Training modules on technical translations into Italian


I wrote the following two training modules for ICon (Italian Culture on the Net) Group. In partnership with three Italian universities, ICoN offers a Master in Translation modeled after the European Master’s in Translation. Below you can read the English translation of the Contents and of the Guide to the module for each module. The copyright of the two training modules belongs to ICoN. On the ICon site you can read the original versions in Italian as well as the first unit of each module: Introduzione alla traduzione tecnologica I and Introduzione alla traduzione tecnologica II.

Introduction to technical translation I

Introduction to technical translation II

Introduction to technical translation I

  

Roberto Crivello

Freelance translator specializing in technical translation
formerly a research and development electrical engineer in the field of microwave tubes

  


Introduction to the module

 

This module provides some introductory information about translating technical texts from English and includes relevant examples, techniques, and approaches. The primary characteristic of every technical text is the use of terms in one or more special languages. This means that the translator must recognize the various special languages employed and must solve translation problems using the terminology and register appropriate to the type of readership the text is principally intended to address. This module aims to illustrate the founding principles for implementing this method.


Contents of teaching units

 

TU 1 – Introduction to technical translation

This unit explores the principal characteristics of technical translation and provides practical examples.

1.1 – General considerations on technical translation

1.2 – The two main categories of technical texts and how they are typically laid out in English

1.3 – The ideal profile for a specialized translator (1 of 2)

1.4 – The ideal profile for a specialized translator (2 of 2)

1.5 – Types of technical texts and the principal criteria for technical translation

 

TU 2 – General aspects of technical texts

This unit discusses some recurring characteristics of technical texts, in both Italian and English, and provides practical examples.

2.1 – Principal characteristics of technical texts in English and Italian: (1 of 3)

2.2 – Principal characteristics of technical texts in English and Italian: (2 of 3)

2.3 – Principal characteristics of technical texts in English and Italian: (3 of 3)

2.4 – Use of common words with technical meanings in technical texts in English and Italian

2.5 – Resemanticizations in technical texts in English and Italian

 

TU 3 – General procedure for translation projects

This unit illustrates the general procedure for a translation project, from examining the text to delivery to the client, providing practical examples.

3.1 – Examining and reading the text

3.2 – Becoming familiar with the overall terminology of the text and research

3.3 – Translation

3.4 – Initial quality control: revising your own text

3.5 – Final quality control (revision) and delivering the translation

 

TU 4 – Fundamental problems in technical translations from English to Italian

This unit presents some of the most common grammatical, semantic, and syntactical problems that occur in technical translations from English to Italian, providing practical examples.

4.1 – Translating possessive adjectives

4.2 – Translating modal verbs

4.3 – Translating prepositions

4.4 – Translating acronyms and abbreviations

4.5 – Translating units of measure

 

TU 5 – Reference and research

This unit addresses some of the leading sources for reference and research for technical translations, providing practical examples.

5.1 – General monolingual and bilingual dictionaries

5.2 – Specialized dictionaries and trade magazines

5.3 – The Internet: company and university web sites

5.4 – The Internet: forums of experts and translators’ forums/mailing lists (1 of 2)

5.5 – The Internet: forums of experts and translators’ forums/mailing lists (2 of 2)

 

TU 6 – Principal problems and traps in technical translations from English to Italian – 1

This unit describes some of the main problems to avoid in technical translation – terminological inaccuracies and lack of concision – providing practical examples.

6.1- Terminological accuracy (1 of 3)

6.2 – Terminological accuracy (2 of 3)

6.3 – Terminological accuracy (3 of 3)

6.4 – Concision (1 of 2)

6.5 – Concision (2 of 2)

 

TU 7 – Principal problems and traps in technical translations from English to Italian – 2

This unit examines some of the main problems to avoid in technical translation – ineffective style and false friends – providing practical examples.

