Three Reasons Biofuel and Translation Go Together

December 15, 2015 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Biofuels languagesFor anyone who isn’t sure what “biofuel” means, it isn’t as complicated and mysterious as it sounds. It just refers to the creation of substances that can be used as fuel from plants and other organic matter, as opposed to fossil fuels. The actual concept isn’t new, as Ford himself wanted to use ethanol, another name for alcohol, as fuel for his new car models. Dependence on fossil fuels has caused many problems for our environment and economy, and biofuels are a reasonable alternative to keep everything running as it should without further damaging the planet.

One issue that could be keeping biofuel from reaching as many people as possible is language. Different scientists are working on biofuel development all over the world, but how are they supposed to share their findings with the rest of the scientific community if they don’t work with trained translators? Here are four reasons organizations working with biofuels need translators:

1. Different countries have different resources and methods

Each country with a scientific team working on biofuels has a different set of problems and resources to work with. Some countries are great for growing a certain crop, so they tend to focus on trying to create biofuel out of the surplus. For example, Brazil is a huge producer of sugarcane, and so a team there has created ethanol out of sugarcane. Their method wouldn’t work very well, however, in a country ill-suited for sugarcane growing. However, the findings would be extremely useful for other countries with good climates and land for growing sugarcane. An accurate translation of those findings would allow the flow of scientific knowledge to reach parts of the world that it never would have reached otherwise.

2. Only a specialized human translator is right for the job

Just like any other technical or scientific field, an accurate translation of biofuel research findings can only be obtained from working with a specialized and experienced human translator. Machine translators are quick and easy, and bilingual colleagues can be convinced to translate, but there are far too many drawbacks. Machine translators will spit out a translation that a native speaker might not even be able to understand due to the lack of readability of a machine translation. You end up with a very literal translation of the source text with no concern for the native speaker who will be reading it and needs to understand it. Bilingual colleagues are probably not trained translators, and though they may know the technical terms in two languages, may not be able to produce a final product that is easily understood by the target audience.

3. Everyone will be affected by biofuels, but not everyone speaks the same language

Even in countries that don’t have teams of scientists working tirelessly to figure out the best methods to create biofuel will most likely end up using it, and they deserve to know what their fuel is made of, how it was made, and how it is safer and better that fossil fuel. The only people who can help everyone to understand all of that are translators.

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Category: Business Translation

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