Written translation, technically accurate and that does not need to be certified by public translators. It is basically a specialized translation in a particular area of knowledge, which means that, the more the translator relies on his/her industry training and experience, the greater will his/her mastery of the subject and terminology be to translate the text in question.

Technical translations represent a challenge, because they include global and local capabilities and strategies, which must be employed by the translator during the translation process. Thus, it is crucial that the translator be knowledgeable about the subject matter, the contextual relationship, the vocabulary research, besides familiarity with the processes involved and the vocabulary adaptation. These skills will ensure that the technical translation adequately reflects the original text’s objective and function.

A complex textual genre...

Within the multi and intercultural communication space, which is characteristic of the globalized world, technical texts represent a large portion of the translation market. The concept of technical textual mode is not exclusive: the textual genres are diversified and intertwine, in a perspective without borders, that meet and articulation. The intention is to inform, guide procedures; always with precision, clarity and strictness. Thus, nowadays, we find technical specifications not only in manuals, leaflets, reports, projects and scientific texts, but also in newspaper articles, epistolary and even literary texts. Technical translations must reflect the capacity to correspond to the demands of each of such characteristics, while maintaining the quality of the original document.

When it comes to a specific area of knowledge, the difficulties begin with the nomenclature itself: financial translator, medical translator, legal translator... Translating and engineering text is not the same as translating a medical or legal text. There are advertising, economics, tax, biological texts... Computer technology texts, to make things even more complicated, include combinations and calculations expressed in notably specific linguistic codes. Finally, there is a wide range of specialized texts. Not considering the translation of major literary works, whose content involves philosophy, psychology, sociology, history... Although considered as literary translations, they require respect for the specificity of knowledge.

Therefore, it is common for translating companies – and the translators themselves – to indicate the area(s) of knowledge in which they are proficient. Therefore, there is also a current trend among researchers of technical translations, to use pragmatic or specialized designation, under the justification that both concepts cover all specific types of translations (technical, scientific, legal, financial, medical translation, etc.). 

When the terminology comes into play ...

A major difficulty encountered in the translation process is the technical terminology, especially when the translator does not master the specific subject matter. The identification of technical terms, the understanding of their meaning, the definition and validation, often under restricted conditions of time and reference materials, all this contradicts the commonplace notion that the translation of technical texts   is easily done.

Moreover, the texts often deal with the latest technology, not yet used in Brazil, the terms have not yet been translated into Portuguese. Opting to keep these terms in the original language, when they are common in the users' language, or opting for the closest translation; either way it is the translator who should ensure the specificity of meaning so that the output text is faithfully maintained and the target text can be validated.

All this makes technical translation the work of an artisan.