Summary : If you want to avoid making a similar mistake I would recommend getting your document translated by a professional translator, preferably one who is a native speaker of the language you want your document translated into.
If you choose to go the free route and use online translation software to translate documents then you will quickly run into trouble. There is no rule that free software has to be accurate and, if you do not speak the language, it can be very difficult to work out whether or not the translation is correct.
Pretty much all of the translation software that you can find online translates word by word, meaning that the full translated document you receive will often not be understandable. Without proof-reading it is highly likely that you will send off an incorrectly translated document, possibly causing you to lose business or even cause offence.
Here is a compilation of some of the worst marketing mistakes cause by poor translation:
- In 2006 the hair care company Clairol introduced a curling iron called the Mist Stick, which did very well in U.S. markets. However, the company didn’t change the name of their product when they decided to market in Germany; “mist” means “manure” in German
- The Ford Motor Company introduced the subcompact Pinto in 1971 yet they couldn’t work out why they were not selling more cars in Brazil, that was until they learnt that “Pinto”” is Brazilian slang for “male genitals.”
- Parker Pen’s slogan of “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” was ‘translated’ into Spanish for a Mexican audience, unfortunately the translation read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
- In 2009, HSBC bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage done when its catchphrase “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated as “Do Nothing” in various countries.
If you want to avoid making a similar mistake I would recommend getting your document translated by a professional translator, preferably one who is a native speaker of the language you want your document translated into. Even then I would recommend getting your translated document proofread just to ensure that it is translated accurately.
Most professional translating agencies will also run specific services form documents with medical or legal terminology within them, insuring that the translation is 100% accurate. These services can also be combined with confidential guarantee, meaning that both the translation and the transfer of the document is kept private. However, make sure that you check which services your actual translation agency offers to make sure that your document is being kept confidential.
This article was brought to you by LanguageLine Solutions.