Lost In Translation: The Pitfalls of Translator Error

Have you ever tried to watch a foreign film with poorly translated subtitles? Depending on how egregiously bad they were, you probably sat through a few minutes of the babble before eventually giving up and throwing on Netflix.
Now take that frustration, multiply it by a thousand, and add a dose of public embarrassment—this is the fate of businesses without a quality translation team at their backs.

The Challenges of Translation

Bad translations of movie scripts is one thing, but the problem becomes significantly worse when translations of professional documents and business materials are needed. There are two primary challenges of business document translation:

  • Achieving 100 percent accuracy
  • Maintaining cultural nuances (known as localization)

Both of these goals are difficult to reach. Accuracy is always a challenge for translators, but when those translators are working on sensitive documentation that describes business goals, partnership responsibilities, or terms of service, word-by-word translations aren’t enough.
There are many subtle aspects to each language that must be preserved when translated. Cultural phrasing and distinctions unique to each language can be just as important as the words on the page, and must be accounted for in all professional interactions. Otherwise, businesses risk—at best—misrepresenting their own brands, and—at worst—offending their business partners.

Translation and Writing

Because of these challenges (and the consequences therein), businesses can’t afford to cut corners when sourcing their translation services. Only the top translators will be able to accurately translate materials while maintaining the cultural nuances of each language. The best results here come from teams that include both writers and translators. With translators protecting the subtleties of each language and writers guaranteeing that each piece of content is well-written and readable, businesses can achieve complete accuracy for each document.