5 differences between scientific and technical translation

Scientific and technical translation are two types of specialized translation that are closely related, which often makes it difficult to establish the difference between them.

The two disciplines share the same scope of action, scientific-technological, working in areas such as medicine, chemistry or biology among others. Both also use similar specialized vocabulary and specific abbreviations.

For this reason, there are many occasions in which you may have doubts about the type of translation service you need for your texts. In this article we will list the main differences between both types of translations.

1. The purpose of the text: theory vs. experience

The main goal of scientific texts is publishing the knowledge, theories and studies developed by the professionals in this field. It is communication that is highly influential academically and theoretically.

On the other hand, technical texts pursue the goal of publishing information from a practical point of view, focusing on application. It is communication aimed at empirical learning.

2. Types of informational texts

Having mentioned the points in common between both specialties, the theoretical approach of scientific translation and the practical approach of technical translation determine the type of texts they are aimed at.

This way, scientific translation is used in text books, essays, theses and theoretical articles.

On the other hand, technical translation is aimed at technical user manuals, instruction guides, patents, online assistance, guides and datasheets.

3. Common disciplines of scientific translation and technical translation

Once again, we insist on the close relationship between science and technology. Nevertheless, each one of them has a specific informational nature which make them prevail over the other in different fields.

Scientific translation is requested for texts about medicine, biology, pharmacy, anthropology or bioethics.

On the other hand, technical translation is common in fields related to industry and disciplines such as engineering, telecommunications, metallurgy, electronics, computing or automobile.

4. Target audience they are aimed at

Both types of translations are aimed at a target audience with different levels of specialization. From students, teachers, researchers and communicators to audiences inexperienced in these matters but interested in learning even if it is not for professional reasons.

The difference is set by the purpose of the text itself. Scientific translations are theoretical texts that need to be read slowly and are aimed at gaining knowledge.

Technical translation is aimed at communicating the application of science as a means to obtaining a practical result that is immediate.

5. The role of the language used

Specialized translators in scientific and technical translation, know how to adapt to the features and purpose of each text. They know the appropriate terminology and the ideal register they must apply.

The language of a scientific translation is educated and academic, just as it corresponds with the theoretical field. As for technical translation, it is mostly practical and avoids circumlocutions in order to be concise and make the text more accessible and therefore facilitate its practical application.

Whether you need a scientific translation or a technical translation, counting on the quality and experience of a professional translation company will ensure success in all disciplines.