Services | 11.02.2016

Chemical translations


Buying translations can be especially tricky for companies that operate in sectors that produce highly technical and specialised products, such as the chemicals industry, where incorrect use of terms can have catastrophic consequences. With bodies such as the EU, under its REACH regulations and the UN under the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) stipulating that data sheets for potentially hazardous chemicals should be translated when these are exported, careful consideration of the translation process has never been so important. Our experience partnering with global clients in the chemical manufacturing sector for over ten years, translating content such as datasheets, patents, website material and corporate communications has highlighted a number of initiatives that we feel are key to successfully managing translation projects in this sector, and which we would advise any companies within the chemical industry who are looking at translation to consider:

  • It all starts with ensuring that the people who are actually translating the content understand and are familiar with the concepts and products being discussed. For technical content, it’s an absolute must to use a translator who knows the industry. Anything else is asking for trouble.
  • Terminology Management. A good translation company will not only translate your content; they will have a process for ensuring terminology is locked so that it’s translated in exactly the same way every time. This goes not only for technical terminology but also for product names and corporate terminology.
  • Translation Memory. In the same way as with terminology management, it is imperative that a robust process is implemented for storing translated terms for future re-use. Technical industries reuse content all the time, and to avoid paying over and over again, these processes are a must. They also ensure that phrases are translated in a consistent fashion.
  • Review process. Our client (a global chemical manufacturer) decided to implement a process where their local staff signed off all the translations. In order to ensure maximum efficiency in this process, we put at their disposal a cloud based Translation Management System, where any amendments are fed directly into the Translation Memory and are even available to the translation team in real time. The result: a gradual decrease in the number of changes required, freeing up their valuable time.
  • Urgent projects in different time zones. Global companies can have project requestors all over the world, as is the case with our client, so we implemented a portal for urgent projects: this progresses projects directly to pre-selected translators, meaning that their dedicated Account Manager doesn’t have to be in the office and that urgent projects are not delayed.
  • Complex file formats. Documents are often exported from Content Management Systems to .xml and .xliff format. In order to ensure that documents are returned in the same format with no extra work needed at the client’s end, there has to be a process for handling this type of work. Our file engineer has established fixed settings for our client’s files within our Translation Management System, meaning no delays or extra work for the client. Likewise, it is key that there is a process for recreating scans as editable documents as patents are often received in this format, and it is also crucial they are processed using Translation Memory technology.

For more information on our translation services for the chemical industry, please go to our chemical translation page

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