How to Make Translating Academic Papers Less Challenging

Sometimes people can’t get a word when they read scientific and academic papers in their native language. This happens because science literature contains jargon, specific terms and definitions, and non-understandable words that professionals can only explain. But imagine what if you get academic research in your second or third language? You’ll be lost in translation and read one sentence repeatedly without getting any sense. Sometimes, even ​​human translation services won’t help if field specialists do not do them.



Why Is It Important to Translate Academic Papers?

Today, China is the country that is second in publishing academic research after the USA. China’s rapid growth rate saw it publish 528,263 articles last year, ahead of U.S. output totaling 422,808. Also, the European Union’s output reached 622,000 research articles, making it almost a quarter of the global total.

If the texts are not translated, the work of professors and students will suffer as they won’t be able to read the most recent scientific discoveries. This means that a lot of knowledge in the world is only available to a few people as they won’t be able to read it in the Chinese language. Thus, translating academic papers is crucial for scientific circles.

Why Is It So Difficult to Translate Academic Papers?

Translating academic papers is difficult as it requires knowledge of the domain, proper style, and structure of scientific abstracts. Usually, academic and scientific documents are reader-responsible. This means that authors can write independently because readers are responsible for understanding.

Also, many researchers write too complicated sentences, making it impossible for people to understand and translate them. To get a high-quality translation, native speakers and people with scientific or technical education must translate the papers. Moreover, many years of translating experience are needed to solve such specific texts.

Another reason might be that some academic papers are written by non-native speakers, who try to write in English as the most common language in scientific circles. This can be tricky, as it may cause unintelligibility and incorrect grammar or spelling.

What About Machine Translation?

Modern machine translation systems are pretty sophisticated. They are just a bit better than a human translation. However, we all know that the devil is in the details.


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Indeed, Google Translate is quite nice at translating technical texts. However, machine translation is usually clumsy and incomprehensible to people. Usually, translating A.I. doesn’t try to make the text understandable by people; it substitutes one word for another to not lose any term and definition.

If you use machine translation, you can find mistakes in word order, gender issues, and voice and tone issues. Usually, such a translation won’t sound like natural language (even though not all academic papers sound natural 🙂

How to Translate Your Academic Paper Right?

  1. Find a translator who knows your field.

It might be challenging as you might specialize in a challenging sphere. However, people who don’t know your field won’t be able to translate your academic paper as they don’t know the terminology. Therefore, it’s vital to choose translators with at least a bit of experience in your field of study.

  1. Avoid literal translation.

This is one of the most common mistakes. Academic papers shouldn’t be translated literally; the sense is more important than the usage of exact words as in the original language. If you translate literally, you might end up with a paper that will be too scientific and non-understandable by people and even the professional community.

  1. Provide glossaries.

To make the translation process more seamless, it’s essential to provide translators with terminology and glossaries to reduce ambiguity during the translation. This will make your academic paper more clear and more consistent.

  1. Provide a detailed brief.

Suppose you want to have a high-quality translation. In that case, it’s in your interest to provide translators with a brief where you’ll specify the main idea of the study, some ambiguous words or ideas, and any other moments essential for translators. You can also determine what parts are not needed for translation.

  1. Take a look at your charts or graphs.

Imagine if you have some charts, but people won’t be able to get the idea as they can’t understand the measurements as they are in another language. It’s essential to translate all the visuals as well to make the academic work understandable.

  1. Pay attention to quality assurance.

Double-checking has never hurt anybody. It’s necessary to proofread academic papers with a native speaker to make them sound professional and understandable.

  1. Choose a trustable translation partner.

To do a high-quality translation, it’s essential to use highly skilled translators who understand the field involved. Today, many online translation services can ease your translation life.

Nitro is one of the options to get a native-speaker translation from professional linguists. The best thing about it is professional translators who are native speakers with expertise in specific domains. All you need to do is to paste the text, write the comments if needed and get your translation in 24 hours. Also, this service supports glossaries to maintain translation consistency.

Wrapping Up…

In conclusion, translating academic papers is crucial for sharing knowledge and advancing scientific research. However, it is also a challenging task that requires expertise in the relevant field, proper style and structure, and attention to detail. While machine translation systems have come a long way, they are still not a substitute for human translators who can provide high-quality, accurate translations. To ensure the best possible translation of your academic paper, it’s crucial to find a reliable and trustworthy translation partner with experience in your field, provide clear instructions and terminology, and double-check the translation for accuracy. By following these guidelines, you can make your academic work accessible to a broader audience and help promote cross-cultural collaboration and understanding in the scientific community.


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