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Translating large technical documents

Translating large technical documents and data sheets

Translating technical documents requires a high level of accuracy and technical expertise. Even a minor imprecision could have serious legal implications.

This applies to:

  • Operating or installation manuals
  • Maintenance manuals
  • Project specifications
  • Technical data sheets
  • Material safety data sheets
  • Standards
  • Patents

Units and technical terms

A poor quality translation could slip-up on issues such as the difference between a UK and a US billion, a decimal point or a decimal comma, or the conversion of metric to imperial measurements. QuickSilver’s specialised translators will ensure that your technical information is absolutely accurate, in terms of language and of figures.

Design and DTP

If you’ll be producing your technical document in two or more languages, it is cost-efficient to consider this from the start. Different languages take up different amounts of space — often very different amounts, as is the case with English and Chinese, for example.

For this reason, if your design accommodates only one language, you will have to adapt, maybe even re-design it, when you translate. For example, imagine you have a two page spread in Spanish, but the English translation only takes up one page. Or, even worse, the other way round, and you need to insert an extra page to accommodate the Spanish text.

This is particularly true if the design/layout is relatively rigid and inflexible. Often graphic designers are unaware of the challenges involved in setting up and maintaining multi-lingual documentation. And don’t forget that designers generally charge by the hour, so retroactively adapting your technical document will generate significant expenses.

For these reasons, we believe that the language service provider (LSP) should be involved in the DTP process from the outset.

One of the techniques we use is to pay close attention to the early stages of design work. For instance, it is important that the text ‘flows’; that the format accepts text segments of varying length; and that you avoid the use of manual line breaks within paragraphs.

Benefits to you

We are able to offer considerable savings to our customers by managing the DTP, as well as the translation(s) of a technical document:

  • Reducing Time-to-market — as soon as the translations are ready, you can release your document. No more to-ing and fro-ing between designers, translators and project managers.
  • Reducing Costs — you do not need to pay a graphic design team.
  • Considerably reducing the Hassle! All you need to do is send us the document, and we’ll send it back… finished!


In addition, our translation software ensures that when you need to update the document, it will be easy! We understand that producing a ‘new’ version of a technical document often doesn’t involve very much actual revision. We use (client-specific) translation memories and termbases. This means, we only translate text that has actually changed — rather than translating the whole thing from scratch. This, of course, saves you both time, and money.

Contact us for a quote!

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