Translation Services: How to Avoid Translation Errors

From international marketing to global business partnerships to increasing worldwide sales, there are numerous exciting reasons to use translation services that can be beneficial for you or your business. The problem is that not all translation services provide accurate document translations, which can then negatively impact your business, credibility, or reputation. We have highlighted the common translation errors that occur when you use inadequate translation services and how they have an impact on the quality of your translated document. Avoid translation errors in your documents by using the professional and accredited IL Consultancy (IL Consultancy) translation services.


Different Types of Translation Errors:

Different translation errors will have different impacts on the quality of your translated document. While some translation errors can be viewed as minor mistakes, some translation errors can impact the understanding of the document, offend the target readers, or have negative effects on your business. We have highlighted a few of the common translation errors that can occur in your translated document when you use inadequate translation services.

1) Excluded Text:

This translation error occurs when the translator has left out information from the original document in the translated document. Excluded information will result in a translated document that is incomplete and will thus impact the quality and meaning of the translated document. Excluded information is usually caused when the translated document is not proofread against the original document.

Excluded text from a document is the same as having a recipe for a cake with missing ingredients and cooking method steps. The omitted information can lead to misunderstanding, offense, or severe impacts on your reputation or business. For example, if you have a sales agreement translated and there is missing information in the payment terms, it can become difficult to get the money that is owed to you for the sale of your property or business.


2) Mistranslation:

Mistranslations are severe translation errors that will impact the meaning of your translated document. Mistranslations occur when the translator is unfamiliar with the subject matter, the translator makes assumptions about the meaning of the original document, or the translator does not have a strong grasp of the cultural references of the target readers. Mistranslation errors are also typical in translated documents that are not proofread for quality control.

The negative impact of mistranslations is particularly notable in marketing, as seen in a marketing campaign by Ford. Ford had a marketing campaign stating, “every car has a high-quality body”. When they took this marketing campaign to Belgium, the direct translation into Dutch stated, “every car has a high-quality corpse”. The use of the word “corpse” in a marketing campaign is far from enticing for new potential Ford car owners and is thus a demonstration of how mistranslations can have an impact on your business.

Mistranslations also often occur due to there not being a direct translation for the original word or phrase. It is then up to the translator to choose a suitable word or phrase that still conveys the original meaning. If the translators are not experienced and equipped with your specific niche terminology or content, the words they choose for the translation may warp the meaning and result in an inaccurate translation.

3) Language Not Localised:

Localisation is an important factor to consider when you are acquiring translation services. Language and culture are not separate elements, and translated documents that do not include localisation can become confusing or offensive for the target readers. You cannot simply have a document translated into French, you need to have it translated into either European French, Canadian French, or African French to provide meaning and value to your target readers.

The importance of localisation in translated documents is demonstrated by the Pepsodent marketing failure in Southeast Asia. Pepsodent, an American toothpaste brand, used the slogan “you’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!” to appeal to Western societies that value white teeth. When this slogan was translated and marketed to Southeast Asia, the product failed as certain cultures in Southeast Asia do not hold the same cultural value for white teeth.

4) Terminology and Technicality Errors:

Hiring a translator that is qualified and fluent in your desired language but is inexperienced in your specific subject matter can result in various translation errors. Every industry will have niche terminology and technicalities that need to be adhered to in the translation. If your document is jargon-dense and your translator does not understand the terminology, they may substitute with their own translations that will affect the meaning and quality of your translated document.


5) Capitalisation Problems:

Translation errors can occur when there is an inaccurate capitalisation of words in the translated document. There are key differences between the rules regarding capitalisation across the different languages. Spanish, for example, does not capitalise months, languages, nationalities, religions, and days of the week in the same way that English does. Disregarding these nuances in a translated document can be seen as a lack of consideration for the target language and may be offensive to the target readers.

6) Name Misspellings:

Names of people and places are extremely important to get right when translating a document to avoid offending your target audience. The spelling of a specific name holds intrinsic value for a person or a place and can be felt as insulting when the name is incorrectly spelled. This translation error is specifically prevalent when the target language does not share the same alphabet as the original language, which can result in mistakes in the spelling of the names.

