Technical & Business Translation Jobs

Technical translation is typically the translation of technical writing such as manuals, user guides, training classes, patents, contracts, etc.

It can also encompass the translation of texts that contain a high degree of specialized terminology (such as vocabulary pertaining to computers, video games, cell phones, or housing/building). Therefore, technical translators typically have an in-depth of the understanding in which they are translating. If not, they at least have the ability to learn and apply a specific set of vocabulary and concepts.

Because of the importance of consistent terminology in technical translation (as well as the fact that technical writing can be very formulaic and repetitive), many technical translators choose to use computer-assisted translation (also know as CAT, machine-assisted translation or machine-aided translation). Basically, CAT is when a person does the actual translating, but he or she is assisted by computer software. Typically, this includes translation memory and terminology databases to anticipate word usage and spell-check translations. Translators can record and save old translations in a translation memory database for future use and easy vocabulary searches. In computer-assisted translation, the translation memory software does not actually translate anything by itself. In a machine translation system (similar to online translators such as Google Translate), the translation is done by a machine that actively produces language and translations based on grammatical rules and vocabulary.

“I started doing technical translations for company training manuals and training Power Point presentations. As an educator, the flow of the material was very comfortable for me. The transition from academic to technical translator basically involved me updating my lexicon to include relevant technical terms and verifying their usage with French friends in technical fields. Once I got used to the format and vocabulary used in the technical writing I was translating, I enjoyed the process quite a bit. Now, about 40% of my translation income comes from technical translation companies. I work with 3 international companies that use me exclusively as their French translator.” Jen Westmoreland Bouchard, Principal Translator and Owner of Lucidité Writing LLC.

Businesses use translators for many different reasons, including website translation, correspondence (emails and letters) translation, document (contracts, agreements, etc.) translation, product descriptions and packaging, and translation of company bios or transcripts of speeches. With the growing number of companies going international, website translation has become absolutely necessary. Many companies have versions of their site in multiple languages.

Some companies have constantly changing “news” sections of their site or even a blog associated with it. Because this content is always being updated, consistent translation is needed.

There are many translators who make a living translating exclusively for one or two international companies. Though many major international corporations have exclusive contracts with large translation companies, there are many smaller companies that work with freelance translators.

“I frequently do correspondence translations for various international companies. The employee from the American company will send me an email or letter they want to send the French employee, I’ll translate it and send it back to them. I typically bid on these projects in ‘packages’ of 5-10 emails or letters, or we agree on a per word rate. I get a lot of repeat business from these clients. International businesses are always looking for reliable translators,” says Bouchard

“We do translations for businesses and nonprofit organizations so the documents range from contracts to marketing materials,” says Janine Libbey, Spanish Translator and Interpreter for P&L Translations.

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