Making a mistake in the way that we communicate may only cause us to laugh about it later? Wrong translation can do a lot of harm. A wrong translation can sometimes have minimum consequences but when it comes to business it could lead to really bad situations.
Wrong translation brings more harm than good
Translation tasks are not as easy as they seem
Inaccurate translations have the power to ruin a product or brand’s reputation completely. Do not put yourself and your business in trouble by opting for inexperienced translators to save yourself some cash. Saving cash can end up ruining your business, and nobody wants that. Beware of translation companies that are not professional or do not have certified translators on board. This can put you in a lot of trouble.
Here are some examples where companies made a fool out of themselves by ignoring the fact that they need the help of professional translators and used wrong translation. Translation tasks are not as easy as they seem. Translation is not just the translation of words but it has a lot more to it. The meaning, context, and the cultural aspect has to be considered when translating content. You do not want yourself to be a laughing stock for people and ruin the reputation. Be wise and choose the right option.
Lost in translation
While trying to order lunch off a menu that was only in the local language, a couple resorted to sign language with the elderly waitress. The husband tried to order chicken with his arms flapping and all of them smiled. When the meals arrived, it turned out that the husband’s best charade impression of a chicken had convinced the waitress to bring them roasted duck. The meal was a little more expensive than expected and now the couple knows better than to say “kwa kwa kwa” for chicken.
But what if there is more at risk than a fowl-mix-up? Trying to have something simply translated word for word can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make as it leads to wrong translation.
Same words but different meaning
The simplest words can have completely different meanings or construction of sentences, even if the words are translated into a different language correctly. An easy example for translating from English to many other languages is the statements, usually about the weather: “I am hot.” or “Are you hot?” In many other languages, if you are referring to the weather, you will always construct the sentence as “It is hot to me.” To say it the other way can only be taken to have sexual connotations. Could this wrong translation have unpleasant consequences? It sure can.
Sometimes words seem so close that amateur translators assume they must have the same meaning.
For example, “embarazada” in Spanish is often assumed to mean “embarrassed” in English. One pen company even advertised their safety pen as one that “won’t leak in your pocket and make you embarrassed” using the word. However, in Spanish, embarazada means pregnant. Nobody wants a pen that, if it leaks in your pocket, makes you pregnant! Whoever translated that marketing campaign was out of a job.
In today’s world there is no excuse for not finding a good translation company to translate marketing materials and legal forms or other important documents. It’s no laughing matter. Some have lost a lot due to wrong translation.