21 Sep /10

Translation services for the construction and architecture industry

construction translationAll participants in the construction business such as construction developers, architects, engineers, investors and general contractors need professional and accurate translation services.

Construction documents include building plans and drawings, specifications and any supporting documents created or accessed during the completion of a building project. Building plans and all relevant architectural, structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical drawings are the industry standard documents used to outline the project.

Today outsourcing is a common practice in the construction business. The US and Europe are looking for locations where skilled architects can prepare all the necessary documents that are required. But this trend raises the need for the design information to be translated into the native language of the architect or a universal language like English and later to be translated back to the original language.


A UK developer needs a building plan for a construction project to be executed in France and hires a Spanish architect.

The information required for preparing the plan must be delivered to the architect in English and/or Spanish. The architect must also receive the guidelines of the local government authorities in France for making the structural design. Those guidelines will be available in the French language and therefore need to be translated into English and/or Spanish.

Design documents must be submitted by the architect to the developer/owner for approval as the project is being constructed. In some cases, documents might be changed in some manner by the owner or architect. These written changes will become an official part of the construction document set.

All the aforementioned requires that through the designing process, all documents to be available in English and Spanish languages. Once the completed set of building plans is ready to be submitted for review by the local government authorities in France, all documents must be translated into French language.

Incomplete or incorrect translations at this stage might result in developer not obtaining a building permit. Translation services providers can assist construction developers in precisely filing a building permit application form in cases where it is to be filed in a different country.

Large industrial construction projects require the involvement of many international professionals like architects, civil engineers, mechanical, electrical, structural, fire protection engineers, surveyors, interior designers through the design process; hence again the importance of translation services.

Once the design process is complete, the construction project is ready to be sent out for bids. At this stage it is possible that face-to-face tender negotiations be conducted with potential contractors. This will require the need of interpreting services.

Developers select and sign construction contracts with the appropriate contractor. The construction contract is a legally binding agreement between parties on the details and cost of a construction project. The contract must be available in the native languages of all parties involved.

Construction documents provide comprehensive instructions to the contractor/contractors as to how the project shall be constructed. All documents shall be available in language/languages that can be understood by contractor/contractors.

Large-scale construction projects often requite external financing and complex financial management. All financial documents shall be precisely translated and available in all possible languages in order to reach and attract a large scope of potential investors.

The need for professional language translations services for all participants in the construction industry can be best met by a translation company that has the following:

  •        Proven track record of completed technical translation and interpreting services
  •        In-house pool of industry-specific translators and interpreters, with background in construction or architectural engineering
  •        Translators that have access to up-to-date industry specific dictionaries and glossaries and that are familiar with the terminology used in the construction industry.
  •        In-depth knowledge of legal concepts and terms
  •        Team of professional financial translators.
  •        Structural engineering specialists
  •        Quality Assurance department
  •        Experience in working with construction design software: 3D, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) etc.
  •        Ability to work to tight deadlines for tenders

If one were searching for an argument which would strongly support the vital importance of good translation in the service of providing first class construction one would have to search no further than building the Tower of Babel. Imagine if those ancient architects had the access to professional language translation services when they were trying to build a tower to the heavens. Maybe history would have been different!