Technical translation and the exchange by technical information. the sources of information
Translation is the means of international and interlingual communication. People have to translate from the source language into target language almost in all spheres of human activity: literature, business, politics, law, medicine, science and engineering. All these kinds of translation have something in common. These common features consist in the definition of translation itself.
Translation is the expression of what was expressed in the source language by means of the target language.
And what can be expressed by means of languages?
Translating poetry and literature we reflect thoughts, emotions and several jokes. In technical literature we should reflect information and ideas. But our everyday speech is really different from the written translation. It is known that an average native speaker usually uses about 5000 words in his/her everyday speech. But some people are famous for their rich vocabulary. Winston Churchill used about 60000 words in his writing. Technical translation is another matter. Technical translation (TT) is used for the exchange of special technical information between people speaking different languages.
Technical texts have stylistic, grammatical and lexical peculiarities.
The main stylistic features of scientific and technical texts are:
1. Information is given precisely, clearly, logically;
2. The absence of emotions and expressive elements. It is used to avoid free interpretation.
And the task of the technical translator is to reflect precisely, clearly, logically the ideas of the author.
Technical literature can be divided into three basic groups:
1.The patent literature. In patents specialists can find information about new inventions.
2.Periodicals specially intended for the exchange of information. Here we can mention branch bulletins, which contain abstracts, summaries and titles; bibliographic indicators which contain titles, summaries and reviews, etc.
3.Periodicals and other kinds of publications which are not specially intended for the exchange of technical information but can be used for this purpose. These are special books, instructions.
Technical translators often deal with the newest information, concepts and words, which don't exist in the target language. Usually expressive elements are excluded from technical literature to avoid free interpretation.
So translators should not only know and master the target language perfectly but also understand the problem, be good specialists in the fields and talented writers to express the message in the target language.
But sometimes it is difficult to understand the source message even for the experienced translator. In this situation different sources of information can help to solve the problem.
All these sources of information are divided into two groups: general sources and special (technical and scientific) sources.
If the matter being translated in very complicated and the problems remain even after using these sources of information, the translator can use the experience and knowledge of experts in different fields of science and goals. Sometimes if the original has a lot of shortenings and abbreviations translators have to use a modern dictionary of abbreviations which has the full meaning of the analyzed words.
There are several kinds of TT according to its completeness and goals.
To a great extent, the quality of translation will depend on skills of the translator, i.e. on her/his knowledge, training, cultural background, and even mood.