In a recent event in Costa Rica, on the human rights of migrants at the borders – “Human Rights for people on the move: intersections”, in this case on the border between Mexico and the United States, when we were providing the service of Face-to-face simultaneous interpretation English <> Spanish, with our simultaneous interpretation teams and interpreters, we had the opportunity to hear a phrase referring to linguistic discrimination and the impact of the language barrier for these communities and migrant flows: Linguistic violence.
Advantages of translating your website. Globalization has allowed many activities to be carried out through the Internet. Undoubtedly, among the most notable aspects is the immediate access to information that can be disclosed in real time and electronic commerce, which not only allows you to make purchases virtually, but also allows products to reach markets around the world. that were previously inaccessible. This is why web pages have become a great advantage for thousands of companies that want to reach as many people as possible. In the same way, it is important to mention that a company’s website also serves as a reflection of its corporate values, its image and its identity as an organization.
Generally when a user wants to make a query or buy on the internet, he enters keywords into a search engine to get relevant results that redirect him to specific web pages containing a variety of content. Therefore, a communication channel is opened as wide as desired. Now, if you really want to reach as many people as possible, it is important to consider web translation.
Web pages are usually written in a single language. Generally, in English, which is considered the language of dissemination worldwide. But the reality is that a large part of the general public does not have a linguistic competence that allows them to navigate comfortably in this foreign language or in others. It has been shown that consumers tend to consult web pages written in their own language and are more likely to buy a product from a website written in their own language. For this reason, at a time like the present, it is important for companies to internationalize their content reliably. Some of the benefits of translating a web page are:
- Reach a larger audience
A large number of Internet users are located in Asia or the Pacific, therefore the translation of a web page into other languages will greatly improve global communication. Translating the website into multiple languages gives access to a larger audience that may be equally interested in the products or services that your company offers.
- Greater customer satisfaction
Localized websites lead to higher customer satisfaction, as long as there is a well-done translation. It is also necessary to check that the user experience is optimal, that you can browse and make purchases without problems and that the message on the page is attractive. If customers notice that the company adapts its products or services to their needs, greater satisfaction will be generated. This leads to a better reputation, repeat business, and more customers.
- Boost in search engines
Translating the web page into different languages achieves an increase in ranking and a Google boost for the website. This is because when the page is translated and localized into different languages for different regions, the needs of the clients are being met.
- Competitive advantage
The fact of being on the Internet is already a competitive advantage in many sectors, but if in addition to that you have a website translated into different languages, you will obtain greater differentiation from other companies. If the translation of the website is not carried out, it will be at a competitive disadvantage, losing against local companies and also against other foreign companies that better localize their content.
- Sales increase
If done properly, the investment made in the localization of the website will bring with it an increase in sales and turnover. The translation of web pages facilitates the achievement of new clients, so this will be reflected in sales in the medium and long term. To get the maximum return on your localization investment, it’s important to narrow down the languages you’re translating into with prior research and decide where demand for your products is likely to be greatest.
- Improve the reputation and image of your business
Finally, if the web page is well defined and translated into several languages, it will be transmitting an image of internationalization, professionalism and experience for the user. The website is the first contact that future clients will have with the company, therefore it should always reflect a good image of the company.
At LingoCall we provide professional website and digital platform localization services. Contact us right now and we will gladly make a budget according to the needs of your company.
Translation errors in advertising. Translation is a task that must be carried out professionally, since the message must be transmitted trying to provoke the same sensations, perceptions and reactions in the recipient as in the original text. This is where the importance of hiring professional translators with experience comes from, since they will always carry out the translations taking into account the cultural context and adapt the puns used in the original to the target language.
In business contexts, professional translation plays a very important role and should not be ignored, since an error can generate great economic and reputational consequences for companies. Here are 5 examples of translation errors in large business advertising:
- Coca Cola: The well-known and famous company Coca Cola had a big translation error in one of its advertising campaigns in China. In this campaign he used the expression “Ke-kou-Ke-la” without realizing that in China this means “bite the wax tadpole” or “wax stuffed mare”. By the time they realized this mistake they had already spent a lot of money creating miles of billboards. His advertising agency acted quickly and replaced the phrase with “happiness in your mouth”, however, the mistake had already been made and millions had already been spent that could have been saved if he had hired professional translators in the first place.
- McDonalds: The great McDonalds company that has more than 37,000 establishments and is recognized worldwide made a big mistake when it introduced the Big Mac hamburger to the French market. The name of the burger was translated as “Gros Mec” which means “Great Pimp”. This without a doubt caused a scandal and to this day it is remembered as one of the worst translation mistakes of large companies.
- American Airlines: In 1977 American Airlines, one of the most famous airlines in North America, carried out a campaign to promote its new leather armchairs. In the United States the phrase “Fly in Leather” was used to promote them, the problem occurred when the campaign arrived in Mexico and was translated literally, this expression for Mexicans means “Fly Naked”.
