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Scientific translation refers to the translation of texts to communicate or transmit scientific content in another language, culture and, perhaps, context. In this article we consider science to mean the rational and empirical study of the natural and social world, in all its complexity.
With the aim of defining and better situating scientific translation, we will analyze the aspects which mark scientific discourse, its differences with technical texts and, therefore, with technical translation, with which it tends to be related, and the different text genres and types subject to scientific translation. Specialized terminology tends to be mentioned when talking about the main difficulties and characteristics of scientific translation, while other essential aspects are overlooked, such as subject or domain knowledge, the function of the text, which does not have to be necessarily informative or for reference, cultural differences, or even style.
We will also refer to the role of scientific translation in history, which has consisted of collecting, disseminating and sometimes even remodelling science, and to the languages which have been a lingua franca in different periods and the effect of their idiosyncrasies on this type of translation. We will moreover address the technological processes, methods and resources used in scientific translation, which range from computer-assisted to machine translation, and which have entailed important changes in daily professional activity.
Finally, we will devote a few lines to research in scientific translation and to training in this sphere, which has changed considerably over the last 30 years.
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