With an increasing number of countries moving towards generating safer nuclear power, it will not be long before demand for nuclear translations shoots up. Countries with diverse languages and cultures such as India, China and Russia are moving rapidly towards new nuclear plants that might be designed and developed in one country and commissioned in another. Nuclear translations and translators will play a huge role in ensuring that each piece of equipment is installed safely and smoothly.

Life-cycle of a nuclear power plant consists of various phases including construction, commissioning, operation, shutdown, and decommissioning. Plus there are other inherent processes like mining of the raw material (uranium), processing and enrichment, power generation and distribution, radioactive waste removal and management, nuclear material physical protection, control and accounting, process monitoring, use of controls and safety equipment, security culture, etc. And each one of those processes requires thorough understanding by the translator/interpreter and ability to render information in another language.

Of course, no nuclear site operator wants to have any problems (let alone accidents) that could halt their main processes (be it power production, fuel element fabrication, or spent fuel reprocessing) or put people and/or environment at risk. And though most western countries have staff that are well-conversant in reading and understanding instructions in English, other countries that manufacture critical components might simply compile all their documents in their local language. The same is true when a particular country such as China tries to comprehend instructions in English with a technical staff that understands only a few dialects of the vast Chinese language.

In such a case, an ordinary translator will not be able to make head or tail about the complex documents, let alone translate them correctly. A translator with sufficient technical knowledge will have to carry out nuclear translations so as to translate each word in its proper context. This is very important as certain content and context get changed during translation, and the right nuclear translator should quickly pick up an error before it is executed. An engineer might be good in his or her work but might not have knowledge of correctly translating each word in a document or an instruction manual in another language. This will fuel the need for individuals proficient in technical translations in the near future.

Nuclear translation involves people that have thorough knowledge about the complete working of a nuclear plant or a processing facility. In addition, they should be knowledgeable about components that are required for the plant and their role in the relevant processes. They should also have good communication skills since they will have to interact with engineers and technicians that not only devise the documents in different languages but also those that play a major role in actually producing them.

This will enable them to use the right terminology during translation so that the translated meaning does not lose direction. Unfortunately, while some companies try to use computer software for translating sensitive and technical documents, others cringe from paying technical translators the right amount of money for nuclear translations. Some organizations simply rely on their engineers to offer half-baked translations, which leads to costly delays and errors during commissioning and running of the plant.

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