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The Technical Translation of Scientific Papers

What issues can arise?

One of the problems with having written a really good scientific paper for publication is that unless you have the paper translated so that it can appear in professional journals published in other languages, you are still going to be restricted to sharing it with your own language group.

Not many people consider translating scientific papers which is often a shame, especially if the paper isn't originally in one of the major scientific languages. It is often tempting to translate it yourself but the danger here is that the contents of the paper may well be tainted by an amateur language expert. This may be less important if you are presenting the paper in person, but it is very important if the paper is being submitted for publication.

If you do want to get a scientific paper translated then firstly you need to find a translation company that specializes in technical translation and secondly, you need to work out what languages you want the paper translated into. You, your colleagues, or supervisors will probably know a lot more about this than anybody - translation prices are probably not as large as you may think but they will grow with every different language you are translating into so it is best to be restrictive to the most useful target audiences.

You should also look for a translation company that will work with you as a partnership and understands that you know more about the topic than they do - Some concepts and terms may be new and possibly untranslatable so this could be a factor and also, the paper may need some format reworking to suit the style guides of other markets. These are just two factors you may run into and smaller more general translation companies may find this next to impossible to cope with!


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