7) Spelling, Grammar, and Syntax Errors:

Spelling, grammar, and syntax errors in a translated text will naturally result in problems with the document. Spelling mistakes, incorrect use of punctuation, or direct translations that affect the meaning of the sentence due to differences in sentence structure between the original language and target language will all affect the understanding and quality of your translated document. These translation errors occur when the translator is not fluent in the specific language or has not proofread the translated document.

How to Avoid Translation Errors:

You may be wondering how you are meant to pick up any translation errors in your translated document if you do not understand the language that your work has been translated into. Your best way to avoid translation errors and the associated impact on your reputation, credibility, or business is to choose translation services offered by a professional translation company. We have outlined the four qualities to look for to find a translation company with translation services that you can trust to be error-free.

1) Accredited Company:

Accreditation is an important factor to look for when trying to find a trustworthy translation company. In South Africa, a translation company that is accredited by the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) will offer reliable translation services. SATI is an internationally recognised accreditation institution and ensures stringent controls to allow only reliable translation companies to receive their respected accreditation.

2) Qualified Translators:

Once you have sourced a few accredited translation companies, you can then assess the credibility of the translators that work for the translation company. Being a professional translator requires more than simply being fluent in a given language. Translators need to become qualified and accredited to offer translation services for their specific language. You can ask to see the qualifications of the translators in your selected translation companies to discover which translation companies have reliable translators.

3) Experienced with Document Type and Industry:

Your chosen translation company needs to have translators that are qualified and experienced in the specific industry and document type that you need to be translated. There are major differences between the technicalities, terminology, and subject matter of a romance novel and an employment contract, and your translator will need to be equipped to handle the specific nuances in the translations of your specific documents. When your translator has experience with your specific requirements, you will reduce the margin for error in the translations.

4) Able to Localise:

The final checkpoint before you select a translation company is to see whether they offer a localisation service. Localisation services provide your translated document with the appearance and quality of the target language and culture. The translators will have an in-depth knowledge of the culture of your target audience and will avoid any errors in their translation that may lead to misunderstanding, offence, or impacts on your reputation.


IL Consultancy Translation Services:

IL Consultancy is a professional translation company that offers accurate translation services. As a global translation company, you can enjoy the reliability of our translation services from anywhere in the world. When you are looking for a translation service that you can trust to be both efficient and error-free, IL Consultancy is the translation company for you.

We strive to provide you with confidence in the quality and standard of our translations. With us, you will enjoy a client-orientated service where we take every step to ensure you receive the best translation service. We ensure accuracy and professionalism in our translations by offering you these important factors in our translation services.

SATI Accredited: We are a SATI accredited translation company. Our accreditation is to provide you with the assurance of our credibility as a translation company. As an internationally recognised accreditation, you can trust that we are the translation company for you no matter where you are based.

Perfectly Matched Translators: We will pair your translation project with a qualified subject matter expert who is proficient in your desired language as well as the relevant terminology, technicalities, and content of your documents. This ensures that your translated documents will be accurate and of the highest standard with our translation services.

Localisation Services: We offer a localisation service to provide you with perfectly translated documents suited to your target language and culture. Your paired translator will be adept at the local sensitivities, gender roles, and political correctness, among many other important factors that will bring a local feel to your translated document. Our localisation service ensures that your translated document will be devoid of errors that will impact your reputation or reliability.

Quality Control: We understand that translation errors in your translated documents can have catastrophic consequences for your reputation, credibility, or business opportunities. This is why we perform quality control on every translated document before you receive it. We use both an independent proofreader and our in-house team to ensure that there are no mistranslations, omitted information, or other errors that will negatively affect your translated document.

Our translators are highly experienced in translating a variety of documents. We offer translation services for technical documents, reports, educational books, literature, proposals, financial material, legal documentation, internal company documentation, and advertising and marketing material. If your specific document is not mentioned, we will offer you a specialised service where we source a qualified translator to handle your exact requirements.

Ensure your translated documents are accurate by using the professional IL Consultancy translation services.