TRANSLATION

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Translation is a powerful tool that allows people to connect. Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. In addition to linguistic skills, a translator needs to have specialised knowledge, an understanding of the cultural elements and experience with translation techniques. Whether you’re launching a product in a new market or communicating medical information, expertise is crucial. A bad translation can cost millions, create legal problems, damage reputations, cause medical errors, and in some cases, can cost lives. 

I translate all variants of French into my native English. I can adapt French content to your specific English audience. Having lived and worked in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, I am able to adapt your French content to your English audience (British, American and Canadian).

What can go wrong?

ERRORS CAN BE AMUSING
ERRORS CAN BE AMUSING

'Children are free'! (Les enfants sont gratuits). Although amusing you can probably figure out that they are not giving away children. This health insurance plan includes children in the plan for no additional cost.

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ERRORS CAN BE MISLEADING
ERRORS CAN BE MISLEADING

'You can watch your favourite programs with a single sink tap'! 'Tap' in English can refer to a sink tap or faucet. It can also mean 'touch' as in 'tap the screen'. Tap was translated in French to 'robinet' which only refers to the plumbing fixture 'sink tap'.  ​

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ERRORS CAN BE OFFENSIVE
ERRORS CAN BE OFFENSIVE

'Slave Style necklace'. Translated from Spanish to French on Mango's website as 'Style Esclave'. 'Esclave' is 'slave' in French and this caused outrage in France, negatively impacting on the brand's image.

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ERRORS CAN BE COSTLY
ERRORS CAN BE COSTLY

'Do nothing'. HSBC Bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign after its catchphrase 'Assume Nothing' was mistranslated to 'Do Nothing'.

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ERRORS CAN BE RISKY
ERRORS CAN BE RISKY

A translation error resulted in failed knee replacement surgeries. In the instructions “non-modular cemented,” was translated as “prosthetics that don’t require cement.” As a result 47 patients had to undergo knee replacement surgery twice.

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ERRORS CAN BE FATAL
ERRORS CAN BE FATAL

A Norwegian in Denmark was treated in hospital for a head injury. He explained that he was a haemophiliac (hemofil). Mistranslated as homofil (homosexual), he was sent home. He died a day later from a brain haemorrhage.

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HOW TO FIND A TRANSLATOR 

Finding a translator or agency can be daunting. If low cost is your primary objective, you can simply shop around and find the best price. The problem is that low-cost translations are often achieved by compromising quality. The result is inaccuracies, errors, texts that don’t read well and words that are not appropriate for the culture or context. If you want to obtain a quality translation the process becomes more complicated. How do you know, much less find, this elusive quality translation? Here are just a few tools to help you find and evaluate a translator.

PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATOR AND INTERPRETER ASSOCIATIONS:

Many countries have professional translator and interpreter associations that list members. You can locate translators and find information about their training, specialisations, experience etc.

GUIDELINES FOR BUYING TRANSLATION SERVICES

SOURCES FOR REFERRALS:

Through friends, acquaintances (word-of-mouth), social media, website reviews, organisations, consulates, google my business.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TRANSLATOR

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE:

Training and experience are equally important. Check both.

CERTIFICATION OR APPROVED TO CERTIFY DOCUMENTS:

Although this is critical for certifying documents it is a good indication that a translator has been vetted and had to demonstrate a level of competence.

 

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE:

Translators often specialise in certain areas eg. legal, marketing, medical etc. If you are looking to have specialised or technical information translated it is worthwhile to find a translator that has this expertise.

 

NATIVE SPEAKER OF THE TARGET LANGUAGE:

A translator fluent in both languages is a must but you also want to ensure the translator you choose is translating into their native language. For example, If you are having a document translated from French to English you need a translator who is fluent in both languages but is a native English speaker.

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