Nov 24 2008
Swansea council made the ultimate translation faux pas with a Welsh sign recently.
The original Sign read “No Entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only”. The sign was to be erected close to a supermarket near a residential area.
The text was sent for translation but unfortunately the translator was not in the office. Instead his email sent an automated response.
The automated email stated…
“Nid wyf un y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw wiath i’w gyfieithu.”
Which in English means…
“I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated”.
As the original messages was two sentences and so was the response the sender assumed this was the translation and forwarded the translation to the sign makers for printing. The sign was duely printed and erected.
Swansea council said the sign would be corrected as soon as possible. A new sign is now in its place.
So the moral of the story is always proofread before you print.
Damian Scattergood, Managing Director of STAR Translation commenting says: “People rely on email all too often for basic communication on projects. When a translation is only 2 lines people tend to treat it with indifference. We have found people who translate 2 liners like safety stickers, signs and posters using free translation tools and expect them to be perfect. For us every translation whether 2 or 2 million words should to be handled with the same due care and attention. A simple phone call in this case would have saved money and embarassment for all.”