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Scientific Translation

Scientific translation

What is scientific translation?

Scientific translationsOver the course of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st, mankind has acquired more scientific and technological knowledge than ever before in human history. Scientific advances, the development of new technologies and instant access to information from anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse make scientific translation a necessity for experts.

Scientific translation, a speciality within the field of technical translation that includes working with a particularly specialised language related to medicine, pharmaceuticals, biology, physics, etc., is today in high demand. Delivering a top-quality scientific translation requires extensive knowledge of the subject and exhaustive terminology research. The translation has to be clear, detailed and precise.


Is scientific translation the same as technical translation?

Identifying a clear difference between technical and scientific translation is often challenging, since they are both specialised types of translation that share similar content in the same field: science and technology.

However, there are differences between the purpose and intention of the source texts and, consequently, their translation.

  • Scientific texts generally have a theoretical focus and an informative purpose: to transmit the author’s knowledge through papers that present theories or research work. The scientific translation of this kind of text is geared towards professionals in the same field, who read the texts in order to learn. This is why these types of translations use formal, academic language. Examples include laboratory tests, academic articles, theses and academic books.
  • Technical texts generally have a practical focus, since their goal is to transmit information for a practical application. Technical translation of these texts and documents often takes place in the industrial sector and can be found in instruction manuals and assembly or user guides.

Types of scientific translation

Our specialised translators provide scientific translations of all types of documents related to the fields of medicine, pharmacy, biology, physics, astronomy, nutrition, etc. Examples include the following types of texts:

  • Academic articles, scientific articles and research papers
  • Clinical and laboratory trials
  • Scientific research
  • Scientific manuals and specialised books
  • University theses, dissertations and scientific papers
  • Conferences, lectures and congresses
  • Publications in specialised journals

Most common languages used when translating scientific articles

According to historian Michael Gordin, scientific research and the publication of scientific papers or articles in the late 19th century was mostly done in three of the world’s main languages: English, German and French. However, in the 1970s, English took the lead as the “universal” language of science and is now de rigueur, with 90% of scientific papers in English today.

This is why, broadly speaking, scientific documents are generally translated from English into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.


Characteristics of scientific translation

The main characteristic of scientific translation is the use of highly specialised terminology that is specific to each field. Scientific texts and documents often contain formulas, acronyms and abbreviations that the translator needs to be familiar with to be able to accurately translate the same data.

Dizzying technological progress in recent decades and the use of new tools in scientific research have made it possible for the scientific community to explore new fields of research, producing newly created terms that have yet to be translated into other languages. The translator is tasked with choosing the best solution, “fitting” the meaning into the translation.


The scientific translator

A good scientific translator must be a professional translator with training and experience in both science and thorough knowledge of the subject matter of the scientific document that needs translated.

Professional translators always translate into their native language and have a perfect command of the source language. They also need to be rigorous and meticulous when it comes to terminology, compiling glossaries and reading specific literature on the field of translation. Translators of scientific articles must keep up to date on the scientific advances in their area of specialisation, as well as thoroughly document their work and use reference material.

In some cases, communication between the scientific translator and the author(s) of the document will be necessary during the process of translating scientific documents, files or articles into other languages to clarify any questions about the meaning of new terms that are not in any previous translations and to guarantee the quality of the final text.

The scientific translator plays a key role in the communication of information and their work must be clear, objective, concise and precise, using scientific language and paying close attention to detail.

One of the prerequisites for ensuring impeccable results in the translation of scientific documents is a thorough review of the final result.


Why choose Acantho as your scientific translator?

We provide scientific translations into different languages (among other linguistic services) to clients that include laboratories, chemical companies and universities.

If your company needs a scientific translation service for documents, articles or research, you’ll find the most qualified scientific translators at Acantho, expert professionals who guarantee the highest quality in translation.

Call us on 976 910 302 or send us an email with the article or document you need translated to We’ll be more than happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. We’ll take a look at your documents and give you an obligation-free quote at no cost.