7.1 – Style and effective writing in technical translations (1 of 3)

7.2 – Style and effective writing in technical translations (2 of 3)

7.3 – Style and effective writing in technical translations (3 of 3)

7.4 – Influence of English and false friends in technical translations (1 of 2)

7.5 – Influence of English and false friends in technical translations (2 of 2)

 

Guide to the module

 

Goal of the module

The general goal of this module is to present the introductory information needed to address the translation of technical texts from English. There is a wide variety of these kinds of texts: advertisements, brochures, catalogues, product user manuals, company newsletters, installation, use, and maintenance manuals intended for operators, press releases, presentations, scripts, and web sites.  All of these texts share a common characteristic: the use of terms from one or more special languages, which the translator must therefore identify. The translator must then recreate the meaning of the English text using the terminology and register appropriate to the type of audience for which the document is intended.

This requires him to understand the technical level of the English text in order to conduct the necessary terminological research, determine the correct translations of all special terms, establish what is the main type of reader for which the text was created, and on this basis decide what the technical level of the translated text must be and perform the translation using the terminology and register best suited to convey the information and message presented by the English text.

Therefore, this module aims to illustrate the fundamental principles of this method.

 

List of objectives

 

TU 1 – Introduction to technical translation

The objective of this teaching unit is to acquire a basic knowledge of the characteristics and goals of specialized translation.

Sub-objective 1: learn the principles of specialized translation

Sub-objective 2: gain familiarity with the subjects discussed

Sub-objective 3: recognize the various types of technical texts

Sub-objective 4: understand the skills required to translate technical texts

Sub-objective 5: understand the principal criteria for translating technical texts

 

TU 2 – General aspects of technical texts

The objective of this teaching unit is to learn the recurring characteristics of technical texts in English and Italian.

Sub-objective 1: understand the morphological, syntactical, and semantic aspects of technical texts in English and Italian

Sub-objective 2: recognize technical terms in English and know the corresponding terms in Italian

Sub-objective 3: recognize the register used in the English text and know which register to use in the Italian text

Sub-objective 4: understand how common words are used with technical meanings in technical texts in English and Italian

Sub-objective 5: for each range of meanings for an English technical term, understand the possible semantic calques and know how to select appropriate terms

 

TU 3 – General procedure in translation projects 

The objective of this teaching unit is to learn the various steps in the process of translating technical texts.

Sub-objective 1: know what to do when examining a text and how to read it at a preliminary stage with a view to the translation

Sub-objective 2: know how to familiarize yourself with the overall terminology of the text and set priorities among the various research sources

Sub-objective 3: know how to achieve terminological accuracy and consistency and avoid redundancy and unnatural constructions in the translation

Sub-objective 4: know how to revise your own translation

Sub-objective 5: understand the criteria to use in accepting or rejecting a reviewer’s corrections, and what steps to take after the revision before delivering to the client

 

TU 4 – Fundamental problems in technical translations from English to Italian

The objective of this teaching unit is to learn the most common grammatical, semantic, and syntactical problems in technical translation from English to Italian.

Sub-objective 1: know how to translate the possessive adjective

Sub-objective 2: know how to translate modal verbs

Sub-objective 3: know how to translate prepositions

Sub-objective 4: know how to translate acronyms and abbreviations

Sub-objective 5: know how to translate units of measure

 

TU 5 – Reference and research

The objective of this teaching unit is to acquire a broad-spectrum vision of reference sources and to develop terminological research techniques.

Sub-objective 1: know how and when to consult general monolingual and bilingual dictionaries

Sub-objective 2: know how and when to consult specialized dictionaries and technical magazines

Sub-objective 3: know how to consult experts in the sector and fellow translators

Sub-objective 4: know how to conduct term searches on the Internet

Sub-objective 5: know how to verify the information obtained

 

TU 6 – Principal problems and traps in technical translations from English to Italian – 1

The objective of this teaching unit is to illustrate some of the main problems to avoid in technical translation: terminological inaccuracies and lack of concision.

