Workshop on Technical Translation

ITIA Technical Translation Workshop FlyerTo mark the official launch of my book Scientific and Technical Translation Explained, I will be giving a workshop on technical translation at the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin on 20th October. This workshop is part of the Irish Translators’ & Interpreters’ Association’s continuing professional development series and will give participants a hands-on introduction to some of the key issues in technical translation.

Some of the topics which will be covered include:

  • What technical translation is and why it is so important;
  • Typical technical texts and their features;
  • Analysing texts and developing translation strategies;
  • Developing your writing skills;
  • Understanding your audience;
  • Common pitfalls and how to deal with them.

For details on how to register, visit the ITIA website.


::: Update :::
My PowerPoint presentation from this workshop is now available here.


Time to throw away your dictionaries?

One of the great myths of technical translation is that it is all about specialised terminology. It isn’t that surprising really because it is one of the first things that strikes most people when they look at a technical text. But is it really such a problem? Peter Newmark once said that terminology accounts for a mere 5-10% of a typical technical text. I recently spoke to a senior translator from the World Intellectual Property Organization who said that their analyses of patent abstracts showed a 50% terminology content but I would say that, given the specialised and highly specific function of these texts, this is probably the exception rather than the rule.

"Damn you to hell bulky over-priced dictionaries. I've got me an Internet!"

A more practical use for dictionaries?

But anyway, assuming that Newmark’s estimate is true and even taking into account the myriad types of texts where the proportion of terminology may vary slightly, you have to ask the question: So what? What’s the big deal with terminology? Continue reading


The Coming of Age of Technical Translation: an Introduction

Editorial first published as: Byrne, Jody (2009) The Coming of Age of Technical Translation. The Journal of Specialised Translation, Issue 11, Special Issue on Technical Translation, pp.2-5.

Scientific and technical knowledge has always been a prized commodity throughout history (Tebeaux 1997) and the communication of this information through translation has played a tremendous role in development of human civilisations and the advance of science and technology (see for instance Delisle 1995 and Montgomery 2000). Its importance is without doubt growing Continue reading


Suppression as a Form of Creativity in Technical Translation

First published as Byrne, Jody (2006) Suppression as a Form of Creativity in Technical Translation. Ian Kemble (ed.) Translation and Creativity:How Creative is the Translator? Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth, pp.6-14

Abstract: Any discussion of creativity in translation depends on our definition of “creativity”. One approach to creativity might be to regard it simply as something which is not the norm or which is not expected. In the case of technical translation, particularly of instructional texts, translators may be met with artefacts of the original author’s creativity Continue reading