Translation in the Automotive Industry

By Chiara Grassilli
In Technical Translation
Mar 10th, 2014

Translation in the Automotive Industry


The automotive industry has historically been a trend-setter for many standards in the global marketplace and economy. Partially this is because the industry is made up of well-established companies, and partially it’s because it is a global industry that comes into contact with people in every country. Therefore, a need for translation services in the automotive industry is a great precedent for other industries around the world. Fortunately, there is a huge demand for these services in this industry.


Automobiles are marketed in every country in the world, and this creates an immediate and critical demand for translation services. The needs can span normal marketing and advertising materials, such as billboards, magazine ads, websites, and commercials, or it can involve brand-specific endeavors such as product catalogs and information brochures used in dealerships.


Software is used throughout the entire process of modern automotive production. From designing the bodies of the next generation of cars, to writing the software that helps operate the vehicle, to the software that runs the factories where the vehicles are built and assembled, software plays a key role. All of that software needs to be localized and translated. Anything that slows down the manufacturing process – such as clumsily translated user interfaces for software – hits the industry in its pocketbook.

Manuals and Documents

An automobile sale generates a pile of paperwork and documentation. From contracts and sales slips to warranty information, it all needs to be translated. In addition, each car usually has a user or customer manual, as well as a service manual. This need even extends into third-party companies that provide detailed mechanical manuals for servicing and repairing each specific vehicle.

Onboard Digital Systems

In the modern age, most vehicles are integrated with onboard digital computer systems. These systems can be used in climate control functions, audio systems, or navigation or GPS systems. All of these have user interfaces that would require localization and translation. Also, more and more cars are now including onboard voice control systems, which need to both speak and understand a variety of languages.

Customer Service

Customer service is another area that is critical to the automotive industry, and also one of the most important when it comes to translation and language services. When dealing with irritated customers, it never hurts to be able to speak to them in a language they are comfortable with. Subscription based communications systems, such as OnStar, can also be used in emergency situations where someone’s life may be on the line. In those situations, clear and accurate directions in a person’s native language are absolutely critical.


As you can see, the need for translation and language services in the automotive industry has a vast reach. Everything from written materials, to audio, to audio recognition requires translation. Marketing materials, advertising content, computer systems, customer service, financial transactions, and legal documentation all need to be translated in a clear, concise, and – most importantly – accurate manner.


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About "" Has 112 Posts

Since an early age I have been passionate about languages. I hold a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting, and I have worked as a freelance translator for several years. I specialize in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media. I love blogging and I also run the blog

3 Responses to “Translation in the Automotive Industry”

  1. […] Translation in the Automotive Industry by @TranslatorT #xl8  […]

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  3. Good summary Chiara and thanks for using Pangeanic as a reference web.