#1: Using Computer Translation and thinking it will do the original justice.
Many people elect to use translation companies that use automated translation software because of the lower cost. However, cheaper translations often come at a cost. When you use a translation company that uses automated translation software, you cannot guarantee that your sentences will flow as nicely as they did in the original. The input does not always equal the output. Translation, like all writing, is not something that a computer could do as well as a human. Even when translating a simple sentence, an automated translation could not only fail to present the original message, it could actually cause it to present very embarrassing word structures –and companies won’t even know about them until a potential client mentions it.
#2: Not using a professional translation service.
Depending on where your company is doing business, you might have to translate a document in several different languages. If you choose not to use a professional translation service, your company will have to spend countless hours looking for people to translate each language that you require. With a reputable translation company, there is a single point of contact –which means you won’t have to worry about keeping track of each language and each translator, and more importantly, you won’t have to worry about security.
#3: Trusting translation agencies that use deceptive advertising.
Some translators and translation companies offer low rates, but do not include proofreading, and there are others who base word counts on the unknown, but hugely increased, target language. Translators who charge by the word count in the target language may add “filler” words to increase the number of words. Not only will it end up costing you more money, it will also take away from the original message you intended.
#4: Using someone you found on anonymous type Classifieds.
These areas are loaded with people pretending to be translators – even using forged credentials. We have heard many stories of customers getting cheated. We could not fathom sending important personal or business information to a “hotmail” or “gmail” account –but it happens all the time –we hear about the consequences.
#5: Not getting material translated properly and hoping the intended audience will still understand.
It is insulting to your target audience (business partners, general public, etc.) to present them with a translation that doesn’t correctly reflect the meanings of the source language. Not only do you run the risk of appearing arrogant, lazy and insensitive, it also makes you look unprofessional. If the people can’t trust the language they’re reading, how do you think they will feel about trusting you?
#6: Using someone who is not a translator.
Some people believe that anyone who speaks more than one language is automatically capable of translating properly. That is not the case. Translation requires a specialized set of skills that is not always easy to find. Translators have post secondary education in a linguistic field. Translators must have an excellent knowledge of both the source and target languages they are working in. Some specialized translators have degree in the specialized area that they translate in – such as medical, legal, etc. When choosing a translator look for specific translation qualifications (not just a foreign language degree) and solid experience. Before you give your trusted documents to an individual or a company, ask them about their certifications.
#7: Using someone translating into his/her second language.
This is a BIG mistake. A good translation requires excellent writing skills which are first developed in the education system and then polished with experience. It is very rare for someone to become a talented writer if his/her education wasn’t conducted in that language. A good translator translates INTO his or her mother tongue.
#8: Ignoring the dialect of the intended audience
People often overlook the different dialects that are used with languages. For example for Chinese, do you require Cantonese or Mandarin? They are written differently. For Portuguese, is your target audience in Brazil, Portugal or Angola? The same as the spoken language, the written is also a little different and natives of each will notice the difference. For Spanish, is your audience in the United States, South America or Spain? In Spain, is your audience Castilian? You need to ensure the translator doesn’t produce a text that sounds ‘foreign’ to the target audience.
#9: Inadequate checking and editing.
It’s not easy to read a sentence in one language and then accurately and naturally express that content in another language. Because of the complexity involved when translating, thorough checking procedures are crucial. Inexperienced translators or even translation companies will sometimes hand over their first attempt as a final translation. The result is an unnatural translation that likely contains mistakes. That is why professional translation companies like ours will use a second translator to thoroughly proofread the initial translator’s ‘final’ text.
#10: Requesting to have translated a document you could possibly not have written in that timeframe.
People often underestimate the time required to translate a document. As a guideline, allow 1 hour translation time per 200 word page (more for technically difficult texts), then allow time for the second translator’s proofreading. The tighter the deadline the less time there is for checking, which dramatically increases the chances of omission and/or error and is much more likely to produce a somewhat stilted final text.