The 4 Risky Scenarios

Who’s Controlling Your Message?

Over our 20 years in the language business, we have seen clients engage in four risky scenarios:

  1. They will say, “Our distributors do our translations.”
  2. They allow their overseas agents to review our translations without checking to see whether those edits are valid.
  3. They will ask a foreign-born employee to review our translations without ensuring that the employee is qualified.
  4. They will use translation software or machine translation for their promotional messages.

Consider the following:

  • A German distributor of a pumps company revised our translation … but in his native Swiss dialect. That is somewhat like sending your marketing in Cockney English. What does that say about your company’s reputation for excellence?
  • A Polish distributor of a telecom client reviewed our translated Polish manual…. and returned it with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes. Had it been printed without our final revision, what would that carelessness have said about the client’s image?
  • A US semiconductor firm allowed its Beijing distributor to create the company’s documentation in Chinese. But the US firm learned later that many concepts were not properly translated… such as saying “cookie” for “wafer.”
  • A Vietnamese employee in a client’s US office made lots of edits to our manuals… but she originated from a village and spoke a rural dialect, not the standard “educated” language. Had the client accepted those edits, its credibility in Vietnam would have been severely damaged.
  • A US real estate firm used software or an in-house translator to say that a house was located “overseas”. The Spanish translation became “altamar” which means “on the high seas.” Not quite the meaning of “abroad” ….  and not the best location for a house!
  • An industrial saw company asked its Mexican employee to review our brochure translation, then printed it, and sent it to Mexico. The distributor totally rejected it. What happened? The US company’s Mexican employee only had a 4th grade education… not the most reliable reviewer for high-level industrial terminology.
  • A prestigious hotel – on Jean St. near the Flood Tower — used Google Translate to prepare its website in 50+ languages to attract international clients. This created such classic phrases as “we are located at Saint John near the tower of inundations.”