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Off topic: Agencies with terrible translation mistakes on their websites
Thread poster: Timothy Barton

Timothy Barton
Local time: 21:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Aug 16, 2005

Is anyone else as appalled as I am at how many translation agencies have terrible mistakes on their own websites? Today I've been writing off to French agencies, and most have translated "nom" as "name" on their online forms. It's rather annoying, as I begin typing "Timothy Barton", then notice the next field says "First name".

Right now I can't think of any other examples, but I know I've seen quite a few shocking mistakes that would definitely put me off as a customer.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Other market segment Aug 16, 2005

Timothy Barton wrote:
...I've seen quite a few shocking mistakes that would definitely put me off as a customer.

Some customers don't care about linguistic mistakes, they just care about the price.
When such a customer meets such a website, he will probably feel at home and ask for a quotation..


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Harvetta Asamoah  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:50
French to English
+ ...
Worst Mistake Aug 16, 2005

This is the craziest one I've ever seen: in the company name, in large type on the website, it says "TANSLATIONS."

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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:50
At least they are not offering... Aug 16, 2005

Harvetta Asamoah wrote:

This is the craziest one I've ever seen: in the company name, in large type on the website, it says "TANSLATIONS."


... PROFREADING


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
... Aug 16, 2005

Many moons ago, I saw one that translates into ESPAGÑOL.

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Gisela Greenlee  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:50
German to English
+ ...
Funny errors Aug 16, 2005

I saw one website where the Translation Company boasted of having "sword translators"; I couldn't resist emailing them to inquire if their translators are equipped with swords to do battle in court, but of course I never heard back!

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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:50
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
native speakers Aug 16, 2005

It's really informative to see agencies that promise that all their translations are exclusively done by native speakers - to find their own website was obviously done by a non-native.

But then, they didn't mention the native language of the speaker. And everybody is a native speaker of some language, even if it's not the target language.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 13:50
French to English
+ ...
sometimes an unqualified proofreader has "improved" the text Aug 16, 2005

You are right, Tim, there are a lot of mistakes out there.

What is even worse are the incorrectly translated bilingual websites. These companies have paid money to obtain very poor quality text.

This brings us back to the age-old question...how can someone who does not speak the language depend on the quality of the final translated product?

I,an English native speaker, have been proofread and corrected by French native speakers in English and in my specialization. It is obvious to me that an in-house proofreader can never possess all of the competencies of all of the combined languages and specializations an agency might offer.

It goes against logic to pay a specialist for detailed work and then have a non-specialist review the work and make changes.

Here is an example (high-tech printer translation):
My husband has a French Engineering degree as well as a Ph.D. in Engineering and occasionally helps me with difficult terminology. He was familiar with a specialized imaging term in French and gave me the English equivalent. The French proofreader questioned it. It is not good business for me to argue but how could she correct him? I doubt she had more than a "licence" (B.A.) in English.

Have others had this type of experience?


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 20:50
German to French
+ ...
Another one... Aug 16, 2005

Javier Herrera wrote:

Many moons ago, I saw one that translates into ESPAGÑOL.


I know another one which offers until today translations into "Belgian" and "Swiss".
I wrote them for ages to tell them these languages do not exist, but they probably did not believe me.

Chademu


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xxxjcid
Local time: 20:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not surprised at all Aug 16, 2005

You shouldn't be surprised at all:

"The shoemaker's son always goes barefoot"


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
I wouldn't like to be disposed of... Aug 16, 2005

XXXX was created with the purpose to provide an English to Spanish and Spanish to English translation service specialized in technical and legal documents related to the energy and industrial sector. Meanwhile, other languages and services have been incorporated besides of an extended specific knowledge of other sectors such as automotive, chemical, medical , etc.

The company disposes of a large group of carefully selected professional freelance translators for the different languages and specialties, besides of an in-house crew for project coordination, translation, text formatting, scanning and translation of graphics, as well as proofreading.


I would loooove to offer my services to this translation agency to fix up their English entry page. However the rate they charge their end clients is below my minimum.

[Edited at 2005-08-16 20:56]


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xxxAWa
Local time: 20:50
English to German
+ ...
Sure way to avoid mistakes Aug 17, 2005

Recently, I met the owner of a translation agency, and discovered a sure way to avoid mistakes in foreign language version of internet presentations: don't provide any!

The person I met admitted to not having any knowledge of languages/translations, claims to have contacts to more than 500 translators worldwide. Nevertheless, the homepage of this agency existed in the owner's native language only, the link to the advertised English version did not work. Being in contact with that many translators I think one should be able to work out a way to present the webside in more languages than just one (or two). This way there surely are no mistakes in the foreign language versions.


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Kimmy
Local time: 05:50
Italian to English
+ ...
Oh I hear you...... Aug 17, 2005

GoodWords wrote:

The company disposes of a large group of carefully selected professional freelance translators


I would loooove to offer my services to this translation agency to fix up their English entry page. However the rate they charge their end clients is below my minimum.

[Edited at 2005-08-16 20:56]


And there you have the reason for the mistakes!

What kills me is that certain agency's clients have websites that are just atrocious!

I have mentioned this to some agencies in question (with an ulterior motive of course of maybe being offered to fix it and for them to drum up some more work from said client) but so far no one bites and the sites remain as is! Pity I can't go direct! The temptation is there!

It's also frustrating as when you go to their site for an insight on the technicalities of one of their products, you find that the term you are after has been translated by a "Guess-lation" expert!!!!! And non-native to boot!

Thank god for KudoZ.......

Sigh!!!

Kim


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 13:50
French to English
+ ...
No language exists called "American" Aug 17, 2005

Chiming in with chademu ...

French people insist on saying "she speaks American" even though there is no such language. Native speakers call it "American English" (AE) or "British English" (BE), or may specify another form used in other English-speaking countries.


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Leylaw
English to Spanish
+ ...
The French are not sailing by themselves on this ship. Aug 17, 2005

Incorrectness of this nature is similar to the widespread phenomenon of ethnocentrism. It is found within the overall spectrum of human relations. In this respect, I have encountered a catalog of situations in which Americans have comfortably asserted that Mexicans speak “Mexican” and Brazilians speak “Brazilian”.

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