Translation errors and how to deal with them

Translation errors

Translation errors and how to deal with them

(Last Updated On: March 23, 2018)

Have you seen the funny translation errors that we all get on social media? The ones from Chinese to English were honestly the best, and it’s great fun to share with friends and family and have a good laugh. But after a moment or two; you might worry as a client of a translation agency, would my translation will also be full of mistakes?

How to get less translation errors

Translation mistakes are a serious problem that a lot of businesses face because the locals have such clear ownership of the language while you may not realize when an inappropriate word has been used, giving the sentence another meaning.

fix translation mistakes

How to deal with translation errors

Clean Your Copy

It is our responsibility to respect the content that you provide. That includes a duty to not tamper with the content in any way and translate it as close to the original content as possible. This means that the content that is provided to us has to be well- written and well- thought to the best of the client’s ability. Or else, the translation will reflect the original content it is coming from.

The simple way to deal with it is to ask the translator to review your copy and just inform you if they think it needs to be cleaned.

Instruct Clearly

When explaining to the translator what you want to see in the translation, please be as detailed as possible. If you want to begin with the story about the sheep and the goat; it’s fine. But go into as much detail as possible and give as clear instructions as you can humanly possibly give. Instructions are as important as the document itself. Many clients complain about translation errors after getting the final product. But when you look into their initial instructions, they seem to have not said anything significant at all. It is hard to blame the translator when he has already read between the lines so much.

Solution? Prepare your instructions well and then ask the translator to fulfill them.

give clear instructions

Focus On Your Message

Your message has to be your top priority. Give the content for translation that will speak to the audience it is being presented to. For example, the financial market may not react to a spiritual punch line and a religious culture will definitely frown at the monetary benefits first strategy. Make sure that your message is being presented well. If your original content is not viable for efficient translation or localization, the translator should inform the client and discuss with them how to deal with it. This is better than making a translation that is awkward.

Translations are not commonly used by businesses anymore. They lean towards localization; if translation is not a good fit for the target market, the translator should tell the client to look into localization, or maybe to re-phrase the original content in a way that will fit the target culture.

Fix translation errors in time

Translation services should be treated seriously by both clients and translation companies. While both can be at fault for translation mistakes, these can be easily corrected if the client is informed about eventual faults in the original content and can take measures to correct them.