Cheap Translation can be Costly
Last Updated On: November 11, 2022 by The Migration Translators
Translation services used by businesses are more commonplace now than they have ever been. This doesn’t mean their quality is better. Errors are made by translators and if not corrected can do damage to the image of the company that the translation was completed. This really boils down to the fact that you should not undermine the impact of a translation and you should ensure you hire a NAATI translator and a proofreader too so that your reputation of being a quality company with quality products is upheld. A small mistake made by a cheap translator can lead to all sorts of negative side effects which could even lead to legal action being taken.
Many companies these days have a multi-lingual workforce by default, not by design and sometimes they add translation duties to a job description even though the person may not be qualified to undertake translation work. This is where a cheap translation may prove costly and should be avoided at all costs by a business that is serious about promoting its image and products to the world and should be seeking out certified translation services.
The fact of the matter is that if someone believes they have the ability to speak several languages this does not mean the person is qualified to translate in a professional, precise manner. Translation requires talent and professionals translators constantly aim for perfection. Translating words one by one does not usually result in a satisfactory translation as a good translation requires taking into account the linguistic and cultural conventions of the language, culture, and country in question.
A costly but interesting translation blunder was when an HSBC bank tagline was “Assume Nothing” which was mistakenly translated into a number of languages as “Do Nothing!” To repair the costly damage done, the bank had to pay out $10 million in a new campaign that advertised the company in a good light.
A second historically more important mistranslated incident was when the patron saint for translators St. Jerome translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin. He misread the word “karan” as “keren.” This may seemingly be a small mistake and no doubt appeared to be to St. Jerome, but Moses ended up having “horns” over his head instead of the “radiance” he was supposed to have had. This sad mistake ended up with sculptures and even paintings of Moses depicting him with horns, which certainly did not portray him in a favorable light.
In France, the toothpaste company, Colgate, made an attempt to market a new brand of toothpaste which was named Cue. They had done so little research into this word that once out on the market the name was linked to a French porn magazine that also carried that name.
These examples and thousands of others stress the importance of paying for a professional translation service that knows the language to be translated so well that costly mistakes will never be made.