Translation of Scientific Texts

Translating Scientific Texts: What Not To Do

In many countries English is considered a second language, and it is generally the lingua franca of certain industries, including the life sciences. However, it should not be assumed that everyone who can benefit from scientific findings speaks English, or that all relevant findings are even being published in English.

Due to this, the translation of scientific texts becomes important to expand global scientific knowledge. That being said technical and scientific translation can be expensive, and some may try to find ways to cut costs which can lead to poor quality work and mistakes.

 

When Translating Scientific Texts Don’t:

  • Handle the translation yourself unless you have prior experience translating.
  • Rely on a non-professional linguist for the translation of scientific texts.
  • Assume everyone you are trying to reach with your texts speaks English.
  • Only rely on machine translation (such as Google Translate) for complicated and technical scientific language.

The first point is important, as bilingual researchers may take it upon themselves to translate their own texts. Even if you are fluent in multiple languages, scientific translation isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine.

Challenges for the Translation of Scientific Texts

Why is the translation of scientific texts more complicated than first imagined? There are a few reasons, but four of the main ones are:

  1. Scientific language is technical and can be difficult to convey across languages.
  2. Certain concepts may not exist in your target audience’s culture so ideas need to be adapted carefully.
  3. Information needs to be as concise as possible, with few repetitions or ambiguities to mitigate confusion.
  4. Images including graphs, charts and diagrams must be localized and formatted for the intended audience.

This is all on top of standard translation challenges including:

  • Variances in word order and grammar
  • Localization requirements for units of measurement reading styles
  • A lack of standardized terminology
  • Discrepancies among abbreviations
  • The prevalence of dialects spoken by people around the world

All of these factors considered, professional scientific translation services from a Language Service Provider (LSP) are worth the cost to ensure your scientific research will be understood.

How LSPs Handle Translation of Scientific Texts

A language service provider is more than a company you contract to perform your translation. They will work to understand what exactly your translation needs are – from what your text will be used for, down to the exact languages and dialects you need translated.

Language Service Providers ensure:

  • High quality translation work done by professional linguists with years of experience.
  • Translators with subject matter expertise in your area of scientific research.
  • Multiple sets of eyes for proofreading and editing purposes (also done by subject matter experts).
  • Adherence to strict deadlines, regulations or guidelines, and budget restrictions.
  • Professionalism and dedicated support from your project management teams.
  • The ability to scale services up or down depending on your needs.

Sharing professionally translated scientific texts with others in your field not only allows your research to be appreciated fully, but brings together global findings in the field – which in the end is beneficial to all.

Be confident in sharing your findings to readers of all languages by partnering with an experienced language service provider.

 

Learn More About Our Life Science Translation Services.