Types of Translation Fails & their Effects on Your Business
A low-budget translation may sound appealing, but a cheap translation fails in many areas. By getting a cheap translation, you’re always sacrificing quality. You are left with a bad translation that is inaccurate and unprofessional. Even a minor translation error can have significant repercussions for your business and result in major translation fails that destroy your brand reputation.
Think about it: having just one mistranslated sentence in an important document could hurt a company’s image and reputation. It can even cause a deal to fall through, harm your business or product, and cause legal repercussions. If your brand works in manufacturing or medical fields, translation fails could even place lives at risk or cause severe health implications.
There are just so many effects of translation errors that you need to be aware of. This article explains the main types of translation fails to be aware of and gives tips on avoiding a bad translation.
Objective vs Subjective Translation Errors
There are two types of translation fails to be aware of, both of which contribute to a bad translation. These are objective and subjective translation errors:
- Objective Errors: An objective translation error is something such as a text omission, spelling mistake, or grammatical error. There are no arguments about whether a word is spelt right or a header is missing. They are blatant and – with the right set of eyes – obvious.
- Subjective Errors: Subjective translation errors are harder to address as there might be numerous opinions on the “correct” translation. An example of a subjective mistake would be choosing the most appropriate synonym to convey meaning and tone.
To explain subjective errors more clearly, let’s look at an English example: you can use both automobiles and cars in a sentence. They both mean the same thing, and the one you select is simply down to your preference. Choosing the correct one could depend on the tone of the text. It could also depend on where you come from, your personal style, or the reading level of the recipient.
Most Common Translation Fails & Mistakes
Objective and subjective translation fails describe how matter-of-fact a translation error is. Here is a closer look at some of the most common examples of each:
- Omission: This is where the translation leaves out some information or words, changing the message of the text. This leaves you with a bad translation that doesn’t deliver your intended message effectively and is a common objective translation error.
- Mistranslations: Language is quite creative, and there are various ways to express the same idea. This can mean that text can be misinterpreted, resulting in a mistranslation. Sometimes this happens due to a lack of knowledge in that area. It could also be due to homographs, which are words spelt the same but with different meanings.
Of course, there are not the only mistakes that can result in a bad translation. Not considering the culture of your target audience, minor grammatical errors, or using the incorrect tone can all make your content ineffective. However, omission and mistranslation often lead to the most significant translation fails.
Effects a Bad Translation Can Have on Your Business
There are many impacts translation fails may have on your business. A minor translation error might make your look unprofessional, whereas an increasingly bad translation across your marketing materials might mean you don’t sell as many products or obtain as many clients. However, the biggest translation fails have significant impacts on your business transactions and brand:
1. Business Transactions
Cheap translation doesn’t only keep people from your business – a bad translation can impact your business transactions with partners and investors. If you don’t get professional translations, you are bound to make translation fails. Even a word that is missing or misinterpreted can alter the meaning of a message. One minor translation error can have a huge impact!
Accurate translations are thus always required when handling contracts. Basic phrases and words in the contract can create a misunderstanding when mistranslated. In some cases, it could create delays in the deal. It could cause the deal to fall through in the worst cases, even resulting in a lawsuit.
2. Poor Brand Management
No one intentionally makes a translation error, but even some of the biggest brands have made notable translation fails. A bad translation can be funny, if not a little embarrassing. But in worse cases, mistakes can be offensive and ultimately destroy your brand reputation.
Even if the mistakes in your translations are not offensive, they look unprofessional. People will always want to buy from a reputable company, and having cheap translations of your documents ruins that. Businesses seen as unprofessional are unlikely to get any patronage. Using cheap brand translation can turn your brand into a joke.
How to Avoid Translation Fails
Translation fails can happen as a result of human error. However, mistakes are much more likely when using an automated or machine translation. Machine translation, more often than not, disappoints. You are bound to get various translation errors as the system cannot grasp context and nuances. These translation errors will, in turn, reflect poorly on your brand.
The most effective way to avoid getting a bad translation is to enlist the services of a professional translation agency. They ensure accurate translations by:
- Translating, Editing & Proofreading: Professional business translation services typically involve two or three linguists translating, editing, and proofreading your documents. This makes it extremely easy for an objective translation error to be noticed and rectified, while subjective errors can be debated and resolved.
- Translation Memories: When working with the same client for a while, translation agencies also create a Translation Memory database and style glossaries. Your translators refer to this database to maintain the right tone and brand voice. Business translation services might also include terminologies specific to your organisation or industry.
Of course, the results delivered by translation agencies are better when you give the company enough time to handle your project. A rush job is more likely to contain translation fails, whereas an accurate translation requires patience. Patience is vital when dealing with legal documents, government policies or investments. The last thing you want to do is mess up a deal simply because you chose a cheap translation!
Fast, Accurate & Reliable Translation Services
Are you worried about getting a bad translation? For dependable and error-free business translation, reach out to our team. We offer high-quality translation services in over 120 languages and subject fields. With a network of more than 5,000 professional translators, we can avoid every translation error and guarantee 100% accurate deliverables.
Renaissance Translations is member of the Association of Translation Companies in England as well as SDL LSP Partner Programme. Say goodbye to translation fails and use our trusted service. Contact our project managers today to discuss your translation project!