Mirror, Mirror

If you’ve ever seen a poor-quality translation, did you think: “the translator who did this is rubbish” or “this company can’t even hire a decent translator”?

Memes with the message “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur” have been doing the rounds on social media, and everyone agrees, of course. Well, in theory anyway. When it comes to reality, there are still some who prioritise budget over quality. While cost always matters, a budget is only worth spending if the result is good. If you put some effort into preparing a well-written text, it makes sense to hire a translator who will take the same amount of care with their work.  As much as the quality of your work is a reflection of your standards and professionalism, the translation of your text is a reflection of your standards too because a poor translation tells your reader that quality is not your priority, which can impact on your image and credibility.

The idea that translation only consists of retyping the text in another language is a simplistic myth to say the least. Yet this is what an amateur believes (especially if you dangle a bit of pocket money in front of them), until they are stumped by the many challenges a text throws at them. They then opt for an approximate rendering or change the story to make their erroneous understanding fit somehow. When commissioned by translation agencies to check other translators’ work, I have even seen some tricky sentences being omitted altogether.

An inaccurate translation of the press release of your next prestigious show could take the prestige out of it. Translation is the mirror of your standards, so be wise and think quality before bargain.

Follow Me by Jeppe Hein

Follow Me, Jeppe Hein

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