As the need for companies to expand their presence on a global scale increases, so does the need for accurate business translation services.

Companies looking to stay within budget sometimes overlook the need to hire a quality technical translation services company. They risk compromising their brand image by delivering poorly translated text that can result in offense or worse—corporate liability.

Let’s look at the consequences that may occur when you hire the wrong business translations service to handle your translation project.

Business Translations Services Need to Consider Localization

A poorly translated company’s branding message may suddenly take on a different meaning in different markets. Not only can it spell disaster financially in the form of poor sales, but it may cause embarrassment and even offense to the target market.

It’s no wonder then that people in Great Britain wanted nothing to do with the IKEA Fartfull workbench. Mexicans felt offended after learning about Coors’ intention to induce diarrhea in Spanish with their slogan, “Turn it Loose.” And Pepsi insulted the Chinese when their tag was translated to say “Bring your ancestors back from the dead.”

Not only do these translation blunders mean wasting a chunk of the company’s marketing budget, but there’s an added expense to repair the damage.

This is something HSBC bank knows well, as they were forced to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage caused when their catchphrase, “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated to say “Do Nothing” in several foreign markets.

Business Translations Services Must be Sensitive to Cultural Differences

As companies today look to expand into global markets, success depends on how well their intended message is received by the target audience. But as so many companies have learned the hard way, translating your product documentation for localized markets is not as simple as translating text from one language to the next.

Just because a product campaign gained enormous popularity in one market doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll achieve the same level of success in a different market. Without the assistance of qualified linguists who understand the native language and cultural sensitivities of the target market, it can be challenging to translate the intended message in a way that feels authentic and inoffensive.

A good example of this occurred when the California Milk Advisory Board rolled out their “Got Milk?” campaign, experiencing a great wave of success in the United States. However, when the same campaign was introduced in Mexico, residents there interpreted the message to mean “Are you lactating?”

This was highly offensive to the Latino market—it was perceived as a cultural jab at mothers running out of milk. Although the mistake was detected early in the campaign, the error caused damage to the board’s image and resulted in money spent to rebrand themselves to this market.

Hiring the Wrong Business Translations Service Can Result in Liability

Aside from embarrassment and public outcry regarding poorly translated documentation, another serious consequence relating to inaccurate translation comes in the form of lawsuits and liability. This can happen when a user manual contains translation errors and users suffer serious injuries or worse—loss of life.

A medical device that includes a poorly translated instruction manual can present a major risk for doctors and patients who aren’t able to fully understand the text—potentially resulting in a lawsuit or liability for the product’s manufacturer.

At ILS, we offer expert, certified translation services in over 180 languages. We ensure your source document is translated accurately, effectively, and free of errors that can cloud communication or damage your reputation.

We only use native-speaking high quality translators, with vast experience in your industry, who are supervised by expert project managers to ensure your intended message is consistent and accurately translated for the intended target market of your product or service.


The Manufacturers Guide to Technical Translation

Learn all you need to know about technical document translation, key questions to ask, and critical pitfalls to avoid.