Staff Interview : Life in Translation

Project manager illustration

“What is it like working in the translation industry?”
We interviewed one of our senior project managers to get their opinion on serious and fun side of the translation business.

As a foreign language speaker who studied translation it’s probably pretty easy job isn’t it?

I. Good Translation Isn’t Easy

In the world of translation, we come across many problems that customers don’t always understand. To translate a document professionally isn’t that simple, even if you speak different languages perfectly because you have to respect many rules related to the language and it’s characteristics.

For example the writing direction is reversed in Saudi Arabia; In this case you have to read and write from right to left.

In addition to that, expressions and messages don’t always have the same meaning in different countries. Your role as a translator is to understand the “meaning” and the “purpose” of an advert or document in order to avoid any mistakes or misunderstanding (even in small detail) which can degrade a customer’s reputation or brand in the target country they are selling to.

Although professional human translation can take a lot of time, it’s the best way to get good results. You need to deliver a document or advert with has good form, quality, a clear message, and which is adapted to the customer’s target market.

If you want to stay professional and to reach your target markets, make sure to use a trusted translator, as they have a direct impact on your sales results and the way your company is seen and develops. Think about it.

“What are the benefits of using professional translators?”

II. Translation benefits

Now this isn’t a secret, good translation allows you to grow internationally. If you want to increase your sales internationally, you need a good brand image in the different countries where you want to be implanted, and this is what good translation offers. If your website, advertising, catalogue, brochure, etc… are adapted in different languages, it will improve your brand awareness and that’s a great starting point to finding new customers.

A professional translator will know how to adapt your marketing to your target market because they know a lot about the country and the population in which they have specialized. They can tailor your message if required and bring knowledge about culture, grammar rules, tradition or the fonts and language characteristics for writing. It’s really important to know the culture / rules of others countries and adapt your messaging and style to your customers. A human translator understands this and will serves as a perfect medium between your company and your foreign customers.

In fact, cultural difference isn’t just about the technical details for a translator because making cultural mistakes is a good way to damage a brand image and reputation in foreign countries. You need to remember we don’t have same practices around the World.

For example lets look at the Irish compared to the French. They don’t have the same purchasing of consumption habits. Irish people prefer to consume local products like Milk for example. Other countries do not share the same love of milk, so, you cannot broadcast the same message in different countries. Ask any European if they would like milk in their tea and you can get a funny expression. In Belguim they put mayonaisse on chips, but in UK and Ireland its tomato sauce. The UK might even add mushy peas.

We can also take the example of colors and their meaning: Red means Danger and Caution (with blood) in Middle East while it means Luck, long life and happiness in Asian cultures. Recognising these problems is the benefit of using a professional human translator compared to translation with an App or Google Translate

If you’re tuned into your target country and using professional translators; following their advice will help increase your global sales.

“Ok so tell us something funny about translation?”

III. Funny Translation Fact

The Translation Industry has many funny stories about mistakes customers have made because they wanted to complete quick and cheap translation or had used system like Google Translate in the wrong context.

Our Senior Project Manager, Ricardo, remembers the “Egg Poacher” from a well-known supermarket here in Ireland, translated as “Bracconier d’oeuf” in French and “Cazador furtivo de huevos” in Spanish (in both examples they used the wrong definition of Poacher. Poacher is translated as a hunter rather than a device to poach eggs). Oops!.

But you can also have Great English and just forget a few simple grammar rules as a few Newspaper editors have done in the past, making mistakes they won’t forget. In fact, editors often forget hyphens which have confused the readers of the newspapers because its misuse changes the meaning of the title. A good example is the headline:

“Two hundred odd members of the university marched in protest.”

What do they mean by this? Where all of them odd people? How? Were they wearing funny outfits?

What they really meant to say was there were approximately two hundred of them.

“Two hundred-odd members of the university marched in protest.”

The hyphen completely changes the meaning.

Even though it’s a little grammar mistake (which is really funny), it reminds us of the importance to proofread your sentences and the usefulness of a human translator who, if they are really involved in their work, will be careful with these details.

“Thanks Ricardo”

We hope that this article helps you discover a little more about our work, and the fun of the Translator’s World.

 

The STAR Team,

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