Scientific translation presents a number of challenges and the translator needs to have certain specific skills. Here, we will look at the characteristics of this type of translation and the expertise required to carry it out.
What is a scientific translation?
Scientific translation may be needed for any document of a scientific nature, for example for the translation of a medical or pharmaceutical text, or a text relating to the fields of chemistry, physics, the environment, engineering, biology, astrophysics, nuclear energy, genetics, biotechnology, etc.
These scientific texts can include research works, publications, journals and magazines, patents, reviews, reports, scientific articles, theses, scientific manuals, product sheets, clinical trial reports, product inserts...
When is a scientific translation necessary?
Scientific translations are often needed for sharing knowledge internationally, for research work, or the promotion and marketing of a drug or pharmaceutical product.
Exchanges between international partners (laboratories, schools and universities, researchers, hospitals, etc.) of different languages may therefore require translations of scientific texts.
What are the skills required for a scientific translation?
Scientific translations are used in a very wide range of different specialisations. A scientific translator must have in-depth knowledge of the sector in question: they must master the codes, terminologies, standards and local legislation in force.
Scientific texts can be very complex, and the stakes can be high. Any ambiguity or approximation in the translation could affect the proper understanding of the text and could have harmful consequences in certain contexts. Furthermore, the scientific world is evolving rapidly, and the translator must keep abreast of the latest developments and terminology.
It should also be noted that scientific content can also have a commercial dimension (for example: advertising or marketing texts promoting a pharmaceutical product), and a legal dimension.
A good scientific translator should be a professional translator, who is trained in this type of translation. They should translate into their mother tongue and have a perfect command of the source language. They should also preferably live in the country where the target language is used, as this makes it easier to master an up-to-date vocabulary. In addition, they should be meticulous in their work, show attention to detail and be very focused on delivering a high-quality translation.
Scientific translation FAQ
Only a professional translator specialising in scientific translation can reliably and accurately translate a scientific text. Because of the high stakes involved in such translations, it is strongly recommended that you use a renowned professional translation agency or a service provider with many years of experience.
The price of a scientific translation varies according to the service provider (agency, freelance...), but also according to the number of words, the language pairing and the field of specialisation concerned.
Free translation tools do not provide an accurate translation of scientific content. A specialist translator uses professional software to assist them when they are translating scientific articles.
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