Professional translation

What is professional scientific translation?

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scientific translator in the classroom

Scientific translation is a branch of technical translation that plays a fundamental role in global knowledge dissemination. In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to share discoveries and advances in health sciences and technologies is essential. Scientific translation allows research, studies, and technical documentation to go beyond language barriers and become accessible to industry specialists and the wider international audience. This type of translation is one of the most requested and demanding in the translation industry which, like other technical disciplines, is characterized by numerous areas and sub-areas of specialization.

Scientific translation covers a wide variety of content, ranging from medical reports and pharmaceutical prospectuses to popular articles, clinical trials, or instructions for medical devices. This specialization is defined by the need for high levels of terminological accuracy and rigor and a deep conceptual understanding. Errors in the translation of scientific texts can lead to misinterpretations or even lead to dangerous consequences, highlighting the need for highly-qualified translators to be used. This is a job that requires a combination of technical knowledge of the subject matter, language skills, and attention to detail that only specialized professionals should undertake.

Scientific translation experts often share their experiences at conferences, in publications, and on online platforms. They state that understanding the context is vital for understanding the situation where the scientific text is taking place, since it is not enough to simply translate words. They also advocate collaboration and a spirit of teamwork with other translators and specialists, since this allows the quality of the translation to be improved by considering other points of view. Lastly, they highlight that it is important to specialize in the specific areas in question to develop expertise and reputation in those fields, and to ensure the maximum accuracy and suitability of the translation.

Essential skills for translating scientific texts

Scientific translators must have a number of skills that guarantee the quality and accuracy of their work:

  • Extensive specialized knowledge: a thorough understanding of the subject matter is essential. Translators need specific training or experience in fields such as medicine, biology, chemistry, or physics.
  • Accurate terminology: the correct use of terminology is key to avoid confusion. This often involves the creation or use of specialized glossaries.
  • Language skills: in addition to mastering the source and target languages, it is crucial to have a broad knowledge of specialized syntax and semantics.
  • Constant updating: since science is constantly evolving, translators must keep up to date with the latest developments and changes in terminology.

In order to successfully produce high-quality scientific translations, it is also necessary to take into account a number of other elements:

  • Responsible use of MT and CAT software. Computer-assisted translation and machine translation tools can be readily used to speed up the process, as long as human review is performed to ensure quality.
  • Documentation. A prior documentation process is essential to become familiar with the subject matter, to know the specific terminology of the field and to keep abreast of new concepts.
  • Terminology glossaries and specialized tools. The use of terminology glossaries and other tools adapted to the scientific context is an essential aspect of maintaining consistency and accuracy in every translation project.
  • Exhaustive review process. Rigorous quality assurance is essential to identify and correct any potential errors before final delivery of the job, thus ensuring the reliability and accuracy of the final product.


The cost of scientific translations can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as text length, language combination, complexity of the content, urgency of the project, and the translator’s experience. Normally, rates are applied on a per-word basis taking into account the above points; however, it is common for additional fees to be charged for services such as editing, proofreading, or layout.

Choosing a high-quality scientific translation service is essential for any company seeking to internationalize its scientific texts and documentation.

At iDISC, we have excellent translation professionals able to translate a wide range of content, providing accurate, high-quality final work. Our translators specialized in scientific translation have first-hand experience of the importance of translation in the scientific field and bring their experience and professionalism to these texts.

In conclusion, scientific translation is the essential tool for sharing and disseminating scientific discoveries and research in different languages. This specialty proves a challenge and opportunity for translators seeking to specialize in an area of great importance and growing demand. With the right skills and resources, translators can contribute significantly to the global advancement of science and technology.


We hope you found this information useful. We would be happy to provide more details about professional scientific translation. Don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our blog for more information.

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