Translation often talks about finding the voice of nations. This voice is difficult to pin down, but normally refers to the cultural, ethical, social circumstances and characteristics of a nation. Translation as a unit of communication is a vehicle for the expression of conventionalized goals and functions. Translations between written languages in different languages remain today the core of Translation Studies and globalization of it. This focus has broadened far beyond the mere replacement of source text (ST) linguistic items with their target text (TT) equivalent. In the intervening years studies has been conducted and undertaken into all types of linguistic, cultural, political, social, ideological and globalization common phenomena around translation. In theater translation for example adaptation of geographical or historical location and of dialect is very common.

Translation occurs between languages, texts, writers and readers and between cultures and traditions. The complexity of these various relationship accounts for the fuzziness of much translation and problems of reliably pinning down any of the elusive universals of translation, therefore, the meaning is often a cline, so texts are hybrids, composed of different items and cross cultural communication can end up as much about the third space in- between as about the discrete omission translation.

Translator Studies has undergone a shift from focus on SC constraints to the manipulation by TC patronage. Translators play an active role in different phases of the activity and their agency has not been given due attention. Norms determine the suitability of translation. Non-compliance is not only possible but also necessary at times, though the behavior involves a price to pay. Norms and the translator’s agency are two sides of every translation activity. The former lays down socio-cultural constraints on translating, and the latter is the source of creativity. Both adherence to and breach of norms requires the translator’s agency. Both the theory and praxis of translation would stand to benefit from a dialectical, rather than a mechanical, view of their relationship.

Traditionally, translation was defined from the perspective of linguistics. According to Eugene A. Nida, the renowned American theorist on translation, “Translating consists in reproducing the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source-language message, first in terms of language and secondly in terms of style”(1969/1982:12). Another English translation theorist by the name of Catford more clearly defined translation as “the replacement of textual material in one language(SL)by equivalent textual material in another language(TL)” (1965:20).

Translation services must begin striking a balance between language and culture in order to truly achieve translation equivalence. Doing so is, of course, easier said than done. Many scholars view translation through different contexts; there are those who base their studies on source-oriented theory, while there are others who emphasize target oriented ideals above all else. In fact, the latter concept is currently being applied to the international online market in the form of adaptation and localization. Then again, there are experts who’d rather strike a balance between text faithfulness and audience accommodation. As science and technology develop, new English words used to express new concepts, techniques and inventions come into existence. These words have developed more rapidly during the last decades that dictionaries can by no means trigger of. (Nida,1964:223). It is interesting to note that Nida (ibid.) has, in his discourse on scientific translation, pointed to this challenge. He said:

If, however, the translation of scientific texts from one language to another participating in modern cultural development is not too difficult, it is not surprising that the converse is true- that translating scientific material from a modern Indo-European language into a language largely outside the reach of Western science is extremely difficult. This is one of the really pressing problems confronting linguists in Asia today.

The neglect of the study on finding equivalence at word level in scientific texts in the past years is reported by crystal (1995, p. 120) who attempted to shed light on the areas in English language studies which have not received attention. Despite its major role in translation of scientific texts, equivalence received most attention in the literary context (Nida and Taber 1982, Leech 1974, Zgusta 1971). There have not been many cross – linguistic and cross – disciplinary studies on finding equivalence in translation of scientific texts. The limited numbers of studies which are conducted in this area have shown that there are some variations in the use of equivalence strategies across languages (Baker, 1992, Fawcett, 1997, Dorothy, 1998, House, 1997) and across disciplines (Acarter and Mecarthy. 1988). According to Hatim and Mason (1990) even at word level, there is rarely any one – to – one correspondence between any two languages, as words in each language tend to have different meaning components.

translate scientific document

Requirements of Scientific translator

Scientific translation, thus, becomes a prerequisite not only for the acquisition of technology, but to its introduction, installation, and operation as well. According to London Institute of Linguistics, to be a scientific translator one should have:

  • 1. Broad knowledge of the subject-matter of the text to be translated;
  • 2. A well-developed imagination that enables the translator to visualize the equipment or process being described;
  • 3. Intelligence, to be able to fill in the missing links in the original text;
  • 4. A sense of discrimination, to be able to choose the most suitable equivalent term from the literature of the field or from dictionaries;
  • 5. The ability to use one’s owns language with clarity, conciseness and precision; and
  • 6. Practical experience in translating from related fields. In short, to be technical translator one must be a scientist, or engineer, a linguist and a writer (cf. Gasagrade, 1954: 335-40; Giles, 1995; Latfipour, 1996).
  • In contrast to their literary counterparts, scientific texts underline the information content without bothering about features that are characteristic of poetic texts, such as rhyme, and connotative or symbolic meaning. Let alone other aesthetically features, which Schmidt (1971: 59) has defined as “polyfunctionality.”

We also notice that most of the elements in scientific texts are not unexpected. One might even define the meaning of these texts according to the actual use of items to refer to things in the real world or to the “extension” as contrasted to the potential meaning of things as they are perceived, conceived, or represented in terms other than their actual appearance and/or function by the perceiving man, or to the ‘intention’ of their producers (Weinrich, 1976: 14). Scientific Translation is a bridge that has huge effect between nations on everyday life and draws on a wide range of languages, including Persian, German, Russian, Arabic, French, Spanish and English.

This can range from the translation of key words of international treaty to the multilingual posters that welcome tourists to a hotels and small restaurants in a foreign country. Translation is both product and process. It is the analysis of source text (ST) and transferring the message to the target text (TT) with different structure, corpus, form, function, genre, register and discourse. From the teleological point of view, scientific translation is a process of communication and to impart the knowledge of the original to the foreign reader.

Linguistically, translation can be described as a reading or substitution. It means the inventory linguistic symbols of l1 are replaced by the inventory linguistic symbols of l2. Differences in scientific translation can generally be considered by different factors in translating such as following factors:

  • 1. Place of translation if the place is neat, silent and appropriate for translating or not.
  • 2. Time
  • 3. The type of audience
  • 4. The nature of the message
  • 5. The purpose of the author or translator
  • 6. The translator’s experience of translating different scientific texts
  • 7. The unit of translation which is considered by translators
  • 8. The norms of translation and the range of censorship in translating that should be observed by translator in any society for scientific texts.
  • 9. The level of scientific development of SL and TL country

Scientific Translation studies are still to be found as a new emerging discipline. It has developed to such an extent which is a prefect interdisciplinary with host of other fields. The fields of Philosophy, linguistics, history, medical sciences, art and language engineering interfacing with the new emerging discipline of Translation Studies.In scientific texts we have an end in view and the means necessarily remains within the general conceptual framework within which the end is defined.

That is, the scientific context has a content which is concerned with the horizontal structure of the world while the literary context has a content which is concerned with the vertical structure of the world. Finally, science does not have its own syntax only, but also its own terminology. And we have already hinted at the importance of the familiarity with this terminology resting on a solid foundation of previously acquired knowledge on behalf of the translator. Therefore, it is not the language itself which is special, but certain words or their symbols.


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Blankenburg, D. W. (1982) “A Dialectical Conception of Anthropological Proportions”, In Phenomenology and Psychiatry. London: De Konning, Academic Press.

Gasagrade, J. (1954) “The Ends of Translation”, International Journal of American Linguistics”, Vol. 20, pp. 335-40.

Giles, D. (1995) Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

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Ilyas, A (1989)Theories of Translation: Theoretical Issues and Practical Implications. Mosul: University of Mosul.

Lotfipour-Saedi, K. (1996) “Translation Principles vs. Translator Strategies”. Meta, 41- 3,pp. 389-392.

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