Learning a language can be very stressful and difficult. Some languages
are harder to learn than others. Some of the languages are so hard to
learn that people give up halfway through a course and decide that they
don't really need to know another language.
Communicating with people from different countries is becoming ever popular. Not only do companies need proper business translations, we encounter people from different countries at work, in our own towns, and we go on vacation. You are now just as likely to need a few words of French to order something from the menu when visiting France for a business meeting or while on vacation. Getting it right is critical, if you want to make a good impression.Overcoming the language barrier is becoming one of the most critical issues in today's day and age. People, enterprises and governments are all trying to come up with solutions to their needs in order to live, work, travel or operate abroad. Language training continues to be a fast growing industry, as people across the globe learn a foreign language for life, work, travel or love. International organizations are paying for business translation services at an astounding rate. They are an integral part of communicating with other cultures and building strong relationships. Militaries also invest large sums of money in creating translation equipment for troops in foreign countries. And as long as people from different countries continue to speak different languages, this need will not lessen.Learning a language can be very stressful and difficult. Some languages are harder to learn than others. Some of the languages are so hard to learn that people give up halfway through a course and decide that they don't really need to know another language. Obviously not everybody can learn all languages, which is why the industry of business translation is growing rapidly as more and more companies are expanding their reach beyond national boundaries.If there is a need for business translations, it also needs to be done right. There are now websites and even books dedicated to preserving some of the classic examples of "translations gone wrong". These gaffes are mostly affecting international businesses and can broadly be put into two categories; the written and the spoken. It is easy to make big mistakes when translating and here are a few classical examples of business translation gone wrong.IKEA once tried to sell a workbench called FARTFULL. It didn't go over very well - so they had to change the name.Both Clairol and the Irish alcoholic drink Irish Mist did not properly consider the German language when they launched their products there. Clairol's hair-curling iron "Mist Stick" and the drink "Irish Mist" both flopped - why? 'Mist' translates in German as "manure". Fancy a glass of Irish manure?The Japanese seem to have a particular flair in naming products. The country has given us gems such as "homo soap" (a soap bar with a very niche target market), "coolpis" (a seemingly unappetizing fruit juice), "Germ bread" (fancy spreading your butter on that?) and "Shito Mix" (which even claims to be a "new improved shito").So, you can see how things can go terribly wrong if something is misconstrued in business translation. Things don't always hold the same meaning after translation and if a business is to be successful on the international stage they must be able to communicate well in foreign languages and avoid such pitfalls.
Armando Riquier as a freelance writer and expert translator collaborates with Tectrad, a company specializing in the translation of financial, legal and corporate documents. Find out how to keep an excellent image with your foreign customers using fast, accurate and professional business translations.