Services | 16.05.2016

Important considerations when undertaking translations for the aerospace industry

Translation Services are key for aerospace manufacturers who operate on a global scale, with aircraft and aircraft components sold to a worldwide client base. Although English is widely recognized in the aerospace industry, the ability to provide technically accurate translations for overseas customer is still vital. While many engineers, technicians and other staff will have a working knowledge of English, the safety-critical nature of aerospace documentation will mean that providing it in their mother-tongue is essential. Moreover, it is widely accepted that customers are more likely to buy a product if the documentation is provided in their language.

Many buyers will require the translation of materials such as operation and maintenance manuals, training material and proposal documents as part of the bidding process.

Translation can also be important for communication within the complex and multinational supply chain involved in the manufacturing of aircraft.

Here are some tips to make the translation process more efficient:

Choose the right translator

Documents cannot be allocated to anybody with a knowledge of languages. It is important, when tackling translations for the aerospace industry with its technical, industry specific terminology, that the translator has an in-depth knowledge of the subject. This is especially important when handling safety-critical documents. A quality language service provider will have a team of translators experienced in the aerospace industry with the necessary knowledge to provide accurate translations.

Get the English right

Simplified English or Simplified Technical English (STE) is the industry standard originally developed for the aerospace and defense industries (ASD) to promote clear, consistent and simple language, primarily for non-native English speakers. It obeys a set or regulations (ASD-STE100) which can be requested here.

The benefits of using STE are as follows:

  • Simpler and clearer English content will lead to a better and clearer translation
  • As authors and translators become more familiar with STE, they will be able to produce and translate content faster and more efficiently
  • Use of STE will reduce the number of words used and consequently, the translation cost which is based on the number of words for translation.
  • Standardisation of the original English will result in a greater level of repetition between documents and therefore reduce translation costs when translation memory technology is used (see below).

Translation Memory Technology

This recognises repeated content within batches of documents and alerts the translators to any previously translated content so that they can use the same style and terminology, increasing consistency and reducing costs, as previous translations are reused and recycled. Translations are stored in bilingual databases called Translation Memories, which are used by all translators working on projects for a specific client.


These are technical dictionaries that are incorporated into the translation process. Where individual words from the glossary appear in the text, these will be automatically highlighted to the translators, ensuring that the client’s preferred terminology is used. Your language service provider should be able to compile these from any previous translations you have completed or complete a new terminology list which can be submitted to you for your approval.

A good Language Service Provider will ensure that the translation memory databases and termbases are always updated to reflect any preferential changes made by their client or proof-readers so that these changes are not required in future batches of documentation.

Translation management software

Translation management software, which stores all translations in a central location, allows multiple users to work on a translation, all working from a common Translation Memory to ensure consistency. Reviewers can also access the translated text and make amendments which are automatically incorporated into the Translation Memory. This ensures that only correct amended version of the translated text is incorporated into the database.


There are many things to consider when undertaking translations for the aerospace industry and choosing the right Language Service Provider with the necessary translation resource and the ability to make judicious use of the latest technology, is one of the most important.

For more information regarding our services for the aerospace industry, please visit our new aerospace page.

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