Monday, 19 May 2014

Doing It Right? Notes on Translation.

All of us are customers. We purchase items and services that come with a lot of information. We (or at least I) expect the information to be correct and understandable. Companies (big and small) need to think about cost-efficient solutions when creating the items and the services, as well as the information surrounding them. Logical, isn't it?

When it comes to translation, a lot of things can go wrong. If I hobby-translate some poem, my errors will (hopefully) not have a negative impact on anyone. I do not ask anyone to pay for my translation services or any other services that require translations to be correct. In other word, this criticism is not aimed at language-learning individuals. I question the behavior of companies that do not take these things seriously. However, in the role of customer I feel that I have the right to expect the service provider to provide me with correct information and correct translations. This past weekend I went to Estonia with an Estonian ferry company that provided all information in four languages: Estonian, Swedish, Russian and English. That is great, isn't it? But - and of course there is a but - why pay for a translator if nobody proofreads the text? My opinions continue after the examples. I have done a word-by-word translation of the Swedish texts.

Beauty salon Hera Salongid is for You who You love Yourself and value Your time. When You are always hurrying Yourself in Your hectic life and don't have time to go everywhere, help is sometimes closer than You think! We help You find the most important - Yourself. To again find inspiration within You and to move toward new experiences and challenges. Here with us Your face, Your Body, Your hands and feet can relax. 

The cleaning of the cabins starts well before the ship arrives to the harbor. I suite and Lyx cabins are cleaned during the cruise, other cruise cabins are emptied only trash bins. The passengers may store their baggage (misspelled) and their personal belongings in the cabin until the ferry arrives to the harbor. We kindly ask you to leave the cabin door open when the journey is reaching its end.  

Here we have a ball pit, slide, toys, pain tools the toilet and nursery for the children. During school holidays there is a play leader for children. NB! Parents are responsible for their children. 

The latest dance hits choose the DJ. Modern sound technology and impressing Light suits all who value the trendiest beats. 

These examples are harmless. Nobody will get hurt if it is the hits that choose the DJ rather than the opposite. But, how can I trust that information concerning more important things (what to do when the boat starts sinking) is correct? Can I be 100% that the staff will understand what I say if there is no intention to use the language correctly? (Here I would like to mention that staff with name tags indicating that they know Swedish rather spoke English). It would be fine with me that Swedish wouldn't be used at all - but if you are going to use it, do it properly! Am I a happy customer? Not really.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Ugh, that is annoying. In my experience, I find that companies often go with the cheapest agency to translate stuff. Often, the cheapest isn't the best and you end up with gibberish, though!