Incorrect Translation: The Dangers of Cutting Corners

  |  November 14, 2018

Cutting corners often results in an incorrect translation.

Cutting costs is simply good business. Everyone knows that. But when cutting corners to save money results in an incorrect translation of important company documents, what have you gained? Cutting corners can short-circuit the entire process.

Hiring a bad translator and settling for a cheap document translation, especially as a hurried or last-minute decision, will cost you more in the long run. In addition to the expense of correcting the bad translation, your mistake will cost you time and could even cost your business reputation, if the incorrect translation was made public and offended your target audience or caused your product to be misused.

A professional document translation partner like ILS is worth every bit of the cost.  Quality document translation from a quality, long-term translation services partner is an investment in your company’s reputation for excellence and customer relations.

Let’s examine some of the dangers of cutting corners and settling for a cheap document translation. The risks of incorrect translation are simply too high to place cost above all other considerations.

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An Incorrect Translation Needs Retranslating

A cheap document translation will inevitably need to be retranslated. This costs you money for retranslation and wastes time—time and money that could’ve been saved had you used a professional document translation services partner from the start.

An incorrect translation can cost you in customer satisfaction. Mistranslated content can be misinterpreted by your target audience. They may find your message to be confusing or insulting to their cultural sensitivities. A bad translation costs you something you may never get back: your company’s reputation.

By partnering with a professional technical translation company, you benefit from access to years of experience from native-speaking translators who’ve worked extensively with companies like yours on similar projects. They speak the same language as your intended target audience and understand critical cultural nuances and dialects.

An Incorrect Translation Sends Confusing Messages

If you have tried to secure a cheap document translation by using online translation tools, you’ve likely discovered their ineffectiveness in accurately translating your message. Or perhaps you’re considering contracting with a local community college student or non-native speaker for your translation needs.

While this option may save money now, it can cost you dearly down the road when the wrong translation hits your target market. Machine or online translation services and non-native speakers aren’t localization experts. They cannot distinguish or detect a culture’s sensitivities and tone.  And, if your message is not clearly understood in the source language, it cannot be properly translated.

A Spanish-speaking college student of Mexican descent likely won’t realize that some of the same words used in Mexico can mean something entirely different in Colombia or elsewhere in South America. As a result, your intended message can take on a completely different meaning and cause embarrassment or even a lack of trust in your brand.

Without the proper industry tools and quality controls, your project is unlikely to be completed on time or to meet your expectations.

A professional translation services partner like ILS employs native-language linguists who can distinguish between the different dialects of a language. Moreover, they speak the language themselves, which gives them a distinct advantage over a bad translator who only speaks it second-hand.

An Incorrect Translation Can Increase Your Liability

A cheap document translation service will not likely possess an in-depth knowledge of your particular industry. Technical terminology and jargon will be unfamiliar and misunderstood. These incorrectly translated words or instructions can find their way into vital safety documents or instruction manuals.

Providing confusing instructions to employees or customers is worse than providing no instructions at all. If a document you provide to employees is proven to have contributed to misunderstandings that resulted in an accident or injury, you could be held legally liable for damages and more. A bad translator could cost someone an injury or even their life.

At ILS, our native language linguists are also subject matter experts in a host of different technical fields. All are vetted in accordance with our ISO quality processes and have verified expertise in the industry for which they translate. Therefore, you can be sure your industry-specific terms and explanations are understood and translated correctly into the target language.

An Incorrect Translation Is Usually a Rush Job

Many companies try to cut costs by pushing the translation company to spend less time on the project than is absolutely necessary. Many a wrong translation has resulted from a bad translator who compromised quality to meet an unrealistic deadline or a process that did not include independent proofing and editing.

At ILS, we will provide you with realistic guidance about how long a translation project will take. We likely have experience with similar projects from our over 35 years of professional document translation services in a variety of industries. Therefore, you can be sure we know how long your project will take to complete.

Also, our customer guarantee ensures you will be satisfied with our work and its timely delivery. You will have a dedicated project manager at ILS who will guide your projects through every stage of the translation process. This also helps to provide a personal touch and continuity for your future projects.

International Language Services has been helping clients translate important materials for more than 35 years. You can be certain that we will find the most efficient way to communicate your messages without compromising quality.