Translation of scientific and technical texts is a highly important and a very specialized field of translation studies. Scientific and technical texts are produced in response to a demand for information of a scientific or technical nature; such texts are translated because someone in different language community wants to access or use the information these texts contain.
It is true that inventions and technological advancements play an important role in every aspect of our lives. With the advent of globalization and internet, the need for technical and scientific information has also grown by leaps and bounds. Translation plays an important role in spreading this technical knowledge across nations.
The main goal of a translator is to translate some information into the target language, which was originally written in a source language. The information in the target text should be same as that of the source text.
Using the translated version, a reader who only understands the target language, can easily understand the details and underlying meaning of the source text. Thus to make technical knowledge available to a large number of nations, translation of such technical and scientific information, is the only means to achieve such technology transfer.
While a scientific text is more detailed in nature, as it normally discusses, analyses and synthesizes information with a view to explain ideas, thereby proposing new theories or evaluating certain methods, a technical text is brief, as it generally deals with application of scientific information.
Ghazala an eminent scholar of translations studies defines technical translation as "The translation of scientific and technical terms of all kinds: medical, physical, chemical, mathematical, mechanical, technological, biological, agricultural, computer and other terms of the various branches of science."
Another eminent translator, Dickins notes that, "The term 'technical' is not confined to natural science and technology. Any specialist field has its own technical terms and its own genre-marking characteristics... we shall be applying the term 'technical' to texts written in the context of natural scientific or technological disciplines."
Thus without doubt it can be said that scientific and technical translation deals with the translation of a large amount of specialized technical terms, which are difficult to understand by speakers of the source language as well. The more number of technical terms, greater the challenge in accurate translation of such texts.
Technical translation is very complex and has many facets. There are many inter cultural inconsistencies as well as inconsistencies within the same language with regards to usage and definition of technical terms. A good technical translator will always have experience and high level of knowledge about the subject matter or the field of source text. Technical translators are expected to handle such inconsistencies with the expertise they have developed over the course of their experience.
The English to Arabic translator is expected to grasp and understand the technical terms in the source text, which can be either in English or Arabic, and then select the right words that convey the precise meaning in target language. It is the most basic pre requisite for translating technical texts, that the translator should be highly professional and experienced in translating both in English and Arabic languages.