Translation Errors Cause Lost Revenue in 80 Percent of Global Firms
Thread poster: Daniel Bird

Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
German to English
Apr 2, 2007

You might have seen this on the wires - nothing very controversial.

Translation Errors Cause Lost Revenue in 80 Percent of Global Firms
Product launches delayed due to communication ignorance

MAIDENHEAD, U.K.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eight out of 10 international businesses are suffering because of translation errors, causing lost revenue, delayed product launches or even fines for non-compliance, according to SDL International.

40 percent of respondents to a survey of global businesses claimed that translation errors have caused delayed product launches. Seven percent reported receiving fines for non-compliance because they failed to translate material accurately. In response, Global Information Management provider SDL International, which carried out the survey, is warning businesses that they need to improve their translation and localization processes to avoid serious impact on the bottom line.

“In an age of global business, it’s unacceptable that translation issues are still causing such significant delays,” said Chris Boorman, Chief Marketing Officer at SDL International. “As product lifecycles get shorter and launches become increasingly frequent, speed to market is everything and delays will continue to result in huge revenue loss. Keeping material consistent in all markets is vital to success. A lethargic approach to language simply won’t work ”

The survey also revealed that:

Half of the firms surveyed have on average 10 different departments involved in the process of localizing information
Only 37 percent of these are planning to develop a strategy in the next six months to combat these issues
“International firms cannot compete globally in only one language,” continued Boorman. “The majority of organizations are still relying on outdated methods for their corporate communications which is costing money on a number of fronts – being first to market is pointless if you cannot communicate with your audience. Articulating your message in the local language with relevance and appropriate nuance is the only way to ensure success and must be at the heart of any global marketing strategy.”

“Cutting time-to-market and avoiding translation errors cannot be achieved until businesses realize the importance of getting localization right,” said Boorman. “As everyone should know, it doesn’t matter how loud you shout – if you’re speaking the wrong language, you simply won’t be heard.“


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well... Apr 2, 2007

I think no one could expect less from SDL sources

[rant begins here]

Anyway, from this article, I would say that people in an 80% firms seem unable to learn to ask for accurate, appropriate translations. And this means appropriately reviewed, well-paid translations, and done in enough time.

I dont't believe the 80% is accurate, but I DO know that some product managers simply do not have any remote idea as to cost estimation of their actions.

[End of rant, phew!! ]

Ruth @ MW

[Edited at 2007-04-02 08:52]

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to German
+ ...
Do not trust any statistics ... Apr 2, 2007

you did not fake yourself
as Winston Churchill is said to have said.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:34
Member (2004)
English to Italian
well #2 Apr 2, 2007

the mistakes are due to the unreasonable deadlines often imposed on the translators. The big corporations are the main culprits for 'remembering' translations at the last minute and imposing dreadful rates due to promises of 'big volumes'. And SDL is very happy to go along with it, especially price-wise.


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Local time: 17:34
Slovak to English
regardless of deadlines Apr 2, 2007

I have seen some very hideous translations and I don't believe they have anything to do with tight deadlines. If companies insist on having their translations done by non-native speakers of the target language because they can expect a cheaper price because of this, they should themselves bear the liability of faulty work. Let's be honest, I would never take the liberty of translating anything into a language that is not my native language, at least not without explicitly explaining that the target language is not my own language. That's where all errors in translation begin, although not to imply that native speakers of the target language are not subject to error.

[Edited at 2007-04-02 11:33]

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Jorge Aguilar Juarez  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:34
German to Spanish
that's true Apr 2, 2007

“In an age of global business, it’s unacceptable that translation issues are still causing such significant delays”

specially when it comes to the launch of SDL Trados 2007.....

well, let's wait a bit, maybe it was on March 2008.........

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Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well 3 Apr 2, 2007

Problems as described in the article use to be part of the low-price packages. Translators and editors who accept working on low rates do not value their work. Work done by translators and editors who do not value their work has no value, and this is what translation agencies that pay low rates to translators and editors do get and what companies that assign translation work to those translation agencies do get. Everyone involved in the translation chain should be aware that putting priority on price over quality entails risks.

Take care,

[Edited at 2007-04-02 15:27]

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Translation Errors Cause Lost Revenue in 80 Percent of Global Firms

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