When most people think of translation services, they often envision subtitled movies or translations of great works of literature. But in truth, one of the most common arenas in which professional linguists practice their craft is in the field of technical translations within the manufacturing industry. Technical translations are just what the term implies: namely, they include translations of documents that deal with technological or scientific information. Within the manufacturing industry, technical translations typically include user and service manuals, online help, quality control guidelines, safety manuals, product specifications, employee handbooks, patents, and manufacturing guidelines for production line workers.

A typical manufacturing company is comprised of a variety of departments, each of which plays a crucial role in the success of the business. So anything that aids in the production and promotion of the product being manufactured ultimately improves sales and the bottom line of the organization. When it comes to technical translations, even those that don’t seem directly connected to the sales of a product still benefit the overall efficiency of production and contribute to the success of the business. What follows are some of the most common forms of technical translations and the advantages they bring to any manufacturing company:

Translations of employee-related

Guidelines created for workers to follow are some of the most crucial technical documents that should be translated for a manufacturing company. The reason is simple: ISO certification depends on it. The International Organization for Standardization is an independent international organization and develops standards for the manufacturing industry. These standards ensure the safety, quality and efficiency of the company’s products, services and systems. In order to maintain ISO certification, the manufacturing company must provide employee documentation in the native language of the worker. This includes employee handbooks, guidelines for conduct, safety manuals, manufacturing and quality control guidelines, etc.

Translations of customer-related documentation

No matter what product a manufacturing company is selling – from laboratory equipment to passenger cars – the associated documentation that explains to the consumer how to operate and care for that product are vital. And those customers must be able to understand the documentation that accompanies the product they’ve purchased. So technical translations of operator manuals and online help, for example, are an essential part of every product sold. Most of us have experienced the frustration of trying to operate a piece of equipment or assemble a newly purchased product using poorly translated technical documentation, often reacting by swearing that we will never purchase that company’s product again. High quality translations of customer documentation isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have.

Translations of patents

In this day and age of globalization, when an increasing number of companies are competing within the worldwide marketplace, patent translation is more important than ever before. This allows people from around the world to access information on new product development.

The ability to produce high quality translations of technical documents requires much more than fluency in the target language. In fact, because most of this type of content includes specialized terminology that is specific to whatever industry is involved, translators need to have a solid understanding of that industry in addition to language fluency and years of translation experience. Manufacturing encompasses an extremely broad range of industries — including everything from computers to kitchen appliances and pharmaceuticals – each of which carries with it specialized vocabulary and terminology. Complicating the issue even more is the fact that several manufacturing companies must meet the guidelines and requirements of one or more regulatory agencies. This is why finding a translator with industry experience is so crucial for technical translations. The best way to find a language professional with this background and skillset is by contacting a reputable translation company; preferably one with demonstrated experience in providing technical translation services.