Last Wednesday Lynn Elfers, owner of Affordable Language Services, spoke at the Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) meeting for the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky chapter. Her topic was the importance of accurate translation in business, and how to set yourself (or your company) up for a successful translation.
If you’re purchasing a translation, often you have no way to evaluate the work you receive in return. After all, you bought the services because you could not perform them in the first place. Lynn showed several examples of businesses that goofed. The example below is from Swansea– a town in Wales. Unless you can read Welsh, this looks pretty good.
But here’s the kicker: the English translation of the Welsh actually reads “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.” Whoops! Town officials had emailed the text of their sign (in English) to a translator, and mistakenly assumed the response they received was the translation of that text. Since there was no one who spoke Welsh in-house, they not only suffered some embarrassment, but they also had to pay for another sign to be manufactured and installed.
How can you ensure that you avoid a translation mistake that reflects poorly on your company? Hire a professional! And don’t forget to really listen to them; you are paying them for their time and expertise, so get the most for your money. Here are a few of Lynn’s suggestions from her IACC presentation on what to look for in a professional translator.
With a professional agency, you are not just buying words. You are harnessing expertise—the power of language—to get your text right the first time around. This frees you to focus on your business.