Don’t get lost in translation
Former German chancellor Willy Brandt once said: “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying from you, dann müssen Sie schon deutsch sprechen”.
And all of us who are targeting overseas markets, know how important a correct translation of our marketing collateral and company profile is. But then again… haven’t we all seen these before?
Sign at a French hotel: “Please leave your values at the front desk.”
Bangkok dry cleaners: “Please drop your trousers here for best results.”
Hong Kong dentist: “Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.”
Japanese hotel: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.”
These may make you giggle, but there is nothing funny about lost credibility with your clients, thousands spent on a failed advertising campaign or your complete corporate humiliation.
However, acquiring and using the services of a translator and/or interpreter can raise many questions. Before you plan or commit to using the services of a translator or an interpreter take a few moments to read this guide. Informed choices yield the best results.
Interpreters speak. Translators write. Checkers check the translated text against the English original. Proofreaders check the text without comparing with the original. If you need your company documentation in a foreign language, you will need a translator. If you need someone onsite with you to facilitate communication with your potential or current trade partner, you will need an interpreter. If your trade partner is organising the interpreter in his/her country, that’s fine but you may want to organise your own interpreter to ensure objectivity during negotiation.
Language service is a service you pay for. Historically, people have been reluctant to demand the quality and accountability they would of any other such service because they felt unqualified to judge. But there is no valid reason why the client should not be fully involved in verifying the quality of the service they’ve received when working with a professional.
T/I (Translators/Interpreters) professionals are experts at communication. They will be able to communicate clearly to you any technical obstacles to translation, the reasons things do and don’t work, and the rationale for everything they do in your paid employ. All you have to do is ask the questions.
Finding a translator
You need a NAATI-accredited and experienced practitioner (NAATI = National Accreditation Authority for Translators & Interpreters of Australia). The Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters Inc (AUSIT) is the peak national association of qualified translators and interpreters in Australia. A language service partner such as Multimedia Languages & Marketing has a large panel of accredited senior translators that are AUSIT members. All translations are checked by 2nd independent translators and proofed by editors. Editors are international journalists (international media) who make sure that the translation sounds natural and captures the minds and hearts of the target market. All press releases are translated by international journalists themselves.