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Written by Traduality

Traduality helps organizations protect and get closer to its customers, employees, and partners in their native language.

January 8, 2018

How to avoid interpretation and translation errors


History is full of examples of translation and interpretation errors that have had high-impact consequences. From the myth of the Martians to the launch of the atomic bomb, the most controversial examples in history, including day-to-day expressions that occur in the UN, diplomatic speeches that, when mistranslated and interpreted, start a series of exaggerated events that, if not corrected in time, trigger misunderstandings between countries.


Sometimes, languages are very complex and there are not always words that mean exactly the same in two languages, there are always small nuances that introduce differences.

It can also happen that two very similar words in appearance have completely different meanings and those “false friends” can generate many problems.


How to avoid interpretation errors in a conference?

As a professional who performs the work, at the time of interpreting a conference, make sure that you have a previous preparation on the subject, the glossaries and the support material needed to cover the event. In addition to meeting the speakers and having a direct communication with your customer the previous days to request any important information you require.

As a company requesting interpretation services, make the request with enough time in advance, in order to provide a prudent space for the team of interpreters to prepare before the conference. Provide all possible information within reach and keep a direct communication at all times.


How to avoid translation errors in a document?

In previous articles we have given some advice and addressed some topics that can help you avoid translation errors and to hire specialized companies that provide quality services.

However, in summary, my biggest advice for translators is to know the subject they are going to translate, and especially, to take the time to review their work carefully, once completed.

I want to share two essential articles to companies or people requesting translation services: Why choosing low-cost translations can get expensive and 7 essential tips when hiring translation services.


What consequences can translation errors bring?

Suppose a Latin professional wants to emigrate to an English speaking country, but does not achieve their goal because the hired translator mistranslated their professional references; or that a doctor applies an incorrect treatment to their patient due to a translation mistake of their clinical history; or perhaps that a company sues another for breach of contracts due to translation errors in the internal documents, the list is endless.

That is why I stress the importance of having the professional advice of specialized agencies, which can help to solve problems of linguistic interference, addition/omission of ideas and errors of meaning. Although the Internet is full of automatic translation programs, the thing is not so amusing when more serious issues such as medicine, law and engineering come into play, just to mention a few. The severity of a translation error distorts a whole content or an idea, and the damage can be material or moral.


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