Sub-objective 1: learn how to recognize inaccuracies in English technical texts

Sub-objective 2: learn how to resolve ambiguities in English technical texts

Sub-objective 3: know how to think logically and make practical considerations to achieve terminological accuracy

Sub-objective 4: understand how to acquire the technical writing skills needed to trim wordy and badly organized technical texts in English during the translation

Sub-objective 5: understand how to apply general principles of expressive rationality to achieve maximum clarity and brevity in the translated text

 

TU 7 – Principal problems and traps in technical translations from English to Italian – 2

The objective of this teaching unit is to illustrate some of the main problems to avoid in technical translation: ineffective style and false friends.

Sub-objective 1: know how to avoid reproducing English grammatical and syntactical structures

Sub-objective 2: know how to choose between active and passive voice to clarify the translated text

Sub-objective 3: understand how to rewrite awkward English sentences accurately, but also with good style

Sub-objective 4: know how to avoid the influence of English in technical translations

Sub-objective 5: know how to avoid false friends in technical translations

 

Content of the module

The module consists of the text of lessons along with a bibliography, a glossary, and a webliography.

 

 

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Introduction to technical translation II

  

Roberto Crivello

Freelance translator specializing in technical translation
formerly a research and development electrical engineer in the field of microwave tubes

 

 

Introduction to the module

This module aims to provide familiarity with some fundamental concepts in hydraulics, electrical  and electronics engineering, and applied mechanics, since the principal concepts behind most machines, devices, and equipment are based on these technologies. Some basic concepts of heat exchangers, steam turbines, refrigeration systems, and earth moving equipment will also be provided, along with explanations of what types of sources to use in gathering terminology and the register to use in the translation. A few practical examples will also be given in order to help demonstrate how to understand and solve translation hurdles in the English text.


Contents of teaching units

 

TU 1 – Introduction to technical translation methodology

This unit provides an introductory explanation of how to avoid the influence of English and false friends, how to translate metaphors, and how to gather the appropriate terminology, establishing the appropriate parallelisms.

1.1 – Influence of English and false friends in technical translations (1 of 2)

1.2 – Influence of English and false friends in technical translations (2 of 2)

1.3 – Metaphors in technical translation

1.4 – Translating a technical term about an automobile engine cylinder head

1.5 – Concise and appropriate translation of syntagmas and technical terms in the electrical sector

 

TU 2 – Basic concepts in hydraulics

This unit illustrates the principles, components, circuits, and applications of hydraulics, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

2.1 – General principles of hydraulics

2.2 – Applications of hydraulics

2.3 – Hydraulic pumps, motors, and cylinders

2.4 – Valves

2.5 – Examples of translation in the hydraulics sector

 

TU 3 – Basic concepts in electrical engineering

This unit illustrates the principles, components, and applications of electrical engineering, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

3.1 – Electrical systems

3.2 – Uninterruptible power supplies

3.3 – Electrical cables and protecting people against electrical contacts

3.4 – Direct current motors

3.5 – Example of a translation about a starter

 

TU 4 – Basic concepts in electronics

This unit illustrates the principles, components, and applications of electronics, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

4.1 – Electronic measurements

4.2 – Fiber optics and translation example (1)

4.3 – Fiber optics and translation example (2)

4.4 – Connectors and translation revision example (1)

4.5 – Connectors and translation revision example (2)

 

TU 5 – Basic concepts in applied mechanics

This unit illustrates the principles, components, and applications of applied mechanics, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

5.1 – Metrology and measurement/control instruments

5.2 – Connecting mechanical parts

5.3 – Support and slide/linkage parts

5.4 – Shafts, joints, and couplings

5.5 – Transmissions

 

TU 6 – Heat exchangers and steam turbines

This unit illustrates the principles, components, and applications of heat exchangers and steam turbines, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

6.1 – Heat exchangers

6.2 – Example of a translation about a heat exchanger (1 of 2)

6.3 – Example of a translation about a heat exchanger (2 of 2)

6.4 – Steam turbines and illustration of terminology through a translation example (1 of 2)

6.5 – Steam turbines and illustration of terminology through a translation example (2 of 2)

 

TU 7 – Refrigeration systems and earth moving equipment

This unit illustrates the principles, components, and applications of refrigeration systems and earth moving equipment, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

