Translation of technical terms is not quite the same as “ordinary” translation, it requires a level of knowledge and technological understanding that goes beyond linguistics and into specialist expertise. Fortunately it is precisely this level of expertise which the team at Technical Translations have at our fingertips and for us the translation of technical terms is the norm.
Often we are given projects which involve the translation of a text which is peppered with technical terms which are unique to an industry, or a particular product or service. The same acronym can mean something totally different if you are speaking to a pharmacist or an engineer. The same three letter acronym IPO has at least 65 different meanings depending who you are talking to, be it a patent attorney for whom it’s the Intellectual Property Office, a stock market analyst for whom it’s an Initial Public Offering or if you are addressing a Portuguese cancer specialist then it’s the Portuguese Institute of Oncology Instituto Português de Oncologia.
Of course technical terminology isn’t just about acronyms, but ordinary words can have entirely different meanings in different circumstances and for different audiences, so when it comes to translation of technical terms you should ensure that you are working with a technical expert who is not simply fluent as a translator, but an expert in your industry as well.
Even outside the word of science and technology it’s not uncommon for two terms to have conflicting meanings, and with the steadily increasing use of text abbreviations entering emails and other more formal communications, even the most non-scientific of texts might be misunderstood. For example the text abbreviation IMHO can mean “in my humble opinion”, to one person, “or is my hearing aid on?” to another, its all a matter of interpretation, or translation to be precise!