Once, while preparing for the English language competition, I came across the text with technical terminology. I got surprised because I didn’t get any clue of the text although all the words were familiar to me. That made me question this subject, so finally I made a decision to investigate peculiarities of technical translation. For this reason, I examined the archival data of the company OAO «Tuimazinsky Zavod Avtobetonovozov» (daughter company of OAO KAMAZ). So, the purpose of my study was to identify the features of technical translation.
The goal of this work has led to the solution of the following tasks:
- To describe stylistic features of technical texts.
- To analyze the main difficulties and typical mistakes in translation of technical texts, and therefore use archival documents of the TZA company.
- To give the abbreviations most commonly used in technical translation.
Research methods: document review, observation, participation in negotiations.
Hypothesis: we assume that the competent technical correspondence is a very important part in successful business and that the basic knowledge of English is not enough for technical translation.
The object of my study: the texts of technical documentation, technical issues from the correspondence with foreign partners, taken from the archive of the TZA company. I have the possibility to study and optimize the correspondence that was made from 1990 till 2014 and participate in negotiations during years 2013 and 2014.
CHAPTER 1. THEORETICAL TRANSLATION ISSUES BASED ON CORRESPONDENCE OF THE TZA COMPANY.
1.1. Style of technical translation.
The concept of style takes its origins from ancient times. Even ancient Greeks and Romans created the science of rhetoric, which, having existed for several thousands of years, gradually spread to writing and nowadays received the name of style. The style of the language is a combination of two factors: what we say and how we say. The main stylistic feature of the technical text is precise and exact presentation of the material at an almost complete absence of any expressive elements, the main emphasis is on logic and precision.
However, as I found out from my observations, technical style includes certain number of quite interesting phraseological combinations, for example:
Dead man valve. I would like to translate it as «клапанмертвогочеловека», but the correct translation is «устройствобезопасности=safety device».
Alive wire. We would like to translate it as «живойпровод», but correct translation is «проводподтоком».
These words obviously add vividness and diversity to the technical language.
1.2. The concept of technical terms.
Technical texts have a number of grammatical features. The most typical attribute of a technical text is the saturation of the text with specific terminology and the presence of abbreviations. Technical texts are not oriented to the speakers of a certain language, but to the representatives certain professions which require the knowledge of terminology.
CHAPTER 2. PECULIARITIES OF TECHNICAL TRANSLATION ON THE EXAMPLE OF TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION OF THE TZA COMPANY.
2.1. Let’s consider some difficulties in translation of technical terms, translational features in a modern network and difficulties in the interpretation of abbreviations in contracts. Technical translation is a translation that is used to exchange special scientific or technical information between people speaking different languages. From this definition, it follows that a technical translator is a mediator, without who this exchange is not possible. Engineers always need to know all the abbreviations used in technical translation. Knowledge of the abbreviations is a sign of professionalism. Here are some interesting examples:
«PTO» – power take off=коробкаотборамощности
«HPH» — high-pressure hoses=рукававысокогодавления. Another thing that is not less essential for high — skilled specialist is the knowledge of specific vocabulary. It includes a wide variety of terminology: names of main components of vehicles and mechanisms, processes of repairing of materials, chemical reactions, radio engineering and electronic devices, range of weights and measures and etc.
However, there are some terms that are difficult to find even in special dictionaries. Terminological vocabulary is very informative and indispensable in technical translation and it allows to explain the essence of a document in the most accurate and clear way. Also it is very important to be careful with adding extra words during translation of information in a different way. For example, an experience from the practice. The delegation has arrived from Korea with their own interpreter. The head of the Korean delegation wanted to say: «Sir, representing my company I would say that I’m pleased to arrive to Tuimazy». But the translator overcomplicated his speech, and here’s what came about: «Sir, sitting on the face of my company, I would say that I’m pleased to arrive to Tuimazy».
On the one hand, the interpreter tried to use a more complex term, but there is a danger of becoming entangled when trying to explain the term, moreover, if the translator is not good enough in his field. Note that use of any additional words can make technical translation more difficult for understanding and perception.
2.2. Difficulties in translation of terminology on the example of technical correspondence of the TZA company.
I had the opportunity to study and optimize the correspondence made from 1990 till 2013.
