Debunking Popular Translation Myths

From ‘anyone who speaks a language can translate,’ to ‘Google Translate is just fine for my website,’ we debunk a few of the most common translation myths.

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Here are a few of the translation myths we come across regularly…

Translation Myth 1: We don’t need translators – we use Google translate

Translation Myths

Machine or online translation tools are exactly that: a useful tool! They can convey the general understanding of what a text is about, but they are no substitute for human expertise and experience.

If you want to publish or use the text you are translating for any serious purpose, then steer well clear! Don’t make your company or brand a laughing stock by cutting corners.

Translation Myth 2: Anyone who speaks a language can translate

Professional translation should always be done by a native speaker of the target language. Translators, like other professionals, spend years honing their skills to be able to translate accurately and deliver a well written piece of text. Non-translators have generally spent their time focusing on a different career path entirely.

The other problem with asking someone who is not a translator to work on translations for you is that it isn’t their full-time job. Agents and distributors in particular are very busy and have other demands on their time. In our experience, it takes a lot longer too. It could take months rather than the weeks or days a translation company would take to produce the same translation.

Translation Myths

Translation Myth 3: Translation is expensive

Translation Myths

When you compare the cost of translation with other professional services such as Solicitors, Accountants, etc, it puts the price into perspective. Translators are as specialized and qualified as any other profession, and so charge for their time in a similar way.

We encourage clients to consider translation as an investment rather than a cost – for example, if they localise their website, the company will gain new customers, so the investment will pay off.

Translation Myth 4: Everyone does business in English

English is still widely spoken and understood worldwide, however this is fast changing. The number of people who speak other languages far exceeds the number of native English speakers. If you take the example of internet users, over 70% of them are not Anglophones, so that’s what proportion of the market you could be missing out on by only doing business in English.

Translation Myths

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