loss in the conte%t. Ho$ to translate a technical te%t& E!INNIN! A TECHNICAL TRANSLATION: + translator is interested in understanding the description, function and effect of a concept. 1hen translating a te%t, the translator should be able to stand bac! and understand roughly8 not only convincing him that what he has "ust translated ma!es sense linguistically. #ometimes with a technical translation the thread of action is loss. (ven though scientific and technological terms can be translated literally and, nowadays, contain an increasing number of internationalisms and fewer false friends8 the translator has to chec! the present validity in register and dialect to obtain a clear idea of outline, composition, function and result. To ma!e a translation, one does not have to be an e%pert in its technology or its topic, but has to understand the te%t and the vocabulary it uses. 'ewmar! advises on future translators not to specialize at the start, but try to gain as much e%perience as possible, especially in a range of technologies, in particular the ones that are thriving currently. THE TRANSLATION METHOD: )oth the te%t and translation are thing-bound . )ut the #$ te%t is also the basis of the translation, much of this one departs from the original te%t. The point is that when a thing or a situation is forced down in a #$ te%t, it becomes precisely described. If the translator tries to set out from the ob"ect or situation, forgetting details, it is surely going to be an inaccurate translation.

1hen the translator approaches a technical te%t, he should first read it and then. /. +sses its nature (proportion of persuasion to information) 0. 9etermine its degree of formality.

2. +scertain the main intention (attitude towards the topic). 3. 4oint out the possible cultural and professional differences between his personal readership and the original one. :. ;ive the translation the framewor! of a recognized house-style (either the format of a technical report adopted by the client or, if it is an article or paper, the relevant style of a "ournal). <. Transfer, or account, for every word, figure, letter and punctuation mar!. =. Translate the date, general heading or superscript8 using the standard forms. >. ?se, if necessary, footnotes if the style permits it and if the readers5clients would find it useful. THE TITLE: 'ormally, a translator is allowed to change the title of the original te%t. +ll titles are either descriptive or allusive. In a non-literary te%t, a descriptive title names the sub"ect and states the main purpose8 in those cases, the title may not have to be changed. )ut a scientific title states the sub"ect, but not always the purpose or intention of the process it describes. (nglish standards allow translators to omit the title if it is too long, and general words are commonly shifted in this way. There are several terms which have at least two -or morepossible translations, of which the one that transparently resembles (nglish is the less li!ely to be used5preferred. The last important point of the tittle is that it has a transparent collocation 8 it sounds li!e a beautiful phrase.

The so-called bibliography titles are the most reliable !ind of titles. The other important point that a technical translator should bear in mind consists on the names of authors and the addresses of their places of wor!. +ll these are usually transferred e%cept in cases. /. 1here the title has a recognized common translation e,uivalent. 0. 1here the name of a city is currently naturalized 2. 1here the name of the institution is so opa,ue that transference and a semantic translation might be useful. !OIN! THRO"!H THE TE#T: 1hen reading and analyzing the #$ te%t, the translator might find some words or structures that appear to contain problems. /. 'N(A)ILIAR, apparently, TRANS*ARENT WOR+S. These include ;ree! or $atin morphemes, they should be chec!ed, since translators of technical te%ts must not reproduce neologisms. 6owever inverted commas, a footnote or a detachable prefi% can be used. 0. (I,'RES AN+ S-).OLS. These have to be chec!ed for T$ e,uivalents. 2. SE)I/E)*T- WOR+S, which are li!ely to be reduced to simple prepositions in the T$ version. 3. 0ER.S, which, more often than not, re,uire a recasting of the T$ sentence. :. *'N WOR+S. This counting techni,ue has its attraction but its application is e%tremely difficult. The translator can then translate sentence by sentence, ma!ing grammatical shifts to form natural language. The main intention is always on loosening up the synta% in a natural way and finding a more natural word order, even finding the right "argon-word. In a technical translation, the translator can be as bold and free in recasting grammar (for

e%ample cutting up sentences, transposing clauses, converting verbs to nouns, etc.) as in any other type. #o, the translator is e%pected to produce a better te%t than the writer of the original. +s a technical translator, the format should vary according to the customer. If a cover-tocover translation is wanted, the house-style of the original te%t should be !ept. If it is a translation for a publication, its house-style should be adopted and the translator has to read carefully its bac!-numbers to see what this is. #ome classical publications have their own mar!ed house-style8 many include pronounced use of passives, restrained double-noun compounds, use of suffi%ed or non-suffi%ed verbs collocated with e,uative or allpurpose verbs, and occasional use of we . $e%ically, the main characteristic of technical language is its actual richness and its potentially infinity. ;reco-$atin terms are commonly used for classification of purposes, and in translation they serve as internationalisms, and can be used as functional e,uivalents when there is a missing term in the T$, or the referent is not !nown. The translator can ensure e,uivalent level of register by transferring standardized $atin and5or ;ree! terms. CONCL"SION: Inevitably a technical translation is so varied in topic and often diverse in register, and sometimes badly-written, that it is not easy to ma!e generalizations about. It is the !ind of writing that is closest to material reality and furthest to the mind. #o, according to 'ewmar!, as the terminology only ma!es up a small part of the whole te%t, the rest is pure language , usually in a natural style. *ommonly, translators find an authoritative te%t that aspires to such a style8 if it does not, it must be converted to a natural and elegant language, and thus the writer and the readership will be grateful.