O&G Translation: Technical Tips to Increase Your Success Rate

As a dynamic and innovative sector, the oil translation industry presents new challenges for technical oil and gas translators on a daily basis. To help improve your translation success rate, we've interviewed our leading oil and gas technical translators to share the secrets of their success. The following is a compilation of their 5 key tips.

  • Keep Up-To-Date

    All translators interviewed agreed that in this ever-changing field, the most important thing was keeping up-to-date on industry terminology, processes, markets and politics. Continuous updating of specialized glossaries and acronym lists is a must because as Francisco A. Carrion puts it: "As new technologies emerge, language evolves, and it's of utmost importance to keep informed and aware, to study industry related news, journals, blogs, etc. to sometimes even propose/create new equivalent terminology." Our translators' best tips are to continue using new translation tools and allow integrated use of glossaries and internet resources. Also, says Francisco, "The Schlumberger Oil Field Review is an amazing publication with the latest news of the industry."
  • Focus

    Specializing in one sector of the market or one specific company can really increase your oil translation success rate since it allows you to learn and become increasingly knowledgeable of particular material. It takes, for instance, a different set of expertise to work on an elearning localization project for HSE global compliance than on the translation of a highly technical RFP. Translating important, complex, and highly technical documents is a huge responsibility and the same effort that was spent on the quality of the original material should apply to its translation. An ineffective translation could lead an oil company to long-term, potentially catastrophic problems later on. The more specific knowledge and expertise you can acquire, the better chance you'll have of avoiding potential problems and creating an excellent translation.
  • Think Globally, Act Locally

    Today's oil industry stretches across the globe and consequently, in the oil and gas translation business, you may find yourself translating for a market that is totally unknown to you. Translator Elías Sauza says "Translating for a specific target audience can be challenging since many oil translation terms vary from country to country. Research of the specific market is needed in order to be as accurate as possible and the translator needs to take advantage of any available resources targeted to that specific audience."
  • Research Your Terms

    Unanimously, the biggest challenge our translators face when presented with an oil translation is deciphering company-specific terminology. Each company develops their own products, processes, and equipment which presents a major hurdle for translators who must find non-documented terms and acronyms created by the client, with no external references. Spending time on research, reference material and glossary creation is key to delivering documents that comply with client's standards. Some of the best online resources for an oil and gas translation such as The Glossary of the Petroleum Industry, The Schlumberger Oil Field Glossary and Diccionario de Pemex Refinacion can be easily found in blogs and publications such as "36 Essential Translation Resources".
  • Communicate with Client and Users

    Elías Sauza comments: "I believe that the client should always be asked to provide specific references such as glossaries to help the translator be as accurate as possible." Francisco A. Carrion further promotes open communication with clients, stating: "When working with South American oil and gas companies, dialog and constant communication with the client is very important to be 100 percent aligned with their requirements." Oil translation involves many technical complexities, don't be afraid to go to the client with any doubts about the project. Working together, you'll be sure to create a highly successful translation.


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