Which industries require technical translation services in the UK?

January 13, 2023

Technical translation services in the UK can cover various industry specialisms and output requirements. In our blog this week, we take a closer look at the sectors that may require technical translations, why accuracy in these industries is so important and how UK technical translation services can support your global operations.

What is a technical translation?

Technical translation can cover a broad range of subjects and content types. However, technical content generally contains information on specialist subjects, often written by industry experts. It often uses technical terminology that may be unfamiliar to wider audiences, as it is only used in that particular professional field.

Therefore, when undertaking a technical translation, linguists must have an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the subject area, as well as excellent attention to detail and accuracy in their work, to ensure the correct vocabulary and style is applied in the target language.

Which sectors require technical translation services in the UK?

Typical technical translations requests in the UK come from the scientific, technology or manufacturing sectors. Below are four examples:

Manufacturing & engineering

In manufacturing and engineering, precision is vital to ensure products, equipment or machinery work and are maintained effectively, safely and in compliance with regulations. Any errors could be extremely costly.

To reliably share knowledge amongst professionals in this sector, technical document creation and control is a key part of many businesses’ management process, and these documents require accurate translation when distributed across their multinational teams.

Documents that may require technical translation in this sector include technical manuals, safety guidelines, product catalogues, patent applications, and software localisation. This information will likely contain many technical terms. Therefore, a subject specialist is needed to ensure these are translated correctly.

Inaccuracies in the translation of technical manuals, for example, could lead to incorrect assembly or installation of equipment, resulting in equipment malfunctions and unsafe working conditions. Inaccuracies in safety guidelines could cause injuries to workers or other personnel. Meanwhile, errors in product catalogues could create customer confusion and result in incorrect purchases.

engineering, construction

Medical and pharmaceutical

Accuracy is undeniably critical when developing and delivering medicines, treatments and procedures for various conditions and illnesses, with the communication of information via medical translation relied upon to improve human health and even save lives worldwide. Even minor inaccuracies can have serious consequences.

For example, inaccuracies in the technical translation of clinical trial protocols could lead to incorrect conclusions about the safety and efficacy of a drug or cause erroneous dosing recommendations. Errors in informed consent forms could mean patients do not fully understand the risks and benefits of a treatment and withdraw from the trial or do not follow the protocols correctly. Meanwhile, inaccuracies in package inserts and research papers could generate confusion among healthcare professionals and patients, possibly causing misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

Doctors, pharmacists and health professionals spend years studying and training in their chosen profession. Equally, translating the medical and pharmaceutical terminology requires a specialist, as this vocabulary is often complex and not regularly present in everyday use.

The types of technical translation in the medical and pharmaceutical sector could include clinical trial protocols, informed consent forms, package inserts, and research papers.


Information and technology

The documents that may require technical translation in the information and technology sector include software user guides, API documentation, technical specifications, and website localisation.

Any inaccuracies in translating content for the information and technology sector can also have severe consequences. For example, in the case of software documentation, inaccuracies could lead to user confusion and result in software bugs, crashes, and security vulnerabilities. In the IT field, inaccurate instructions or documentation may create problems with system configuration and could cause costly downtime.

Ensuring a high-quality, reliable technical translation is therefore critical to ensure that the intended audience can understand and correctly use the information provided and to avoid these costly mistakes and potential risks.

digital, IT, computers

Energy and natural resources

Accuracy is essential when translating documents for the energy and natural resources sector because its activity involves a wide range of complex processes and technologies that can significantly impact the environment and human health and have massive financial consequences.

Inaccuracies in technical documents, such as drilling and exploration reports, could lead to unsafe working conditions, equipment malfunctions and environmental disasters. For example, if drilling plans contain errors, they could generate blowouts and spills that cause extensive environmental damage and harm human health. Similarly, inaccurate environmental impact assessments could mean underestimated impacts that fail to address the potential risks of a project.

In each of these above sectors and many others, high-quality technical translation is paramount when communicating with global audiences. As well as the specific consequences mentioned, any errors could also lead to regulatory non-compliance, which could result in fines, legal action and damage to the company’s reputation.

environmental engineering

How does Mission Translate deliver technical translation services in the UK?

At Mission Translate, we appreciate the need for high-quality translations when working on technical documents and the wider consequences of any inaccuracies. It is why we only work with fully qualified, native linguists who are specialists in their field.

When partnering with linguists for technical translations, we look for individuals with first-hand experience or training in the area who demonstrate their commitment to maintaining their knowledge to be up-to-date with current protocols.

We also adopt ISO-approved quality control processes and use innovative terminology management tools to ensure the utmost accuracy and consistency. You can read more about our approach in our previous blog here.

Technical documents are created to deliver crucial information, whether it’s how a product works, how an operational procedure should be carried out or what risks are involved. Their accuracy is relied upon for the safety and security of lives, businesses and environments, and when communicating to global audiences, their translation fulfils this same purpose, so they must be treated with great care.

If you require any assistance with your technical translations, please get in contact with our team.

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European Office:

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