Scientific Texts: Aspects of Translation


Scientific texts are one of the most challenging materials when it comes to translation. A linguist has to consider a variety of aspects when dealing with them – the target text has to be more than just a literal translation. Besides the deep knowledge of specific terminology for particular scientific fields, this kind of translation involves quite a bit of localization: unless present in the source text, every ambiguity must be eliminated, measures correctly converted and comparisons often need to be adjusted.

For instance, if a French text on glaciers compares the size of an ice field to the size of France, when translated into German, the comparison object may be changed to Germany to sound more familiar to the German audience. However, cross-cultural issues are by far not the only difficulty, nor the biggest difficulty in translating scientific sources.

Modern sciences contain numerous fields and subfields; some of the studies deal with a range of highly specific material which may only be relevant for particular countries. For this reason many terms don’t have an existing equivalent in the target language. This is an especially problematic case for a translator, who then has to decide whether to leave the term in the source language and provide an explanation, or translate it and thus create a new scientific term in the target language. Both involve a high level of understanding the material.

If the linguist chooses to translate the foreign term he/she has to be absolutely sure that he/she understood its meaning correctly and found a translation that conveys the sense of the word to 100% accuracy. To ensure this, the translator needs to be an expert in the particular field.

Here at LingoStar, we have specialized translators from all over the world able to assist you in translating scientific texts of different fields. We can provide language services in over 100 languages, including localization services. Our project managers will handpick the translators for every single project to ensure the translation of your scientific document is carried out by true experts in the appropriate field. Call us today or send us an email for a free quote!