10 Signs of Unprofessional Translations

10 Signs of Unprofessional Translations
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


One of the last things you need to deal with is unprofessional translations, especially when you're on a tight deadline. One of the ten biggest red flags you should avoid for your translation projects happens to be the following.

1. Taking Everything Literally
While most language is going to be straightforward, some things are going to get lost in translation. Such as idioms, sayings or something similar in the language. So a highly professional translator will understand these nuances in language.

2. Cultural Differences
The last thing you want to do is insult your customers because of bad translations! Just like different sayings are going to be used in different parts of the world, certain wording might be unacceptable.

3. Poor Sentence Structure
One of the common signs of bad translations is when the sentence structure is nonsensical. This normally means that an automatic translator was used and the translator didn't bother to clean up the wording.

4. Improper Numbers
When the wrong type of currency, date, and other conversions are consistently used, then it is good to avoid that translator altogether to avoid extra edits.

5. Foregoing Overall Editing
On top of poor sentence structure, there should be editing involved with every part of the translated piece. That means commas and other grammar corrections.

Also Read: Why Industry-Specific Knowledge and Language Skills Are Key to Accurate Translation

6. Ignoring Mistakes
Even when you have highlighted a few mistakes in the copy, you notice in subsequent edits that they mysteriously return. This shouldn't be happening and needs to be avoided completely.

7. Wrong Addresses & Location Names
All of the spelling and structure of addresses and general locations should be correct in all of the documents, especially now that it is much easier to find location names online.

8. Assuming Everything Is Right
If there are glaring errors in the document when the translator receives it, then they should either alert you or the project manager of any big issues.

9. Zero Communication
Little to no contact between the two of you can be worrisome, especially when the piece comes back with even more errors than the original.

10. No Formatting
If charts or tables aren't copied over by the translator, then that means even more time being wasted. Make sure they're covering everything in their translation process.

Also Read: Automatic Transcription: More Minuses Than Pluses?

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.