Translation is a service that has become an integral part of our everyday life and business experience. With technological advancements, translation is even more accessible to the general public especially in its free-of-charge forms. Neural machine translation has evolved significantly to replace statistical machine translation. It offers a more reliable service for those who do not have access to professional translators.
Still, translation is and remains a sophisticated service that needs to be offered by professionals in the field. Failing to use the right expert for your translation may lead to costly mistakes that can harm your brand identity. In order to avoid that, it is a good idea to know the most common mistakes are.
The most common translation mistakes
Here is a list of errors that you should be looking for when assigning a translation project:
- Assuming that language knowledge leads to translation abilities
There are many people who are bilingual or who have knowledge of one or more foreign languages. While this is an invaluable asset, it does not automatically mean that those people can translate a text properly. A company might assign a translation project to their foreign speaking employees and expect professional results. While this can be useful for certain in-house documentation , it is in no way recommended for business purposes. Professional translators undergo proper training prior to starting their job and have versatile knowledge beside the knowledge of another language.
- Going for verbatim translation
Different languages have different grammar rules, sentence structures, subject-object agreement, and syntax. Hence, a verbatim translation of the source language text into the target language paves your way to failure. While the separate meaning of each word might be correctly rendered, the overall meaning of the sentence might be missing or twisted. This is why, using only machine translation is not the best approach to professional translation projects.
- Failure to grasp meaning, style and tone behind the text
The same words set in a different context can have a totally different meaning and influence upon the reader. The style, tone and intent of the source text should be maintained in the target text. Otherwise, the translation can cause a warehouse of problems for manufacturers, dealers, and any other business entity. If a technical text is translated using casual vocabulary, it will not have the same effect and meaning. Vice versa, if an everyday article or blog post is translated with technical terminology it will lose the attention of the target readers.
- Not paying attention to numbers
You can argue that numbers are numbers in any language. There are different metric systems, currencies, dates, etc., so numbers need to be properly displayed in the given language. When we talk about medical prescriptions and doses, the improper translation of a number can have lethal effects. The same goes with lengths or tonnage when transferring the number from one metric system into another. Numbers should be written in accordance with the system adopted by the target language to avoid any misinterpretation. Numbers and their proper translation can be critical to meet regulation requirements or in getting patents.
- Skipping proofreading
The best way to avoid mistakes is to have the translated text proofread by a professional. Proofreading is important as it helps detect any kind of mistakes – from improper use of language to typos. When it comes to technical document translation, even a coma can make a difference in the entire text and change measures that can entail fatal incidents.
Some of these errors can be made by translators who are not experienced or may lack the specific knowledge of your industry. Therefore, always opt for a service language provider that can meet all of your demands in a translation project.
The role of localization
One of the ways to avoid mistakes is to make sure that the translator is well aware of all the localization techniques and approaches your text with the relevant expertise. Localization is the service that makes sure that the tone, style, nuances, technical specifications, or colloquial expressions are properly rendered.
Localization involves not only maintaining the message of the text but also presenting it in the most appropriate way to the target audience. This includes choosing the right colors, pictures, images and other non-verbal tools typical for the culture of the target language.
Popular translation failures
Even big brands are not safeguarded from mistakes that lead to translation fails. There are several notorious examples that are quite funny but had an adverse effect on the company’s brand. Inc.com reports of epic failures of big names such as Coca Cola that had its brand name translated as “Bite the Wax Tadpole” in Chinese when first entering the market.
The best way to avoid such blunders is to hire a reliable language service provider that offers a complete translation process from beginning to end.
When do translation mistakes cause big problems?
Apart from being funny, like a car name with a strange meaning, “little” translation mistakes can actually cause significant problems. Mistaking a word can dangerous and can also entail significant monetary and legal consequences. Hence translation should be regarded with all the necessary seriousness and care to avoid such dare consequences.
Here, at ICD Translation, we are dedicated to providing only the utmost accurate and reliable translation servicess. We guarantee professionalism and expertise of our translators and project managers so that project go as smooth as possible.