Introducing a New Technical Dictionary in 8 Languages

Specialized technical vocabulary can be a real challenge to translators, and also to engineering students and professionals who are studying or working in a foreign language environment. On the one hand, precision is all important. When it comes to electronic components, a mistranslation can have serious consequences in the real world, causing injury, damage, and/or financial loss. On the other hand, identifying the accurate equivalent for a technical term in another language can be difficult and time-intensive. The dilemma is that while engineering students and professionals may not have the linguistic resources to find the correct translations, translators may not have sufficient understanding of the highly technical subject matter to judge the adequacy of a specific term.

To support anyone struggling with technical terminology in a foreign language, a well-researched technical glossary has recently been made publicly available. It lists close to 500 terms in English and their translations into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Korean. It can be viewed online or downloaded as a CSV or XLSX file to work with dictionary apps like WordTheme and My Dictionary: Polyglot on Android and iOS.

The glossary is the result of more than 10 years of experience in translating repair-related content, with a focus on consumer electronics. It was built up over time by the translators for the online repair platform iFixit, which aims at providing free repair information to anyone in the world. As iFixit was founded in the United States, about half of the over 100,000 free manuals are still only available in English. Volunteers across the globe help the in-house translation team to make repair information available in different languages, and the glossary was published primarily to help them find the correct translations for technical terms. However, in line with the ideal of freely available information, iFixit is making the glossary available to anyone who wants to use it.

The listings are regularly updated and include terms for tools, computer and smartphone components, camera and speaker technology, car mechanics, soldering, board components, and more. Each translation was researched individually with great care. 

By making our glossary publicly available, we — the translators of iFixit — hope to make technical translations easier and quicker. We want translators to be able to focus on their translations instead of spending hours researching technical terms, and we hope that our work will help students enrolled in IT and electrical engineering programs to quickly find the words they need to be able to follow their lectures, write assignments, and pass their exams.

For any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment on our website or write us an email at translate@ifixit.com.

Maria Parker
Maria Parker has been working as a translator (English to German) and community manager at iFixit since March 2022.

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