Translation errors – lost in translation

Machine translations, poorly edited machine translations, or simply no proofreading of the translated files by a native speaker can lead to a great number of translations that may sound pretty good at first, but will most likely reveal some errors that a native speaker of the target language will smile at.

Why that? Well, translating is much more than replacing one word from the source language with another word from the target language. Professional translators know their topics and delve deeply into the contents of their work – all that takes time.

Would you like to get some examples of translations that turned out wrong? Great! Here is my first one:

In the German language misspellings like ‘Ihr’ or ‘ihr’ (or variations of that) make a big difference as you may address the wrong target group. Therefore, if you translate the phrase ‘For your entertainment’ into ‘Zu Ihrer Unterhaltung’, you speak to the general public in a very polite way. However, if you use ‘Zu ihrer Unterhaltung’ (meaning: For the entertainment of women), you only include the female population. And that is probably not that what you wanted, right?!

Another example is the use of the German umlauts. If you forget to put these two little dots above a vowel where it is absolutely necessary, for instance, the translation of the sentence ‘Do not feed the animals.’ could look like this: ‘Futtern Sie nicht die Tiere.’ (meaning: Do not eat the animals.) instead of the correct translation: ‘Füttern Sie nicht die Tiere.’.

Therefore, make sure to find a professional translator that knows their craft.

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