Before the first use, the user should remove any leftover food sticking to the device.
This was an information that I found on an instruction manual of a sandwich maker I once bought. Of course, I looked at the English section of the manual and found that the original sentence referred to stickers on the device, not old food.
In daily life we all come across examples of bad translations.
Some of them may be funny, like the famous slogan Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux, others confusing or annoying, and in the worst-case scenario they might even be dangerous for the user or for company’s reputation.
What can you do to avoid such errors in the translations of your content? The answer is simple: Use a translation agency that offers not only translation, but also a revision step. During our work with multiple companies that translate their content into different languages, we always make sure to stress the importance of both of these steps of the localization process.
This article will list the ways that the translation revisors and their work may impact your business and your company's international growth.
The translation revisor typically checks a translated text against a source (original) text, looking for accuracy errors such as mistranslations, omissions, or additions, terminology errors, linguistic issues, such as spelling and grammar errors, and problems with formatting.
They check for clarity, ensure the text reads well, and is logically consistent.
They also check whether the translator followed the instructions and the glossary as well as any technical specifications provided by the client. Such specifications may be related to length restrictions, or avoiding the use of certain characters that might affect the way that the text is displayed.
Your brand's international success depends on your multilingual content's quality, of course. The translation revisor's work helps companies avoid certain problems and risks on their way to global expansion.
Imagine a company that is having its e-commerce website translated into several languages.
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The workload during this website translation is huge and the translator is working under a lot of pressure due to deadlines. As a result, in the descriptions of several products, they confuse the HDMI and DVI connectors. It may sound like a small issue but it's definitely not for those who order a product and then find that they cannot connect it to their computer.
As a result, the company receives a lot of complaints from unhappy clients who either have to return the product or buy/get additional adapters. They also give the company low scores on company review sites.
In the case of marketing translation, a badly translated message can put off your potential clients.
Related content: 10 Signs That Indicate Bad Marketing Translation Services
Would you trust an airline that advertises its services using a slogan below?
Would you dare to order a wine marketed with the slogan: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for?
There are famous examples of mistranslated slogans, such as Coors Brewing’s Turn it loose translated into Spanish as Suffer from diarrhoea, or Pepsi’s slogan: Pepsi Brings You Back to Life translated in China as Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave which made a laughing stock of the companies that used them.
In the above examples of e-commerce, solving the problem would probably mean quite a lot of money spent on handling the product returns, but the cost of overlooked translation errors can go beyond that.
Imagine a company participating in an invitation to tender.
They have prepared a long data sheet with technical specifications of their product. Any mistranslation of these might result in their product being judged as incompliant with the tender specification, thus leading to the loss of contract and potential earnings.
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Or, put yourself in the shoes of the international bank that was forced to spend millions of dollars on rebranding because they realized too late that their slogan Assume nothing, was mistranslated as Do nothing, which was hardly the message they wanted to convey.
Some time ago I was revising a translation for a manual where the instruction to turn off the machine for maintenance was incorrectly translated as the instruction to turn on the machine for maintenance.
If the error had not been spotted and corrected, and if the operator had followed the instructions in the manual, the consequences might have involved damage to the machine, serious injury to the maintenance staff, or even death.
Similarly, in the case of medical translations the consequences of errors may be very serious.
Wioleta Karwacka in her article in The Journal of Specialized Translation mentions an example of a health-impacting translation error which resulted in the incorrect use of a knee prosthesis in Germany in 47 operations.
Apparently, there are two different types of knee prosthesis— for use with or without cement. The original description on the package of the prosthesis stated that the prosthesis was non-modular cemented, and it was incorrectly translated as non-cemented or without cement.
For over a year the surgeons were implanting the elements in an incorrect manner, which had a serious impact on the health of their patients.
Whether you run an e-commerce website and need a large number of product descriptions translated quickly, or you manufacture machinery with very long and complex user manuals and servicing instructions, it may often happen that the translation project could take months for one single translator to translate it, which means your product launch might get postponed.
Related content: How to Reduce Turnaround Time for Content Translation
The solution is to use more than one translator, but because each translator has an individual style and preferences, the risk is that the text itself will be inconsistent, the product descriptions will use different forms, and in general the result will be messy.
This is where the translation agency’s revisor steps in, ensuring consistency between the translators’ work by both implementing corrections to the already-translated parts of text and by providing instructions to the translators participating in the project during the course of their work.
Some time ago I was asked to do a linguistic check on the subtitles in a translated video which was prepared using translation-only workflow.
The video translation was accurate, fluent, and generally very good from a linguistic point of view, but there was one major problem — the subtitles were too long.
Some of them were broken into three lines, obscuring a large part of the picture.
Others fit the two-line restriction, but were much too long for the viewer to read comfortably in the available time.
The number of corrections to be implemented in a short, 10-minute video was huge and finally the client decided that implementing them would take too much time. The best option would be to retranslate the file and burn the subtitles again.
In many cases, such as the example above, translation is just the basis for further work on the client’s or translation agency’s side.
This happens, for example, in the case of software localization where translated strings are incorporated into the final application by client’s engineers. Or in e-learning courses, where the translation is recorded and the translated on screen and audio texts are implemented into the final course.
In such cases, if any problem with the translation is spotted after the engineering stage, implementing the corrections may mean many hours of engineering work.
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Many clients use the help of internal reviewers to make sure the translated text meets their expectations, but for such team members, reviewing translation is usually only an additional duty, often with low priority.
Related content: 6 Reasons Why Your Team May Fail in Translation Quality Review
Your internal resources want to concentrate on their main tasks, be it marketing or technical matters, not on correcting translations.
If the translation they receive requires extensive changes, their revision can take significantly more time.
Overloaded by other duties, they may have problems finding the necessary time, and thus the review gets postponed, resulting in the delay of the whole project.
Using a translation agency that offers not only translation but also a revision stage means that the internal reviewers receive a significantly better text, consistent with the instructions and specifications provided, and thus requiring less time for revision.
As a result, they will be able to complete the review more quickly, without causing a delay to the project.
So, if you don't want to risk additional cost, workload, and damage to your reputation caused by overlooked translation errors, the next time you order a translation, look for a translation company that offers not only translation, but also the revision step.