Technical texts need to communicate their content accurately and unambiguously; this much is obvious. What is often overlooked, though, is that they can also be stylistically demanding. They communicate values as well as bare content, and this makes them important for your company’s image. A professional translation takes care of all these aspects. An unprofessional translation, by contrast, is all too liable to create the impression that you are unprofessional in your work.
Instructions for use are read by people under stress who are trying to use a device for the first time. You need to make the usability of the text as good as the usability of the product. It’s essential to avoid misunderstandings. Instructions are best written by someone who knows how to use the device – and also how to explain sequences of actions in clear and concise language. When translating from German into English, this could require a different structuring of sentences and paragraphs.
With other types of technical translations, e.g. in-house documentation for inspection by a foreign regulatory agency, the strictest possible adherence to the source text is needed. The translation has to be as close as it can be to a word-for-word representation of the source text. The problem is that word-for-word translations often result in nonsense. The job is to to find the closest approximation to the source text that yields the same meaning when being read normally. This is where you need the skill of a good translator.
English is my native language; I have a PhD in science and worked for several years in research in Germany and Austria; after almost 20 years living and working in German-speaking countries, I don’t miss much in German source texts. You can expect me to handle your technical texts with care for the content and attention to detail. The way I approach each translation is dictated by the purpose of the translation – what you will use it for. I don’t cut corners on researching the topic and the relevant language, and I make sure to ask you about anything that seems unclear.
My usual price range for technical translations is around € 1.50 / line plus VAT (1 line = 55 characters including spaces).