- Electrolux: The famous Swedish company Electrolux, a leader in the sale of household appliances and vacuum cleaners, made a big mistake when it wanted to enter the US market in the 1970s. The phrase “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” was used for its advertising (Nothing vacuums like an Electrolux), expressing the good quality of their vacuum cleaners and stating that their machines suck up dust like no other. The mistake is that for Americans the word “sucks” has a negative connotation and is understood as failing, being unpleasant, being very bad. Therefore the expression was given to be understood as “Nothing worse than an Electrolux”.
- Clairol: The American company of personal care products in 2006 launched its product “Mist Stick”, a hair curler. When taking their product to Germany, their name was translated literally, which was a big mistake since “mist” in Germany translates as “excrement” or “dung”, therefore the product was being used in Germany as “Palo de manure”. No doubt the sales were disastrous for the product as nobody wanted to buy something with this name.
These five examples demonstrate the importance of hiring professional translators, with high linguistic knowledge and command of the languages and cultures of the countries in which the advertising campaigns will be carried out. The work of the translators not only ensures that they correct grammatical errors, they are also in charge of ensuring that the message is coherent and that it is culturally accepted in the destination country. In cases of international campaigns, it is advisable to hire native translators or interpreters from each of the regions where the message is going to be carried.
Translation of Standard Operating Procedures. Without a doubt, precision is crucial for success in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Poorly manufactured medical products can seriously damage a company’s reputation, which is why it is essential to apply Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in companies to ensure quality control. These procedures are step-by-step instructions to document work routines or specific activities of a process and ensure their quality.
Some companies decide to subcontract the manufacture of products to companies in foreign countries, which is why the translation of the processes must be carried out in the best way. The company to which the production is being subcontracted must have all the information so that the final product is always exactly the same. This is why the translated information must remain precise and the processes must be clear so that the standards can be met. Hiring professional translators who have experience in these matters brings benefits to the company, including:
- The company ensures that the translation of the standard operating procedures is correct: With the work of a translator, errors in the original document that may not have been identified before can be corrected. For example, there may be very open sentences that lend themselves to multiple interpretations. It is also possible that in the original translation there are omissions of certain steps, which may be obvious for some but for others these small omissions can lead to errors. All the problems must be pointed out by the translator and corrected in order to carry out the translation of the documents in the most precise way. The translator must also identify and find the best way to translate any colloquial phrases or jargon implemented in the original text.
- A correct explanation of the processes is given: The fundamental rule for carrying out this type of translation is that when the processes are being translated, they must be described in the way they will appear to the operator. For example, when a knob or button is labeled in the original language, it must appear this way in the document being translated, respecting the language and even the capitalization used. Any language the operator sees on the screen, regardless of their spoken language, must be identical to what is described in the converted SOP.
- Proper management of terminology is given: The extensive terminology used in the pharmaceutical industry is one of the main reasons why having professional translators is essential. The translator must have experience and knowledge of the terms and standards in order to carry out a good translation. First of all, the translator must take into account that although many of the terms must be translated, there are also some that are used internationally, therefore they must be left in the original language. Also, as shown above, the translator must have knowledge of the regulations, know the applicable pharmaceutical standards in their country and be sure that they are met. It is also important that the translator pays attention to trademark names that may or may not be internationally recognized. Lastly, the translator must also have knowledge of the abbreviations used in the industry and know if there are equivalent abbreviations in the language into which the translation is being made.
Training your staff in their own language is part of your Quality Assurance and Risk Mitigation System
All this confirms the importance of having professional translators with the necessary experience and knowledge when translating these important documents. Especially when it comes to industries such as pharmaceuticals, in which many regulations and standards must be taken into account, it is essential that a good translation be carried out, companies of this type cannot risk receiving lawsuits or damaging their reputation due to problems. of translation.
The problem of automatic translators. Without a doubt, automatic translators improve over time, however, they are not a substitute for professional translation and interpretation. The vice-dean of the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation of Granada, Jan-Hendrik Opdenhoff mentioned that “Perhaps the day will come when machine translation will take away the jobs of professionals, but it is not imminent. Their big problem is the context: the machines do not know the world”. Machine translators don’t know about literature, culture, grammar or history.
Automatic translation is undoubtedly revolutionary, it allows us to translate texts in seconds, understand completely unknown languages from a mobile phone, etc. It’s fast, cheap and easy to use, but it has its limits. Some of its limitations are:
– Lack of quality and precision: When it comes to achieving quality and precision to transmit a message, machine translation technology cannot offer it. Machine translators cannot check sentence by sentence to write it in the most concrete way. Therefore, these are most effective when used to get an overview or translate a short text, not for larger or important documents. Said technology cannot accurately recognize which is the appropriate idiomatic turn when a word has several meanings according to the context, the subject, the industry and the sector in which the content to be translated deals with.
– It has no context: Technology cannot understand the way in which a mistranslated word or phrase can alter the meaning of a message. They take the message very literally and are not able to translate it in a way that makes sense in context.
