Problems in Scientific-Technical Translation
Every area of translation presents its own difficulties, and the scientific-technical translation field is no exception. Absolute accurate and subject knowledge is key, as so often.
As English became the universal language in the 20th century, most scientific research is now written in English all over the world. Nowadays, the world is facing globalization in the growing demand for communicating scientific knowledge to the public in the form of different media including different reading materials. Perhaps there is also an increasing call for translation of these vital types of knowledge into language for the readers. Hence, it is essential for translators and interpreters to be aware of the translation problems that may affect the quality of translations.
Scientific research is the most popular source of translation work and some of the most thorough and yet complex research is carried in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. The world of scientific research is vital and thus, a foreign audience requires expert translators who are competitive and reliable in the scientific translation field.
So what are the usual and common problems in scientific translation?
The structural and lexical differences between languages could be one the major problem in translation, especially, translating idioms and collocations from one language to another. Another one is the problem of grammar: every language has grammatical rules, which every translator and interpreters should clearly understand in producing an accurate scientific translation. Surely, if a translator does not have sufficient knowledge about the source and the target language, everything in the translation product can be an embarrassing disaster.
There are certain techniques in order to eliminate scientific and technical translation problems. Following these techniques doesn’t entirely mean that the translation product would be error free. There may be some techniques on how to make the scientific translation more effective and easy. These include back translation, consultation with other people and interviews or questionnaires or any kind of test that will eventually help to solve translation problems.
When it comes to translation it has always been sound advice that the translation product should be accurate, which includes the adequacy and equivalence of the translation. In addition, most linguists believe that there are two types of equivalence: formal and dynamic. Formal equivalence focuses on the form as well as the content of the message, whereas dynamic equivalence focuses on producing an equivalent effect on the target language. The concept of the translation equivalent effect may however be rather vague.
Many translators perform translation using different techniques which they would think will suit to the translation type and the complexity of the area. However, the main point here is that the translation process has to find the effective ways in order to obtain the most accurate translation possible for clients. Expertise in the specialised field and linguistic proficiency are the most essential factors needed in order to produce a high-quality translation product. Without it, translation, including communication and understanding would be vague.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a leading translation agency in London.