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Specialist translation - Technical Translation

Technical Translations

In 1995, the Multi-Lingua translation agency was awarded the tender for complex translation tasks announced by Magyar Suzuki Zrt. Besides translation, the tasks also included technical and linguistic revision as well as printing. From that time on, Multi-Lingua prepared user manuals for Suzuki vehicles for a period of ten years in a total of 13 European languages, as well as the Hungarian service manuals.

For a period of almost ten years starting in 1995, Multi-Lingua translated the user manuals for Nokia mobile phones and was responsible for many of the expressions that we associate with mobile phones today – such as the translation for emoticons (hangulatjel), roaming (barangolás), and call waiting (hívásvárakoztatás) – and that were later used by other manufacturers as well.

IT Translations

By IT translations, we mean mostly software localization, but we also translate texts regarding computers and hardware (PCs, laptops, printers, etc.).

What is a technical text?

Many people would point to the use of technical terms as one of the main characteristics of this type of text. However, technical passages can be found in many different styles of writing, such as legal texts, novels, advertisements, budget documents and educational material.

These passages may or may not be purely technical, but the mere fact that they are part of a larger text with more than one intended purpose for the reader means that they cannot be classified strictly as technical writing. If a text betrays the slightest rhetorical, esthetical, humorous, or argumentative touch, its purpose cannot be said to be solely practical. So, if the use of specialized terminology is not a sufficient identifier, what does classify a piece of writing as technical?
Well, one feature that sets a technical text apart from other writing is its strictly utilitarian purpose: the sole function is to respond to a need for information or instruction generated by the reader’s need to perform a technical task. Would anyone read operating instructions or safety procedures for fun or moral enlightenment?

The readers—or, more precisely, the users—of such texts feel that they have no choice but to consult instruction manuals because there is no other or better means of discovering how to, for example, mount their cupboard, follow a maintenance procedure, or repair their extractor fan.

The original article was published in the July 2013 issue of The ATA Chronicle and was written by Mathilde Fontanet.

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