BlogGeneral ArticlesTranslation mistakes – the importance of getting it right and why it goes wrong

Translation mistakes – the importance of getting it right and why it goes wrong

Translation mistakes – the importance of getting it right and why it goes wrong

In our previous blog post , we told the story of the smoking breadmaker which caused problems for users and costly consequences for the manufacturer.

Things can and do go wrong in many cases:


Translators are after all only human, but how could such mistakes happen?

There are many reasons why such a problem might occur.

For example a non-native speaker may have been used, who wasn’t quite familiar with the terminology. In some cases machine translation or Google Translate may have been used with all the inherent problems that would cause.

The translation may have been prepared to a very short deadline, leaving no time for thorough checking, editing or proofreading by a second linguist.

The translator may have been a specialist in a different area, for example marketing or tourism and was not fully familiar with the requirements of a technical translation.

Mistakes do occasionally happen, but tried and tested processes should pick them up and make sure that the risks involved are reduced as much as possible.

For example, the translator selection process should ensure that only professional linguists with suitable qualifications, experience and native language skills are entrusted with translation projects. The customer should be able to feel confident that their project is going to someone who really knows and understands the text, and the field it is from.

The project manager should also negotiate enough time to complete the translation and have it checked – not having a translation is sometimes better than a rushed, poorly translated version of a text.

If you need translations it can sometimes seem like a nightmare finding someone to trust. Try asking for examples of similar projects, get a sample that you can have assessed, speak to the translator who will do your work and find out more about their experience.

The risks of getting it wrong are real, however they can be controlled and a good agency will work with you to make sure your products and services are never the victim of a translation mistake.

If you would like to discuss a translation project with us now, contact us on or 0844 856 1086. We would be delighted to help.

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