Translation Essentials and the Manufacturing Industry

When the world changed centuries, leaving the 1800s and crossing into the 1900s, it was not just a new time designation. The human race would soon make technological, medical, and industrial strides unlike anything seen before in the history of the earth. Automobiles, airplanes, electric lighting, telephones, the production line, steel factories, etc.

One hundred years later, at the dawn of the next century, the world was virtually unrecognizable to the nonagenarian or centenarian as regional flight gave way to supersonic and even space flight, basic automobiles were replaced by the quest for self-driving vehicles, telephones were passed over for wireless technology, and even steel was replaced in many areas by ultra-durable space-aged polymers and ultralight metals. This doesn’t even address the advent of the Internet, social media, 3D technology, and the like.

What does this have to do with translation and the manufacturing industry? Each and every one of these advances is now shared on a global scale in a matter of seconds. Nobody lives in a vacuum; in every area of life, there is an industry racing to create the next best advancement, gain a moment of fame, and make their fortune. In order for this to take place, several things must happen, including:

  • Collection and compilation of data
  • Patent applications
  • Business Plans
  • Sharing of Data

Each of these areas has one major idea in common: language. Let’s take a brief look at each area.

Collection and Compilation of Data

When a new idea is formulated, there needs to be a new way to describe it. What is it, what has been done, why is it important?. This means that new terms need to be created in order to explain concepts that did not exist before. In the world of translation, these are known as neoterms. These neoterms do not yet have equivalents in any other language; translators need to decide how to describe them in a way that makes sense to the target audience. Consider words and phrases such as “multi-factor productivity”, “Teflon”, “Lucite”, “nylon”, “interconnectivity”, and so forth. These are not even highly technical terms such as Poly(methyl methacrylate) or thermoplastic. The reality is that hundreds and thousands of new words are created every year and they need to be effectively translated.

Patent Applications: If you want your information and advancements to remain yours and not be duplicated, replicated, and sold as cheap knock-offs without any compensation, you need to have effective patents. These patents must be filed all over the world. The problem with patents is that a single word, formatting error, or punctuation challenge on the application can negate it or leave it open to a challenge in court. There are few areas where translation services are more critical than with patents and legal paperwork.

Business Plans. As with patents, your business plans need to take into consideration the various parts of the world you will be doing business. The manufacturing industry is global. The ability to globally translate your plans, requirements, processes, and procedures in an accurate and timely way is critical.

Sharing of Data: Since new creations and processes need sharing, you need a way to get your advances to the world. This requires the translation of all those new terms and ideas. Complicating the issue is the cross-utilization of technology and information. What is the difference between Lucite and Plexiglass? To an American consumer, not much. They are simply different words for the same invention offered by different manufacturers.

In an international environment, the words need to make sense to the consumer. As an example of how difficult this can be, consider the translation of Lucite that is still found on many Spanish products: material plástico transparente que reemplaza al vidrio (transparent plastic material that replaces the glass). While the transition is being made to the new Spanish equivalent, “lucita”, on many products, this new term may only add confusion and not reduce it. Plexiglass is simply translated termoplástica (thermoplastic) in many countries.

You have to decide if you want your new words to be transliterated or transcreated. In short, do you want the name or process to be pronounced nearly the same way everywhere, or is the understanding of your creation is more important.

How Can Advances in the Translation Industry Help You

It should be no surprise that the translation industry has advanced along with other industries. Today, computer-assisted translation (CAT) services can speed the translation process while increasing accuracy, especially when the translations are accomplished by more than one person.


CAT services are highly beneficial to the manufacturing sector as the myriad neoterms and neophrases can be updated into a translation database and ensure accurate and consistent translation of the terms exactly the way you want them. Not only are CAT systems useful for translating your technical documents, the computers can be customized to focus on your specific type of manufacturing.

In addition to new terminology, the manufacturing sector has many standardized terms and technical specifications. This is the strength of CAT translation.

Ensure your translation services team has an expert-level of native fluency in the source and target languages as well as in your specific field of manufacturing to ensure all of your patent, legal, and business paperwork is flawless. Simply put, you cannot afford to have anything less than perfect when it comes to these services.

Share your thoughts