If you’re in business you’ll appreciate how it throws up all sorts of unique challenges – the key to overcoming them is to make sure the right people are employed in the right roles.

And that rule applies for all appointments, from internal applications to external tenders from industry specialists.

So whether you’re employing new admin staff or getting a specialist to check your website is up to speed don’t just go for the lowest priced option, make sure you also get the quality of service you need.

And definitely don’t put price over service when choosing an international translations service, the results can be catastrophic to your business.

Online translation tools

Online translation tools like Google Translate and Bing Translator are fun and generally useful if you need to translate a single word or sentence – but you should never use either in place of a professional translation agency, even if you just need a quick translation.

While phrases like ‘what is your name?’ and ‘how are you?’ generally mean the same thing across most languages and so are pretty simple to translate, when it comes to communicating a more complex message to a foreign language audience, the nuances of the language is important and online tools can’t always cope.

Take the phrase “I’ll have to catch the bus”, for instance, while anyone who speaks English as their first language will instantly understand this turn of phrase, it may not translate directly into another language where “catch the bus” is taken literally.

If we take the same phrase in Mandarin, if it’s correctly translated into English it reads “I am going to follow the bus”, which changes the context completely.

And if you have these slight mistranslations across a whole document, this can prove costly in the long term, not only in the sense you’ll have to have the translations done all over again, or you may even lose job completely.

Hiring a translation service

Using a freelancer to do your translations may be a cost-effective option, if you’re not fluent in the target language, how will you proof the work? You could then send the work on to a proofreader but this will take even more time and money.

A friend in another industry had a piece of marketing piece material translated from Chinese to Japanese, using traditional script. Just before the piece went to press someone noticed there were  caught two lines of Chinese still in the copy and made the changes just in time.

If this mistake had not been spotted in time it could have resulted in thousands of pounds wasted and a reputation in shreds.

So unless you want to take a crash course in each of your languages,  consider hiring a reputable translation company that offers at least three levels of translation and proofing – on the face of it this may be more expensive than some of the other options available, but poor translation can result in costs to your business that you can’t put a price on.

Have you ever seen any spectacular translation fails? Let us know in the comments…