Translating Renewable Technologies: What You Need to Know

Wind mills in an open field with water in the background

Working Toward a Sustainable Future

Renewable technologies have emerged as a crucial element of the transition to a more sustainable future. As these technologies become more widespread around the world, accurate and effective translations of technical and marketing documents will play an essential role in the shift to efficient and sustainable sources of energy. In this blog post, we’ll explore the major types of renewable technologies, examine some of the applicable laws, discuss the complexities involved in translating documents related to these technologies, and offer some tips to ensure the best possible translations.

Overview of Renewable Technologies

When we talk about renewable technologies, we’re really talking about a number of different technologies. While they involve different technical processes, they all attempt to generate energy using sustainable resources. Unlike fossil fuels, sustainable sources of energy will not become depleted in the future.


  1. Solar power: Solar energy harnesses the power of sunlight through photovoltaic (PV) panels or solar thermal collectors. PV panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, while solar thermal collectors use the sun’s heat to generate steam, which drives turbines to produce electricity.


  1. Wind power: Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy. They consist of rotor blades that capture the wind’s energy and spin a generator, which generates electricity.


  1. Hydropower: Hydropower harnesses the energy of flowing or falling water to generate electricity. This involves the use of dams or water turbines to convert the water’s energy into mechanical power, which is then transformed into electricity.


  1. Biomass: Biomass refers to organic matter derived from plants, animals, or waste products. It can be used to produce heat, electricity, or biofuels through processes such as combustion, gasification, or fermentation.

Applicable Laws

There are many international, national and regional standards, which makes navigating the laws that apply to renewable technologies difficult. Germany’s leadership in this area allows its laws to serve as a good example, though. The applicable laws in Germany include:


  1. Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG): The EEG is the primary law that governs the expansion of renewable energy in Germany. It established a feed-in tariff system that guarantees preferential payment for electricity generated from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower.


  1. Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz, EnWG): The EnWG regulates the organization and operation of the energy industry in Germany. It includes provisions related to grid access, network expansion, and market design, with the aim of promoting competition and supporting the integration of renewable energy in the grid.


  1. Climate Protection Act (Klimaschutzgesetz): The Climate Protection Act sets binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for different sectors in Germany. It includes specific emission reduction goals for energy, industry, transport, buildings, and agriculture. The law requires regular reporting on progress toward these targets as well as implementation measures.


  1. Energy Saving Ordinance (Energieeinsparverordnung, EnEV): The EnEV sets energy efficiency standards for new buildings and major renovations. It defines requirements for insulation, heating systems, and energy consumption limits, with the goal of reducing energy demand and promoting energy-efficient construction.


  1. Combined Heat and Power Act (Kraft-Wärme-Kopplungsgesetz, KWKG): The KWKG promotes the use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems in Germany. It provides financial incentives and support mechanisms to encourage the efficient generation of electricity and heat simultaneously, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


  1. Federal Immission Control Act (Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz, BImSchG): The BImSchG regulates environmental pollution caused by industrial facilities, including power plants and other energy infrastructure. It sets limits on emissions and establishes procedures for approving and monitoring installations to ensure compliance with environmental standards.


These are just a few examples of the laws that govern the energy transition in Germany. It is important to be familiar with the legal and regulatory framework in the relevant countries in order to understand the underlying concepts. It is also important to have knowledge of the relevant terminology during the translation process to ensure accurate and consistent translations.

Technical Considerations

Translating documents about the energy transition requires familiarity with technical aspects of the technologies to ensure the accuracy and clarity of the translations. Here are some key technical aspects that need to be kept in mind during the translation process:


  1. Energy technologies: The energy transition involves different technologies, such as wind power, solar power, biomass, and energy storage. Knowledge of these technologies, how they work, and the related terminology is crucial to correctly translate documents associated with their implementation, operation, and integration.


  1. Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is a crucial aspect of the energy transition. Successful translations require familiarity with energy-efficient technologies, building standards, and energy management systems to ensure precise translation of documents related to energy-saving measures, energy audits, and efficiency regulations.


  1. Grid integration: The integration of renewable energy sources into the electrical grid is a key component of the energy transition. Knowledge of concepts such as grid infrastructure, transmission systems, smart grids, and grid stability is essential to effectively translate documents about grid integration, interconnection, and balancing schemes.


  1. Data and metrics: Energy transition documents often contain complex data, statistics, and metrics about energy generation, consumption, and the associated environmental impact. An understanding of the units of measurement, data sources, and statistical methodologies is crucial to accurately translate information and maintain data integrity.


  1. Industry standards: A grasp of the relevant industry standards and certifications, such as ISO standards for renewable energy, quality management, and environmental management, is key for successful translations. These standards need to be kept in mind when translating documents connected with certification processes, technical specifications, and compliance requirements.


Translating technical documents requires not only linguistic proficiency but also subject matter expertise. It is essential to have an in-depth understanding of the technical aspects of the equipment and services used in this sector in order to be able to provide correct translations.

Tips for Achieving the Best Translation Results


  1. Find the right partner: Look for a translation provider that is familiar with the technical aspects of the energy transition. This includes an awareness of the nuances of the various technologies and familiarity with the applicable legislation. It is important to work with a translation vendor that stays on top of the latest technical and legal developments.


  1. Terminology management: Developing a comprehensive glossary of terms will help maintain consistency across translations and ensure the use of the proper terminology. Terminology databases will also help streamline the translation process and save time and money.


  1. Quality control: A good translation vendor will have a rigorous quality control process to verify accuracy and ensure consistency, including editing and proofreading stages. This, in turn, will help reduce costs and avoid embarrassing and potentially costly errors. It will also result in a clear and polished final product.


Translation plays a crucial role in disseminating information and promoting the adoption of renewable technologies worldwide. As the renewable energy sector continues to evolve, accurate and expert translations of technical and marketing documents are paramount. By working with skilled translators who are familiar with the technical and legal points related to renewable technologies, you can ensure the successful dissemination of key information about your renewable energy services or products. This will ensure that vital information reaches a global audience effectively, accelerating the transition to a greener and more sustainable future and adding to your company’s business success.


Contact GLS to see how we can put our expertise in this area to work for you.


By Jim Cohen