The primary goal of French technical translation is to communicate specific, often complex, information with complete clarity and lack of errors and/or omissions in the French language.
The following are some of the critical skills that translators must possess in order to execute successful and accurate French technical translations:
- Complete understanding of the source technical material
French technical translators must have a background in the field in which they are working; this can be demonstrated by possessing the appropriate education, certification, and work experience in a field. For especially timely and complex topics of technical translation, French technical translators may have to conduct independent research in order to understand the material fully.
- Proofreading and editing skills
It is important that the French technical translator can check the original text for inconsistencies, errors, or other issues. While proofreading the source content is not always part of the formal translation process, technical translators should recognize when there are problems with the source material; their subject-specific knowledge thereby serves as a quality control step before and during the French technical translation process.
- French-specific technical knowledge
French technical translators are responsible for adapting technical material for French-speaking markets. This can include altering number, currency, and date formats, adapting information for local regulations, adhering to industry standards in French-speaking countries, and ensuring the style is appropriate for a French audience.
- Terminology management skills
Utilizing translation memory tools such as Trados is one element in ensuring consistent and accurate use of terminology. However, before they are stored, the French translator must first determine what terms will be used; this can be a challenge when there are multiple acceptable technical translations for a term, or if a word has been newly introduced in an industry. The best translators will share information about terms in question with their project manager or the client.
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