In modern society, we have come to expect safety information to be available to us to mitigate all manner of life’s potential risks. This year, we have already talked a lot about Coronavirus safety information translations. With Bonfire Night just around the corner in the UK, information on using fireworks safely is now also readily available online and via instruction guides.

Most of us take this information we receive in everyday life almost for granted, seeing it as the responsibility of reputable manufacturers or the government to provide it. Have you ever wondered though how this information was produced, and what needed to be considered in providing it? In this blog, our language experts explore the question of safety information translations and why it’s so crucial to get it right…

What does safety information cover?

Safety information can appear in a whole host of contexts, from medical information to sections of user guides and manuals for a wide range of industries. This includes technical fields where employers may need to provide employees with health and safety manuals for their workplace. Safety information covers all sectors in one way or another. So, what needs to be considered when creating accessible safety information?

Challenges of safety information translations

Safety information should be easily understood. This often becomes difficult in industries with technical language or where specialist jargon is commonplace. If the safety content then needs to be translated, this can add an extra layer of complexity. The reason is that language sometimes cannot be directly translated due to specific language structures and cultural influences. This means translators need to ensure the right terminology is used without losing the crucial messaging that safety information conveys.

When safety information is specific to a certain industry, for example when healthcare or technical translations are required, sector-specific language also needs to be considered. Translators or interpreters of safety information need to consider who they’re translating for. It could be industry professionals who use specific language or abbreviations, or, alternatively, it could be the general public who may need highly technical language conveyed in layman’s terms as part of a user manual or workplace health and safety guide.

Technical translations and safety

A specific example of where safety translations are of great importance is for MSDS (material safety data sheets) or SDS (safety data sheets). This is because, in relation to hazardous chemicals, for example, safety data sheets need to be available in the languages of the locations where they are used. Industry terminology is widespread in MSDS and SDS translations, so this is one area where you need to select your professional translator with care. Compliance with country-specific regulations is also important. The implications of information that is incorrect or open to interpretation could be serious, so it is vital to get the language right first time.

To find out more about our professional technical and safety translations, please contact our industry experts today!