One of the Midlands’ leading translation agencies is warning businesses across the region of the dangers of using linguists outside of their mother tongue when translating important documents into other languages.
Kidderminster-based Midland Technical Translations (MTT), which offers expert translation services to the automotive, medical, and legal industries using professional mother tongue translators, is reminding firms that even though non-mother tongue linguists may appear to be fluent in a particular language, they may not completely understand its nuances and intricacies, which could lead to costly errors.
Sue Clark, Managing Director of the award-winning MTT, which was established more than 25 years ago and works with clients as diverse as Renault, Alcoa and Severn Trent, explained how easy it can be for a message to get ‘lost in translation’. “We recently had a very lengthy and important academic document that needed proofreading as it was written in a language which was not the author’s mother tongue, so we offered two strategies: a mother tongue translator and a non-mother tongue translator who was professionally proficient in the language used.
“The mother tongue translator picked up at least one error per line, whereas the non-mother tongue translator actually missed a number of the stylistic and vocabulary errors, and only saw the glaring grammatical errors at a rate of about one per page. Failing to spot these mistakes would have had huge implications for the credibility of the academic document concerned.”
With more and more regional businesses tapping into overseas markets, Sue highlighted the increasing use of online-based translators as another potential disaster waiting to happen.
“Many firms are tempted to use these website translators, where words are simply copied and pasted, as a cheap and cheerful way of converting text into something for a potential overseas buyer to view, but this could in fact open up a safety, legal, or commercial minefield, not to mention the reputational damage it could cause. We’ve even seen it on the football field with the recent Suarez-Evra case, where a misunderstanding or misinterpretation has caused major ramifications. It’s much better in the long-term to invest in having a few pages translated professionally to ensure your message says exactly what you want it to.”
Based in Kidderminster, West Midlands, Midland Technical Translations (UK) Ltd is an award winning company providing language translation services and interpreters for customers as diverse as Renault, Alcoa and Severn Trent. For further information about MTT, please call 0844 856 1086 or visit the website www.midlandtechnical.co.uk.