Scientific translation: What is it and what does it do?

Scientific translation is a very extensive branch of technical translation. As we have already seen in this blog on financial translation and legal or sworn translation, technical translations are especially complex because they belong to very specific topics in which the professional translator must be highly specialized.

What is scientific translation?

Scientific translation is focused on those complex texts belonging to academic areas in which it is necessary to have knowledge of the subject in order to understand them and make them intelligible in another language. As its name implies, this specialized translation handles texts produced in fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, and robotics, among many others.
The branch of scientific translation arises from the need to accurately interpret a specific terminology; therefore, it implies additional training for the translator to be able to translate specific scientific material accurately and without errors.

Keys to scientific translation

When embarking on a scientific translation there are some aspects to take into account regarding the specificity of the texts. Some of them are:

  • Generally, scientific articles are disseminated to share with the rest of the scientific community – and by extension with society – the progress made in a given field of study.
  • The institutions or people to whom a scientific translation is directed are familiar with scientific documentation in other languages, therefore, it is essential to have a clear knowledge of the matter and avoid misinterpretation.
  • One of the main characteristics of scientific translation is the use of specific terms and abbreviations. Therefore, the professional translator must be able to master these elements and create new texts in other languages ​​while maintaining the style, imprint, tone and meaning of the original documents.
  • Scientific translations are aimed at people who already know the subject or are even experts in the matter, therefore, any misunderstanding by the translator will be reflected in the translation and hardly go unnoticed.

What are the most common mistakes in scientific translation?

The translation of a text from one language to another will always be conditional on the translator’s knowledge and understanding of the subject in question, even more so in a case as complex as that of scientific translation.

Accurate understanding of content makes the difference between a bad translation and a correct translation. Here are some of the most common mistakes that often appear in scientific translations:

  • Syntax errors are very common when the revision that all translation work requires is omitted, especially in the case of texts with the complexity of scientific documents.
  • In those cases, in which the translator is not specialized in the subject and therefore does not fully understand the content of the text, they will probably fall into a literal translation. In general, this leads to errors that could well be avoided with a specialized scientific translation.
  • Another very common error in technical translations is related to false cognates, that is, those words that seem to be related to another word from a different language (such as cognates) but do not actually share the same etymological origin.

In short, all these misinterpretations could be avoided by resorting to a specialized translator.

How can I contact a scientific translator?

Worldly Translations is a translation agency with more than ten years of experience, so we know how to respond quickly and efficiently to the particular needs of each of our clients. We have specialized translators, so we assign each job to the most appropriate person to carry out that task.
If you need a scientific translation, contact us as we have expert translators in scientific documentation from different fields of research.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about what scientific translation is all about and why it is so important to share the achievements of the international scientific community around the world. Until next time!