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Business Translation Services Gone Wrong

Posted Oct 28 2013 5:20am

There are many examples of funny but costly translation mishaps in business.
A classic comes from Chevrolet's attempt to market the Nova in South America. They were unaware that while Nova may sound cool in English, in Spanish it literally means "no go".
Once Chevy learned of their mistake it suddenly made sense why no one was buying their sleek little car and sales improved dramatically after the company changed the name in the Spanish-language market to the Caribe, a term meaning piranha.
Examples like this can be funny, but the repercussions of such mistakes hurt sales and cost money not just in manufacturing and sales, but in other professional areas like healthcare, construction, and legal translation.
Legal translations are necessary for contracts, articles of incorporation, immigration documents, witness statements and any other texts that are within the field of law. When a legal translation goes awry it can result in fines, lawsuits, and even jail time. This is why it is so important to bridge the language gap with professional translation.
Good translators should have three key qualities.
Knowledge of the legal system in both countries.
Knowledge of the legal writing style in both languages.
Knowledge of legal terminology in both languages.
Translators can be found via databases or through translation agencies.
While searching a database for freelance translators can be a little less expensive, a translation services firm finds the linguist translator, contracts with them to translate your documents, and proofreads the resulting work.
By hiring capable translators and/or translation agencies you avoid having a "nova" experience in your own company, legal firm, or marketing agency.


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