Sunday, January 6, 2008

What Did You Say? Translations are tricky.

Imagine you pick up a brochure at an event honoring an US-China relationship and discover misspellings, improper use of a words in the first two paragraphs. Its embarrassing even for the reader to find the first word in ones language misspelled, phrases that are unclear or awkward, clearly direct translations by someone using a dictionary. Technically correct but not how the language is used. From that moment on there’s a question of what else might be missed.

Avoid that disappointing impressions, having your document announce we’re strangers here, don’t speak your language, and aren’t too thorough.
Be sure native speaker checks the translation (and then have the translation translated back into the original language. Be sure the message comes through as intended.) Taking the extra step to insure your materials use the language appropriately allows the reader to focus on the message not the spelling and grammar. Be sure they’re reading what you want to say.

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