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The challenges of translation in the engineering and oil & gas sectors

The challenges of translation in engineering and oil & gas sectors [Photo: iStock/kodda]
in Oil and Gas

From the Far East to the US and everywhere between, the engineering and oil & gas sectors are among the most international in the world today. Companies themselves can have different departments and branches across a range of countries, while they also need to make sure they are effectively dealing with other companies that operate in a similar manner.

According to reports, among the top performing oil companies in the world, there are a number of different nations represented, including the likes of Russia, the US, China, Columbia and Norway, showing that international dealings are clearly critical in this sector.

Translation is at the forefront when it comes to making these relationships as smooth and precise as possible, and it’s important that expert translators are employed to better manage all of the challenges that come with translating such specialist content. Here, we take a look at just a few of the biggest challenges that exist in these important sectors for translators.


In the oil & gas and engineering sectors, jargon and industry-specific language are more prominent than in most other sectors across the world, so it’s very important that a translator has a handle on these. Someone without requisite knowledge cannot be expected to know all the nuances and the technical terms that come with them, so not having an expert on board can present a challenge.

Technical jargon must be translated in a way that means the document does not lose any of its specialist detail when the target language is lost, so that anyone reading it after the fact has the same understanding as the person who wrote the original, which can be very important when large deals and huge projects are involved.

Multilingual strategies

An effective translation strategy for the oil & gas and engineering sectors must have consistency across the world to achieve success. As mentioned above, these sectors are more multinational than any other in the world, and deals will often not include just two nations, but three or four, or even more, across the globe.

When this is the case, documentation must be consistent and uniform across all target languages. It’s vital that in a deal involving companies, departments and people from a range of different countries, every single one of them understands the same document, in the same way, to ensure uniformity in operation across the world. An effective translation partner can address this issue, with the ability to bring in experts in teams who can handle multi-language projects effectively and promptly.


Consistency is not just important across the globe, of course. It’s also vital that within a company, all documentation that all employees use be translated effectively to promote operational consistency and internal efficiency.

Altogether, your supply chain, production staff, and subcontractor teams will all need to have access to the same data, reports, spreadsheets and contracts to do their jobs effectively. It’s vital that there is real consistency across the board to ensure that no matter why and where a document is to be used, it has the same effectiveness, and can be used properly by the person who is involved.

Low margin for error

Of course, in industries like these, in particular engineering, precision is imperative. When it comes to design and structures, it’s absolutely vital that precision is adhered to so that jobs can be carried out correctly. However, it’s important that this carries over into the translation of documents on the business side as well to ensure that no mistakes are made.

When designs, blueprints and other important documents are to be translated, errors can be the difference between the success and failure of a project. This means that you need your translation provider to give you peace of mind that anytime something is going from one language to another, the tiny margin of error is adhered to to make sure nothing goes wrong where possible.

Engineering and oil and gas sectors are perhaps some of the most international in the world today, thanks to the range of expertise, knowledge and technology required to make their global operations tick. The technical content that comes with these means that the multinational element of translation is even more important because it needs to be right, first time, every time.

It’s vital that companies in these sectors make use of translation services that leverage expertise and industry knowledge. Whether it’s the translation of websites, contracts, manuals, or flexible interpreting, it’s important to make sure translators have specialised sector knowledge and a proven track record to ensure they tick all the required boxes.

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