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Unchecked Translations Cause Embarrassment

There is a world of difference between a well-edited and fully thought-through translation and one that is rushed or completed by someone who lacks a full and deep understanding of one or both of the languages involved. We could list dozens of examples of the work of poor language translators, from menus, user guides for products, and even in the business and finance world, but a single one of the UK’s more embarrassing failures in translation services is enough to prove our point. The local council for the South Wales city of Swansea needed a road sign to prevent heavy goods vehicles from turning into a particular road. They emailed the desired text to their usual English to Welsh translation services and received a short reply which they assumed was the necessary Welsh text. To the puzzlement of local Welsh speakers, the result was a signpost reading “I am not in the office at the moment…”. While the sign was quickly removed and corrected, the incident was widely reported and even got as far as the BBC website. No doubt it proved extremely embarrassing both for the language translators and the council. Regardless of the size of the task and the languages and translation rates involved, we consider it our responsibility to ensure that misunderstandings like this one don’t occur. If you choose to engage Wolfestone you’ll receive a full and professional service, whether you want us to translate a single phrase, your entire corporate website, or an important legal document.

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