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Poll: As a consumer, how important is it that products and services have high quality translations?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:00
SITE STAFF
Aug 17, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "As a consumer, how important is it that products and services have high quality translations?".

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Ho, hum Aug 17, 2012

Another no-brainer! icon_eek.gif
Who on Earth is going to answer "Not important at all".

Considering the dopeyness of the question, no wonder this question is "Anonymous" -- yet again.

Might just answer "Not important at all" just for the sheer hell of it. icon_biggrin.gif


 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Member
German to English
+ ...
Ho hum! Aug 17, 2012

I've just answered 'not important at all'.

I buy products on the basis of the products themselves. I rarely consult instruction manuals or contemplate translation quality and certainly don't factor it in to my purchasing decisions. Obviously if poor-quality translation renders a service unintelligible, it won't be one I'd consider buying but it's probably a different question for products and services.

As an aside, I recently bought a product off Amazon which had abysmal reviews because the instructions were only available in German. I can't remember what it was but it was quite a nice product. I almost offered them my services ...


 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:00
Italian to English
+ ...
Vital for the seller Aug 17, 2012

to preserve their reputation, protect themselves from legal action and avoid lost sales: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14130854

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Extremely - Fairly Aug 17, 2012

As a translator AND consumer, to me it is extremely important.

However, I suppose that if I wasn't (or weren't) working in translation /languages, it would still be quite (i.e. fairly) important, because I appreciate a well-written /translated text and, for example, am reluctant to buy anything from a website with dodgy translations or spelling mistakes. I don't usually respond to badly drafted/translated emails either, because I always find myself wanting to point out to the sender how they "could do better"... but end up biting my tongue.

Basically, I'm such a picky pedant I'd be prepared to engage in a discussion about whether the period should go inside or outside the quotation marks - "but that's another story."



[Edited at 2012-08-17 08:31 GMT]


 

Manuela Ribecai  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:00
English to French
+ ...
It all depends when ... Aug 17, 2012

Some customers perceive the quality differently depending on time:

When choosing a translator according to the tariff: not important at all.
When they pay: curiously quality is crucial.

icon_biggrin.gif

Manuela


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Hebrew to English
Not important.....until there's a crisis Aug 17, 2012

....until you actually need to read the instruction manual (or whatever it is) and then all of sudden it becomes rather important.

We all buy products based on the basis of the products themselves but why should the quality stop there? Badly translated small print just tells me that this is a company that cuts corners where they think:
a) it won't be noticed much
b) it doesn't matter
neither of which instills much confidence in me of their quality assurance procedures...and also makes me question what other corners were cut in the production of the product itself.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Badly produced/translated materials... Aug 17, 2012

Ty Kendall wrote:
Badly translated small print just tells me that this is a company that cuts corners where they think:


also tell me that the company/manufacturer doesn't care about the customer/consumer. icon_mad.gif I always tell my customers this as part of my sales pitch.

So, as translators, we'd be cutting our own throats if we were to tell the customer that quality isn't necessary in the translation services we provide them. Hence "no brainer."

BTW, @Oliver
Nice link. Thank you!


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends on my need to know Aug 17, 2012

If figuring out the instructions for a particular product is important to me, then I want them to be clear and well-written. If the pictures tell the story, or I can figure it out myself, then it's not a big deal. Sometimes the bad ones have entertainment value.

 

Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:00
Italian to Russian
+ ...
TRANSLATION is fairly important Aug 17, 2012

since it creates factual basis (the facts) in another language.
Not linguistic improvement, as it sometimes happens, when the translation style is better than that of the original.
With good translation, which is one of few sources of information about the product, one (the translator's customer included) is able to make better choice.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:00
Member (2006)
German to English
Extremely important Aug 17, 2012

even if the consumers do not take the time to read the manuals of the products, having a decent one there if you do need help is more than important.
I have had some equipment in the past where the manual was a load of rubbish and have avoided those (also well known and expensive!!) products in the future.

It is the same as the American glider pilot that landed his glider in a forest (in America) and sued the glider manufacturer because the instruction manual did not say that he should not land his glider in a forest, and good old America, he won!!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:00
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Extremely important! Aug 17, 2012

For the consumer, for the seller and... for us! More than once, I returned an item I had bought when I realized the translation was really bad.

 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:00
German to English
+ ...
Extremely important Aug 17, 2012

Apart from the obvious liability risks, it is extremely important.

How else is the rest of the world going start taking translators seriously if the only contact it has had with the practical application of translations comes from the back of the packs of breakfast cereals or brand new chain saw?

Manuals (car radio, TV, stove) are also a source of language learning for many - and not just fledgling translators growing up in out of the way places where the paucity of modern material lead one to do comparative analyses of pharmaceutical package inserts and the like?

As a consumer and a translator, my take is that if a manufacturer cannot be bothered with linguistic precision, then how can I trust the quality of the product itself?

Services covers a vast range of things (banking, tourism, public transport, postal), so it is hard to know at which level of formality one should draw the line - e.g. badly worded menu in English on a blackboard on a Portuguese beach front versus that same menu being published in a brochure or newspaper.


 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:00
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Any of the above Aug 17, 2012

It's impossible and pointless to generalise about such matters. Sometimes no translation at all is needed, sometimes a rough translation will do and sometimes it is extremely important to the consumer. I can't see how it can be essential unless the lack of quality causes injury or death.

The question may as well be "how important is it that products and services have high-quality language" because the issue is the same regardless of whether the text in question is translated material or not.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:00
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
cat tools Aug 17, 2012

Michael Harris wrote:
It is the same as the American glider pilot that landed his glider in a forest (in America) and sued the glider manufacturer because the instruction manual did not say that he should not land his glider in a forest, and good old America, he won!!


This reminds me of a similar story where a consumer (good old America!) sued a Japanese manufacturer (?) of microwaves for not stating in their user's manual that microwaving live animals was dangerous. Apparently, Fluffy or whatever was in one when he/she pressed the start button. Poor Fluffy!

No Browniz on this one for guessing who won the lawsuit.

As a tech translator, I always deliver to customers with a disclaimer asking them to ask their clients to run their manuals and the product liability pre-amble by their legal department for clarification.


 
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