– Technicalities and jargon: The technicalities and jargon of certain sectors are terms that automatic translators are not capable of detecting and understanding. On the other hand, professional translators know the language of the different sectors and find suitable words to translate it into a foreign language.
– Limits on formats: Generally, in automatic translators there are limits on file sizes. If you want to translate an audio or a handwritten document, it cannot be done with this technology.
– Lack of expertise: Contrary to professional translators, with an automatic translator you will not be able to obtain expertise in the topics. Professional translators are experts in certain languages or even in specific industries or sectors.
This refers especially to translators of written content. In the case of interpretation (oral translation of content) the situation is even more difficult for automatic translators, called interpreting machines, since interpreting is not only orally translating the words that the other person is saying, it is a much more difficult task. Complex and sophisticated.
Interpreters need a deep level of knowledge in both the source and target languages. If they can’t follow the context of the conversation, they won’t be able to paraphrase it in a way that preserves its meaning. For this reason, professional interpreters must be fluent in both languages. Because they work orally, interpreters can speak fluently. In addition, they must know the customs, regionalisms and oral colloquialisms of each language. However, they do not interpret the message word by word.
If one tried to directly translate a sentence from one language to another in real time, the original meaning could not be conveyed clearly and it would become confusing for both parties. Instead, the most important technique of interpretation is paraphrasing. Interpreters listen to spoken words, understand their meaning, and transform them into new words in the target language.
Subject matter expertise is also an important part of an interpreter’s skill set. Familiarity with a certain topic is an advantage when engaging in highly technical conversations, especially when parties use different words or acronyms for certain terms.
On the other hand, performers must convey the feel and tone of the original content. It is about transmitting a message in the most reliable way, including moods and even what is meant by body and facial expressions and the emotions transmitted. Last but not least, there are four aspects that must be considered in order to better understand the dynamics between machine and human translation:
- Possibly that the acceptance and comfort of users, whether they are readers or listeners, is greater when they know that they are being assisted by a human being and not by a machine. Especially when the topics to be discussed are medical, legal or business. It is difficult to find a person who wants to sign an automatically translated contract, without any human intervention to ensure a reliable, assertive and adequate translation, worse still, in a verbal negotiation where there is a much higher risk of miscommunication.
- The cultural aspect of feeling assisted by a translator or interpreter who knows the culture, customs and jargon of both parties in the communication process is very relevant for users.
- There is always the doubt of whether the translator or interpreting machine is doing the job correctly.
- In the case of interpreting machines, it has been confirmed that they are very effective for short and simple translations, such as telling a taxi driver the direction we want to go, but not for interpreting a keynote speech. For example, interpreting a negotiation, or medical or legal assistance, which involves a much higher risk of miscommunication. In fact, the insurance industry is a constraint for automatic translators and interpreting machines to prevail and replace human language assistance. The risk of using artificial intelligence to replace translators and/or interpreters is too high and can have very large economic, legal and reputational implications that the insurance industry cannot accept. This industry will always seek to reduce the associated risk. For example, in Mexico many people say foot to the leg. What happens if in a medical service or procedure an interpreting machine translates as foot and not as leg, and as a result the diagnosis or medical procedure is wrong and serious complications arise? Who pays? The insurer?
Undoubtedly, automatic translators and interpreting machines have their advantages. They are fast, cheap and are good at translating short texts. However, a professional translator is irreplaceable. These are capable of translating the texts adequately, fully knowing the appropriate words so as not to lose the context. In the case of companies, it is necessary to have professional translators in order to improve their image and provide quality to their documents and contracts. A good translation can generate high profits when looking for international business partners.
What are the most important languages in the world?
There are more than 7000 languages spoken around the world, this shows the high linguistic variety that exists. However, the distribution of speakers is very uneven, since while some of the languages are spoken by a large number of the world’s population, others are on the verge of disappearing. Due to high globalization certain languages have been gaining more importance and it is expected that their number of speakers will continue to grow more and more. Here is a list of some of the most important languages in the world:
- English: English is par excellence the most important language in the world and it is the one that many people learn as a second or third language, which makes it the most universal language. It is spoken on five continents and is the official language of very powerful countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Being dominated by so many people, it is considered the language of business.
- Mandarin Chinese: It is one of the languages with the largest number of speakers in the world. Recognized as the official language of China, the country with the world’s largest economy and an important trading partner for many countries. There is a large investment from this country in Latin America which has made it one of the most important languages in the corporate world.
- Spanish: Spanish is the official language of 21 countries and with so many native speakers it is considered one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is of great importance for being the official language of emerging economies in Latin America and being one of the official languages of the UN, the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- German: German is the official language of countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. It is the native language of about 18% of Europeans. It is of great importance since it is the official language of Germany which has great weight in the European economy and is a major exporter.
- Arabic: It is the official language of more than 20 countries. The speakers of this language are mostly concentrated in the Middle East, however there are many people who speak the language around the world. It is also one of the official languages of the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Union. The Arabic language plays an important role in connecting people through culture, science, literature and other fields.