It would seem that almost everyone can recall at least one funny moment when they have mistranslated a word, either in their private or work lives. While often funny, such mistakes in the business world can be costly, and within the medical sector they can be deadly. Here are some examples when hiring a language translator would have made an enormous difference to the outcome.
Medical mistakes caused by poor or mistranslations are among the most dangerous that could be stopped with English to French translation online, or between any other languages. One example that cost a great deal in terms of patient pain, and medical negligence claims occurred in Germany. 47 patients undergoing artificial knee replacement surgery were left with uncemented joints after the doctor mistranslated the instructions. However, in the long term these patients were lucky. The mistake could be rectified, and compensation for the mistake was paid. In 2004, several patients in France were not so lucky after receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. The software related to the treatment was in English and the staff tried to translate the instructions themselves. If they have hired someone to translate English to French they could have potentially saved four lives and reduced the suffering and side effects suffered by dozens of other patients. In neither of these cases, or the countless others that occur across the world did the individuals involved intend harm by their actions. In fact, they probably believed that by saving time and money by undertaking the translations themselves they are doing the right thing. But, these examples just go to show how important a proper language translator is.
Thankfully, the vast majority of translation mistakes are much less critical to health, although they can be highly embarrassing for those involved and would have been easily avoided with the use of experienced French to English translation services for example. A glitch in a computer game that lead to a translation error turned the phrase ‘remember, no Russian’ to ‘kill ’em; they’re Russian’, ever so slightly embarrassing if playing online across countries, particularly if it leads to different understandings of the set mission objectives. Marketing can also fall foul of poor translation, and while funny in hindsight, it was probably less so for the person who made the mistake and rather than hiring a translator French English or countless other languages, cost the company rather a lot of money. One example, which also shows the importance of cultural knowledge when marketing was when Colgate introduced a new toothpaste in France, innocently called Cue. Unfortunately for the naming and marketing department that happens to be the name of a rather well-known French pornographic magazine. Not a mistake you really want to make and one that would have been avoided with professional translation English to French. Something similar happened with Parker pens with a Mexican ad campaign when a mistranslation turned ‘it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you’ to ‘it won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant’. All it took was a mistake in one word to completely change the meaning of the sentence.
None of these marketing mistranslations are as serious as those in the medical sector, but in terms of embarrassing it would be hard to beat the Pepsi advert that change ‘come alive with Pepsi’ to the drink that ‘brings your ancestors back from the grave’. It’s hard to believe that failing to get a proper language translator didn’t get someone fired for that one.