Careless Translation Backlash

As China heads towards globalization, the demand for quality translation has also increased.  A simple conversion from Chinese to English is no longer sufficient, with the advances to social media and how easily someone can voice their opinion, any simple mistake will be magnified, and can cause a serious problem to your brand.

On May 21st, 2017, Zhejiang University celebrated their 120th anniversary, an event which sparked many discussions.  Not for this glorious event, nor for their great achievement, but for the poor level of translations that were shown at the event.

Gone are the days where poor translations can pass for “globalization”, gone are the days where both parties don’t have enough grasp of the English language to understand what went wrong.

Many Chinese company still consider cost as a major factor when choosing translators, most translators are qualified to simply convey your message across, but is that still enough?

What image would your company paint to your potential clients if your website’s English translations looked like the  above image?  It clearly conveys the message they wanted to portray, however, anyone with a basic grasp of the English language can see that the English used is broken, or in “Chinglish”.

Cost cutting may be an important factor to most, but what are the potential damages that will affect your brand?

Tsinghua University is one of the top universities in China, even them cannot escape the backlash that is caused by careless translations.  In their art museum, this was one of the translation that was presented at their exhibition, captured by a visitor to the museum.

What are your impression of this place if this is the only information you have of Tsinghua University?

Translation and Localization is a complicated process, and many people don’t understand that.  From testing to sourcing, to proof reading and quality control, it takes a team to deliver great work.

Carefully choosing your translator or translation company can reap great benefits, especially in a rapidly developing country like China, where Chinese is quickly joining English as two of the most used languages in the world.

*Original sources:

KaHei LICareless Translation Backlash