7.1 – Refrigeration systems and illustration of terminology through a translation example (1 of 2)

7.2 – Refrigeration systems and illustration of terminology through a translation example (2 of 2)

7.3 – Earth moving equipment (1 of 3)

7.4 – Example of a translation about a loader (1 of 2)

7.5 – Example of a translation about a loader (2 of 2)

 

Guide to the module

 

Goal of the module

The general goal of this module is to introduce the methodology needed to work in the technical translation field. The first step is to gain familiarity with basic concepts of hydraulics, electrical and electronics engineering, and applied mechanics, which are at the foundation of most machines, devices, and equipment encountered in technical translations. This requires study of practical handbooks and reference volumes for engineering studies. Reading relevant sections from these sources will help establish parallelisms that make it possible to collect the correct terminology and find the appropriate register when translating technical texts.

The first unit is preparatory and uses brief practical examples. Subsequent units illustrate the fundamental concepts of certain technologies and technical sectors, providing examples of terminology and/or translation.

 

List of objectives

 

TU 1 – Introduction to technical translation methodology

The goal of this unit is to provide an introductory explanation of how to avoid the influence of English and false friends, how to translate figurative language, and how to gather the appropriate terminology, establishing the appropriate parallelisms.

Sub-objective 1: know how to avoid the influence of English

Sub-objective 2: know how to avoid false friends

Sub-objective 3: know how to translate metaphors

Sub-objective 4: know how to gather terminology, establishing the appropriate parallelisms

 

TU 2 – Basic concepts in hydraulics

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features of hydraulic components, circuits, and applications.

Sub-objective 1: understand the general principles and applications of hydraulics

Sub-objective 2: understand the operating and construction principles of hydraulic pumps, motors, and cylinders

Sub-objective 3: understand the operating and construction principles of valves

Sub-objective 4: know how to make concise, appropriate translations of hydraulic texts

 

TU 3 – Basic concepts in electrical engineering

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features of hydraulic components, circuits, and applications.

Sub-objective 1: understand the general principles of electrical systems

Sub-objective 2: understand the operating principles and main components of uninterruptible power supplies

Sub-objective 3: understand the construction characteristics of electrical cables and the kinds of electrical contacts that are dangerous for people

Sub-objective 4: know the construction characteristics and uses of motors, and understand how to translate material on starters

 

TU 4 – Basic concepts in electronics

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features of electronic components, circuits, and applications.

Sub-objective 1: understand the general principles of electronic measurements

Sub-objective 2: understand the operating principles and main characteristics of fiber optics, and know how to translate material on fiber optics

Sub-objective 3: understand the principal characteristics of connectors

Sub-objective 4: know how to revise translations of material about connectors

 

TU 5 – Basic concepts in applied mechanics

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features and applications of applied mechanics.

Sub-objective 1: understand the general principles of metrology and measurement and control instruments

Sub-objective 2: understand the principle characteristics of connecting parts

Sub-objective 3: understand the principle characteristics of support and slide/linkage parts

Sub-objective 4: understand the principal characteristics of shafts, joints, and couplings

Sub-objective 5: understand the principal characteristics of transmissions

 

TU 6 – Heat exchangers and steam turbines

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features of heat exchangers and turbines.

Sub-objective 1: understand the principles and main characteristics of heat exchangers

Sub-objective 2: know how to translate material on heat exchangers

Sub-objective 3: understand the principles and main characteristics of steam turbines

Sub-objective 4: know how to translate material on steam turbines

TU 7  – Refrigeration systems and earth moving equipment

The goal of this teaching unit is to learn the principles and understand the main features of refrigeration systems and earth moving equipment.

Sub-objective 1: understand the principles of mechanical refrigeration

Sub-objective 2: understand the principles and terminology of refrigerant reclaim units and know how to translate material on this subject

Sub-objective 3: understand earth moving equipment principles and terminology

Sub-objective 4: know how to translate material on earth moving equipment

Content of the module

This module consists of the text of the lessons and a bibliography.

 

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