13/06/2022

Professional translations for companies

How does technical translation support international quality leadership in mechanical engineering and plant construction?

The translation of technical texts, technical documentation and communication is as demanding as it is responsible. Especially in mechanical engineering and plant construction, where high-quality products are in demand worldwide and must therefore be understood and reliably operated in all languages. We explain the specific requirements in this key industry.

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What are the key characterises of mechanical engineering and plant construction?

The German industrial SME sector is a phenomenon. In almost no other sector can you find such a concentrated masterpiece of engineering and so many quality leaders – often as “hidden champions”. Especially in mechanical engineering and plant construction, one of the highest-turnover industries in Germany. Its high-quality products and machines “made in Germany” enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide and are therefore very much in demand. A large proportion is exported abroad.

With great demand comes great responsibility, because it is important to maintain the good reputation worldwide and to prove the quality leadership even against international competition – in all languages, every format and down to the smallest detail. The wide array of technical translations in mechanical engineering and plant construction includes:

  • Project specifications and tender documents
  • Operating instructions and user manuals
  • Technical manuals and documentation
  • Machine control/HMI
  • Software
  • Factory standards
  • Training material
  • Catalogues and product brochures
  • Data sheets and spare parts lists
  • Websites

What does technical translation in mechanical engineering and plant construction require?

Maximum precision and attention to detail are not only hallmarks of German mechanical engineering and plant construction, but are also decisive parameters in translations. Technical texts, documentation and communications for this key sector must always be translated flawlessly into any target language required. Because this is the only way to ensure that the machines and systems be operated correctly at home and abroad. As already explained in the previous post, even the smallest errors, unclear formulations or omissions can lead to momentous misunderstandings that must be avoided at all costs.

The translation of sometimes highly complex issues of machine and plant documentation into the target languages must therefore not only be linguistically accurate, but above all technically precise and with sound background knowledge. This requires a high level of expertise and experience in many sectors, since depending on the type of technical systems, it is not uncommon for several technical fields to be intertwined.

What requirements does technical translation fulfil in mechanical engineering and plant construction?

Technical documentation and technical translation generally comply with a number of guidelines and standards. Mechanical engineering and plant construction illustrates this vividly, because here in particular companies are subject to a whole range of guidelines, such as the German VDI 4500 (guidelines on the procedure for creating and maintaining instructions in technical documentation), which make important contributions to quality and operational safety.

For trade within the European Union, the Machinery Directive was introduced, which comprises specific requirements regarding the operating instructions, the declaration of conformity and the manufacturer’s declaration. This includes the requirement that operating instructions must be supplied in the official Community language(s) of the Member State in which the machinery is placed on the market and/or put into service. This requirement also leads to a continuous need for technical translations.

The DIN EN IEC/IEEE 82079-1 documentation standard is also an essential requirement for quality assurance in mechanical engineering and plant construction. This standard formulates requirements for the actual information and the qualifications of technical writers and technical translators.
In addition, technical documentation and technical translation are also subject to other guidelines, standards and manuals such as translation standards DIN EN ISO 17100 and DIN ISO 18587, the operating instructions standard DIN EN ISO 20607:2019-10, the US standard ANSI Z535.6 and various tekom guidelines.

How does oneword handle technical translations in mechanical engineering and plant construction?

oneword GmbH is one of the leading language service providers and suppliers of professional technical translations for mechanical engineering and plant construction. For two decades, we have been working successfully with numerous companies in a range of different sectors – in traditional mechanical engineering as well as in plant construction from packing machines and spinning machinery to recycling and wind turbines.
We fulfil the specifications given with maximum precision and continuously develop corresponding language technologies and processes. Because every industry and every company has different prerequisites, requirements, process (technologies) and goals that need to be taken into account from the outset in a joint dialogue so that translation processes function smoothly and to the point.

As a language service provider subject to multiple audits, including DIN EN ISO 17100 and DIN ISO 18587, we guarantee the qualifications of our professional translators and internal revisers at all times. When it comes to mechanical engineering and plant construction, they always also have the technical expertise on the product and can visually understand the work steps and processes in the machine. We focus on the long term and a deep understanding of the products and processes of our mechanical engineering customers. This includes providing initial or accompanying product training for our in-house linguists and translation managers – on-site or online, on the system/machine or with reference materials.

Terminology work is fundamental for high-quality specialised translations, because in mechanical engineering and plant construction in particular, it all comes down to clearly defined terminology that must be reflected in all translations.
In addition to the terminological expertise of our mechanical engineering translators – and crucially – our internal and external terminologists develop the terminology tailored to the needs of our mechanical engineering customers, from extraction and definition to integration in technical editing processes. A current case study with ZF Friedrichshafen (only available in German) demonstrates this nicely.

Productive translation processes are also a key factor for success in mechanical engineering and plant construction. This is because this key industry is characterised by unprecedented multilingualism due to its high export volume, which increases the complexity of already often evolved and multi-layered processes (CMS/PIM, desktop publishing, IT etc.) and responsibilities. It is not unusual for translations for mechanical engineering and plant construction to be required in 45 languages. One of the most important concerns is therefore to streamline processes at every link in the value chain:

  • Centralised administration and ordering processes
  • Optimised translation and review processes
  • Integration of machine translation (if required)
  • Seamless integration of editorial systems and file formats (e.g. SCHEMA ST4, TIM, Contentserv etc.)
  • Automation of workflows (if possible)
  • Optional: simplified language (e.g. Simplified Technical English)

All this combines to create the daily requirements that we tackle together with our customers in individual, pragmatic solutions – and for which we are optimally positioned and certified. This fundamental advice and corresponding process design is just as much a part of our service and language service as the actual technical translation.

Are you in the mechanical engineering and plant construction sector and do you require professional translation of technical texts, technical documentation and communication or help with creating and organising your terminology or processes? Then talk to us. Our technical translation experts will be happy to advise you on measures and options.

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