As this week is Engineers Week, we’ll be looking specifically at engineering and how the industry uses translation and localisation to counter language and cultural barriers.

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NPSE), Engineers Week is in its 71st year. It aims to promote a diverse and well-educated future engineering community by emphasising the importance of careers in engineering and technology.

The engineering industry is an integral part of the modern world. Creative application of science and mathematical methods has shaped our world, creating and maintaining structures, machinery and organisations.

In the fast-paced world of engineering, communication is incredibly important. It needs to be both accurate and effective, without room for ambiguity, or opportunity for misinterpretation. When launching new engineering products and services across language barriers, it is important to be able to count on the support of a highly experienced languages specialist.

Why engineering needs translation

The engineering industry is, as it sounds, a complicated and complex world. Away from the actual application of the industry, the language used in the engineering industry can be quite intricate. Widespread use of acronyms and jargon can create further stumbling blocks for those outside of the industry.

Within the engineering industry, especially mechanical engineering, the need for translation is imperative. International contractors often manage multi-agency projects using external teams. Accurate translation of documents is imperative as the effects of poorly translated technical materials could be harmful to company reputation, valuable machinery and especially personal safety.

The different types of engineering documents

From initial proposals to research reports, specifications to AutoCAD files and blueprints, these documents are all essential parts of an engineering project. Ensuring that these are translated accurately is key to making sure that no issues occur when crossing language barriers.

What a linguist can offer

By making use of a professional translation team, engineering companies can ensure quality and reliability. The quality comes from lifting language barriers, meaning that more experts can interpret the documents accurately and share their ideas on them. Reliability comes from reducing the likelihood of documents being misunderstood or interpreted incorrectly as language barriers are no longer an issue.

The reliability of translation is hugely important as it places the team, the company and end users in a much safer situation in the knowledge that the project has been completed without any build issues due to ambiguous documents.

A wider benefit of well-implemented translation is that it helps to ensure that projects are completed in a timely manner. It means less mistakes are made and therefore there are fewer issues to be rectified at the end of a project. This saves the company time and money on individual projects.

Before approval and delivery of any technical documents, they need to be reviewed down to the finest detail. When so much could be on the line, it’s important not to leave things to chance. A professional translation agency could prove to be invaluable in your next project.

The devil is in the detail

When specifying an engineering translation project, it is vital to consider all the details. At the initial briefing meeting, it’s important to discuss all matters and plan the project timescale effectively.  User interfaces are an often-forgotten area, but it is preferable to ensure machinery control panels are localised so that local users can safely use them. The translated user interfaces can then be included in supporting documents such as manuals and guides.

Case study – Specification issues at The Aon Center in Chicago

This modern supertall skyscraper was completed in 1973 and was originally named the Standard Oil Building. The building was a visual wonder to behold, with the entire structure sheathed in Italian Carrara marble. The building looked great, but its fetching exterior came at a very high price due to issues with the materials specified.

Carrara marble is much thinner than building materials normally used to clad buildings, and in 1974 a slab detached from the building and fell into the roof of the neighbouring Prudential Center. An investigation revealed the specified marble was completely unsuitable and was cracking and bowing all over the exterior.  Eventually, the building was refaced with granite at a cost of more than $80 million. It all underlines how important it is to get the specification process right.

How Albion can map out your translation

The translation experts at Albion Languages can help your engineering project run smoothly, ensuring your technical documents are translated accurately, consistently and in a timely manner. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help!