29 September 2011

Technical, but not tough_#1

It is widely believed that technical texts are more difficult to translate than so-called ‘general’ texts. Indeed, many language service providers (LSPs) charge more for technical texts than they do for ‘general’ ones.
This translator believes that surcharges for ‘technical’ texts are based on the assumption that all translators are generalists hence, by definition, not specialised in any particular area. This may be true of many translators and may be more common for certain language combinations than others, but it certainly isn’t true for all LSPs.
Today, many translators working in highly-sought-after language combinations find that they can provide better service, work faster and earn more by specialising in a small selection of fields.
For these translators, more technical often means better translations, particularly if the original uses consistent and accepted terminology. If the meaning is clear and the terminology familiar, specialised translators can produce good work by leveraging specialist subject knowledge using proven work methods.

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