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Compilation of poor translations

If you follow us on any of our social networks you know that we often post links to articles about funny translation mistakes and translations gone wrong.

In this article we have compiled a bunch of these links to share with you and get more in depth of the consequences of the different mistakes and why they might have happened.

As we have many Spanish readers, we have included some links for them too. Let us take a look.

The summer is here and many of you are probably planning your vacation or may be even on vacation as you are reading this. In this first article you can find and learn tips on how to avoid holiday translation errors if you use one of these online translation tools that are currently available as mobile apps, for example.

The weather is getting warmer and warmer, but I have personally never heard about the term Goat heat. Here in this example you can see French into English translation mistakes in restaurant menus. Unfortunately, this happens more often than we imagine.

I know, many of you are guilty, including myself of using online translation tools to translate something quickly. If you use these tools to translate either a sentence, or worse, a whole document, you need to be aware of the possible mistakes that might turn out in your end result. At Jensen Localization we are not against the use of Machine Translation, but against the wrong use of this technology. If you want to use MT, make sure that you at least proofread it. In this next article you will find some rather embarrassing translation mistakes and you will learn even more about the importance of proofreading your texts before publishing them.

For our Spanish readers, here are a few examples of signs translations from English into Spanish.

 Translation error

This is a photo from a Starbucks sign translated from English into Spanish.

The sign is supposed to say Exit only in Spanish, but Éxito Aquí means Succes here. Now come on Starbucks, it shouldn’t be that hard to translate such a small sentence. The correct translation would be Sólo salida.

Some mistakes are funny and smaller such as the example mentioned above, but some are definitely more serious. Such as Spanish clothing company Mango and their French translation issue, that translated the name of a piece of jewelry into French, but did not get the best response (article in Spanish).

Even though the mistakes might be fairly “small”, the consequences can be very serious. Here are 9 little translation mistakes that caused big problems.

Let us go back in time. Here is a list of the top 5 translation mistakes of 2012.

We have now looked at some mistakes, but what are the causes of the translation mistakes? Can you guess why these translation errors happened?

We will try to have a guess of the main reasons why translation mistakes happen. The first, most obvious reason is that people use machine translation. Machine translation does have its benefits if you want an instant translation of something short and just want an overall understanding of something. But for your business this is not the best way, not to mention the bad effect on your SEO strategy if you use MT for your website. Other reasons can be wrong spelling or errors in the source text  from the beginning. Last but not least, often companies use people who are not actual translators, but might talk fluently in the target language, which is obviously not enough if you want high quality translations. Use professionals and the result will be professional.

We have previously written about some examples of poor translations on our blog. If you are interested in seeing some funny and some horrible translations, please have a look.

We hope this article made you laugh, and even more importantly made you aware of the importance of high quality translations and the consequences of choosing the easy way.

Have fun with translation!

Today we just want to recommend you to relax and have fun with translation. Yes, there is humor in the translation world too! Just go to the article Translators’ nightmares — “The most dreaded deadline” that you will find under the Technology section of our newspaper Language and Technology News Daily and have fun with this one and the related cartoons and videos!

Note: if you click on the link to our daily newspaper, you will only see the news that have been compiled on that day. To access the previous editions go to the Archives option in the newspaper, that you will find next to the date. Alternatively, you can look for the title of the article in Google or other search engine.