6 Most Common Translation Mistakes to Avoid

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Translation and its Process

Translating languages and their interpretation goes through many ups and downs. Translation can be challenging as well as it could turn worst if not handled carefully. Before going for translation services, be it German translation services or some other languages, it is important to understand the brand well. You should know how to present your products or services in other languages through translation and interpretation to reach global markets. When it comes to Chinese translation services, it is imperative to note that the language can turn out to be confusing. It can be tougher for new learners or nonnatives. Misunderstanding the assignments and translation services and not properly comprehending the language and agenda of translation can lead to deadly translation mistakes.

Some translation errors can change the intended meaning altogether and may damage your brand reputation as well. Therefore, it is important to seek professional assistance when you require translation solutions, either for Korean translation services or any other language. 

Common Translation Mistakes

Quality content is taken as a king these days. The credit goes to the development and growth of communication channels and availability to brands and businesses. This also refers to how the previous focus on quantity and quality of the content was not much beneficial for the brands, particularly in SEO.

The translation is tough, and its complexity also depends on the language pair. However, the overall process is quite challenging, translating documents, legal content and medical translation could be hectic of all. 

Simply put, language translation is very challenging and one needs to pay special attention to detail to ensure flawless results. There are some common mistakes that translators often do and these can lead to some serious consequences, including damaging brand image.

Down below is a list of the most common translation mistakes that you should avoid. Take a look!

Word to word Translation

This comes as the biggest and most common mistake of the translation process. People often assume translation to be a word-to-word conversion of the text. However, this is not the right approach. The text comes with a certain flow and context which has to be kept in the target language as well to make it understandable and easier for the target audiences.

A plain and bland word-to-word textual conversion is of no use and is never appreciate by anyone. The target audience does not relate to it and rather feels annoyed at how the project has been handle by the experts and not given due attention.

Lacking Language Intent

Lacking the intent of the translation and leaving it behind can affect the translation big time. Translation could be correct technically,

but not incorporating with right nuances and intent can thoroughly change its meaning while making the translation from one language to another. Consequently, making translators present a translation that doesn’t make any sense. Its classical examples to prove this stance is from cocoa cola, Pepsi.

When coca-cola was initially introduce in China in 1920, and people tried translating the term coca-cola to Chinese phonetically, the translated content went like “bit the wax tadpole” in Chinese. Another example is Pepsi. Its slogan of “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” was, when translated into the Taiwanese language, became something like “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from dead”. This was awkward for not only companies but for customers too.

Using Google Translator and Other Online Translators

A number of businesses, particularly smaller and medium ones, believe spending on translation could be costly and doesn’t need to hire professional translation solutions necessarily. Especially when it comes to simplified Chinese translation services, they think it’s better to take the help of free translators.

While google translator is a good resource and works well as machine translation, it is not much ideal for professional use. These tools are beneficial though to a certain extent, but these can not get the context of the text and can not enforce the cultural, political, and other sensitivities of the other languages.

Businesses should rather work on making use of translation memory, or they better hire certified and professional German translation services for German or the language required.

Assuming Everyone Understands and Speaks English

English is undoubtedly a great language, has a rich historical background, and enjoys the status of universal language. However, it doesn’t make it necessary that everyone can speak English. English is third in the list of languages that have the most native speakers in the world. Chinese with all of its complicated dialects tops the list.

Even if it’s not English and some other language, the documents, and advertisement content should be translated as per the local language and their business norms. It makes the brand more credible and customers are more likely to consume products and services they are getting in their native language and adapted to their market norms.

Numerical Value Format

People see numerical values as simple and often assume how writing in any pattern will work. However, factually speaking the numerical values are written in different formats in different countries. So not putting numerical data as per the format practiced in that relevant country might affect the right interpretation of the text. Translators have to pay attention to the right implementation of symbol use, figures, values, statistics, and other metric systems.

Addressing Translation at the end of the Process

The translation is required by one and all now. When it comes to advertising and marketing content, it is mandatory to keep the coming and unforeseen circumstances and costs in mind. Translation needs to be incorporate into the process of planning and expansion as early as other things. This is imperative to implement in order to ensure no delay in the launch of products and their marketing.

Final words

Translation prices are extensive and hectic. It is a lot more than a simple systematic textual conversion. It has to cater to a lot of things. The context and original essence and tone of the original text have to be kept in the target language.

However, many translation vendors and agencies don’t pay much heed to all these minute details and rather end up delivering a disastrous project. The common mistakes that translators and agencies happen to commit during translation include excessive usage of google translator, not taking care of context, and considering the process of translation at the end of the project which creates quite a chaos eventually. read more


Halen Terry is a creative writer and a professional linguist with expertise in using advanced translation management systems. She has been working in the localization industry for more than 6 years now. She creates informational content every day with the aim to serve the community and aspire translators to grow professionally.

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