Need Your Website Translated? DO NOT Ask a Friend!|
Think twice before you ask a friend or family member to translate something for you. They may know how to speak more than one language, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a professional translator. I learned this lesson the hard way…
The Big Mistake – Asking My Friend for Help
When I needed my financial website translated into German, I approached my friend to lend a hand. She spoke the language pretty well, so I saw no harm in asking for her help – especially when she offered to do it for free. Big mistake! Little did I know that she’d produce something that could have been seriously detrimental to my brand. It was only when I had someone check her work that I noticed where she’d gone so terribly wrong.
You see, my friend had translated the content on my website word for word. Here’s an example:
“Our latest announcement: make your first deposit and grab a massive 200% match bonus!”
My friend translated this sentence into German which, when retranslated back into English read:
“Our latest advertisement: make your first deposit and dig a solid 200% match bonus!”
I took the precaution of running the text past a professional translation, and when he explained what had happened, I didn’t know whether to be amused or frustrated.
My friend had translated “announcement” into the word “annonce,” a very old-fashioned term meaning a newspaper announcement, or “advertisement.”
Then, she’d mistranslated the word “grab” into “graben,” which means “dig.”
And finally, she’d taken the word “massive” and written “massiv,” which means “solid” in German.
My friend had completely failed to communicate the intended meaning, because she’d ignored the context of the copy. She’d also made the classic mistake of falling for “false friends” – words that look like exact equivalents, but which have very different meanings.
If you’ve ever used Google Translate to interpret a text, you may recall seeing strange words, awkward grammar and many “that doesn’t make sense” moments. This copy wasn’t much better!
If I hadn’t double-checked the texts, it would have resulted in very negative outcomes for my brand.
What I Did Instead – Use a Professional Translation Agency
When my friend’s mistakes were pointed out to me, I realized that if I wanted quality work, I needed to cough up the cash and use a professional translation service.
Why? For starters, they guarantee to use correct the terminology, phrases and grammar when translating your text. These professionals have writing skills, creativity, and they guarantee to maintain the voice and style of your original text. They are genuinely bilingual – in some cases trilingual – and in most cases, they are also experts in the industry you work in. They’ll grasp the essence and meaning of your material and clarify any gray areas directly with you to avoid mistakes.
The Lesson Learned – Bear the Cost, Enjoy the Quality…
…oh and NEVER ask your friend for Help!
Just because someone speaks another language, it doesn’t mean they are qualified to be a translator. Oral skills are very different from the ability to write fluently and stylishly. If you need a professional translation service, always reach out to an expert. It’s an art and it comes at a price, but at least you’ll be assured of quality results.
Seek Expert Knowledge!
Contact a team of experienced and knowledgeable language experts like Pangea Localization Services. They’ll always use the right person to translate your text, someone who understands the specialized terminology of your sector and the context of your copy. If you operate a Forex, iGaming or Video Gaming business, or if you’re involved in any related field, you’ll find that localizing your precious copy needn’t be a guessing game and that ‘phoning a friend’ is an option you’ll never want to rely on again.