Rewriting the planet’s future: translations for the energy and sustainability sector
Translations for the energy and sustainability sector are in greater demand than ever before. COP26 showed us that global warming, carbon emissions, deforestation caused by fires, flooding and cyclones that are increasing in frequency worldwide, plastic in the oceans and toxic waste disposal are just some of the key issues being discussed by politicians and businesses today.
Three areas of expertise for energy and sustainability
Translations for the energy sector are engaging, and often call for in-depth scientific knowledge, as is the case with biogas plants or safety systems for hydroelectric power stations and gas pipelines. Fields such as physics, electronics, thermal technology and chemistry all call for technical know-how; once the translator’s work is finished, it can sometimes prove useful for a consultant to review it.
In other cases, an environmentally-aware translator is required; someone capable of interpreting the steps a business needs to take to minimise its environmental impact. When translating sustainability techniques and regulations, the translator must harness legal expertise whilst displaying a flair for everything related to the environment, ecosystems, and protecting flora and fauna. These are texts which are often full of botanical or zoological terms for describing animal species found in a given area. So skills from studies in biology or environmental sciences are also required.
But energy and sustainability translations also demand a third skill: a talent for making texts accessible. This means being able to communicate tricky subjects to a non-expert audience in a way that is clear and simple, whilst ensuring the content remains scientific and that the information is accurate. New electric cars and their charging devices offer one such example: they need to be handled by technicians as well as end users who may not be familiar with the technical jargon, or how the electricity grid works. But users still need to be able to recharge their cars. Communicating and transposing texts into another language simply but authoritatively, in a way that strikes a subtle balance, is what a good translator must achieve when translating installation, usage and maintenance manuals for all types of devices.
Translating sustainability reports
Sustainability Reports and Social Responsibility Reports drafted by Benefit Corporations or companies adopting CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) codes call for a different approach. But instead of listing figures showing how healthy the company’s turnover, expenses and profits are, the report gives data offering a general overview of the approach the business takes when it comes to managing its premises, its staff and the communities it operates in.
This calls for considerable insight, and the ability to use the tone of voice the client has adopted to describe its positions on crucial issues such as the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) set by the UN in its 2030 Agenda. Translations of this kind of document need to convey an approach, an aptitude, a future-oriented way of seeing the world and society.
Opitrad for energy saving and sustainability
You might be forgiven for thinking that a translation agency has little bearing on these issues, and cannot do much to affect sustainability and climate change. But in our own way, we do whatever we can.
- Our work is 100% Internet and smart working-based, as our translators are located all over the world. We handle vast numbers of critical documents, sometimes hundreds of pages long, completely via the Web. This avoids the need to travel from A to B, or to print everything off. We only consume very limited amounts of paper: after ten years in business, all our printed work documents fit into just twenty A4 folders.
- We have adopted digital filing systems that avoid using printing ink. We are located in the centre of Milan, so we generally use public transport for getting around town or for visits outside the city centre.
- We also limit our use of disposable goods such as paper coffee cups: we have our own ceramic cups, and we serve coffee to our customers in recyclable paper cups.
They might seem like small steps but, combined with others, they can make the difference when multiplied by billions of people!