During my translation practice, I came across special terminology used for the translation in TZA company. Here are the examples:
РВД (рукававысокогодавления) = HPH (high pressure hose)
ГСТ (гидростатическая трансмиссия) = hydro-statictransmission
КОМ (коробка отбора мощности) =PTObox (Powertakeoffbox)
ШСС — шарнирно-сочлененный самосвал= (articulateddump)
НШ – насос шестеренчатый= (gearpistonpump)
ШРУС — шарнир равных угловых скоростей= (constantvelocityjoint)
ЦПГ – цилиндро-поршневая группа (pumpingunit)
КПП – коробка перемены передач=(gearbox)
A comic situation occurred with that last word: the Italian company loaded into the van gearboxes, which were supposed to be delivered to concrete mixer trucks in Tuimazy city. The Italian translators made wrong translation into Russian. Instead of the word a gearbox (редуктор), they used a meaning «коробкапеременыпередач». The customs authorities asked the driver what was inside the van. He said how it really was — «gear boxes» (редуктора), but it the documents there was another translation – «коробкапеременыпередач». Because of this misunderstanding, the van was standing several days in the Customs border and the OAO «Tuimazinsky Zavod Avtobetonovozov» paid penalties for this!
After studying the correspondence with foreign partners, I wrote important, from my point of view, technical words. For example, a common item that is called «манжета». In translation you need to understand what it exactly means and then it becomes clear that this is just a «fitting» = фитинг (but in the dictionary I did not find this meaning!). Commonly used technical term «hose», which does not mean «рукав», but only the «шланг», is translated as «рукав» and the abbreviation of the Russian phrase «рукававысокогодавления» is РВД and translation will be «high-pressure hose» = HPH. The next interesting word is «пучкователь». How to make correct translation? In the vocabulary it is translated as «buncher». But all the foreign workers use another English word — «rope», which should stand for «hydraulic pipes». How to translate the word «ложемент»? In vocabulary it is translated as «lodgment’, but in reality foreign partners use another word — «clamp for hydraulic pipelines». Well, also quite confusing when some interpreters use the word «cylinder-piston group» when translating the Russian word «цилиндро-поршневаягруппа», which should be translated as «pumping unit» — and then everything becomes clear. The TZA company is a manufacturer of 2 key products: concrete mixer trucks and concrete pump trucks. The superstructure of the concrete mixer truck is called «mixing drum», this the correct translation. But sometimes we see that in correspondence the engineers use incorrect translation, for example: «mixing barrel» and «agitation pear». This term is actually translated as «mixing drum» — and nothing else.
When translating technical terms it’s necessary not to miss any single semantic shade because it can distort the whole meaning of the text and, consequently, lead to misunderstanding between both sides. Therefore, the most crucial aspects of technical translation are precision and clarity. And to understand the technical speech during negotiations it’s sufficient to know the subject and terminology associated with it.
While studying the correspondence between the TZA company and foreign partners I have discovered another interesting group of words that are actually the names of the body parts, but are used as technical terminology. For example, outriggers of the concrete pump truck are called as «legs» = «ноги».
How to translate the word «проушина»? It has a very simple translation: «ear» or «eye». Or there is another phrase that is very commonly used in technical translation: «неправильнаяприваркащек». Of course, it does not mean «welding of cheeks» — it actually means «welding of metal plates» (connection of the top of the superstructure with the chassis). For correct technical translation it is necessary to know special terminology very well.
As a result of my research, it can be concluded that the main stylistic feature of the technical text is precise and exact presentation of the material and an absence of expressive elements. I think that the purpose of the study was achieved, assumptions were justified. Indeed, technical translation is an extremely important component in successful business; errors in translation can cause a lot of trouble. To avoid mistakes during technical translation it’s important to: have a qualification in a certain field of work, have the knowledge of the specific features of the industry, be fluent in using this terminology and be aware of the professional slang.
Picture 1. Booms of the concrete pump trucks at the exhibition in Munich (Germany), 2013
- English-Russian Polytechnic dictionary/ edited by M. V. Yakimova. SPb.: Publishing house «Litera», 2004.
- Archive materials of the Department «Foreign trade relations» of OAO «Tuimazinsky Zavod Avtobetonovozov» (OAO «KAMAZ»).
- Russian-English scientific and technical interpreter's dictionary/edited by M. Zimmermann, K. Vedeneeva.
- English-Russian Polytechnic dictionary/edited by A. E. Chernukhina.
- English-Russian dictionary, V. K. Mueller.