Translators Say That Translating Poor Grammar is One of the Worst Parts of the Job

Guest post written by Bernadine Racoma


A translator’s job is to provide an accurate translation of the information from the source language into the target language. If that document was written well, then the translation process, usually, goes smoothly. However, what do you do if the original document contains grammatical mistakes that are just too obvious to ignore? Is it all right to translate poor grammar in the context of the translation being a mirror image of the original?

What a Recent Study Reveals

Professional language service provider Day Translations, Inc. recently conducted a survey of 400 translators. The study revealed that 28.2% of translators declared translating bad grammar as one of the hardest parts of their job.

For these translators, 29.4% said, translating highly technical terminology is the most difficult. Another 16.2% of the respondents found it difficult to translate proverbs and puns, due to their cultural dependency, making them difficult to adapt to other cultures.

The quality of a company’s presence online is very critical today as the availability of information, the efforts of competition and the degree of knowledge of the global community have a direct effect on the credibility and reputation of the company.

Why Grammar and Spelling Matter

You might think that people are just happy to find information about the company or product they seek online. However, many viewers do notice if there are grammatical or spelling errors found in a particular website. Many people voice their opinion that they are less likely to purchase products from a company whose website contains errors. It’s proof that the credibility of the company decreases in relation to its oversight, as it shows that they do not care much about their customers, much less about their company. It’s a sign of unprofessionalism on the part of the company, which also indicates that they are less likely to provide quality products or services.

Likewise, a badly translated website, for example translated from a foreign language into English, will suffer the same repercussions. It’s typical for most people to associate quality with things that are visible. Therefore, when they see a badly written or poorly translated website, it’s a normal reaction to think that the products or services the company offers are also of low quality.

Two Points of View

Some cultures believe that goods manufactured in other countries are superior to local products. At the same time, some cultures have an open mistrust about goods coming from abroad. In the case of the latter, local consumers associate poor translation on the company’s website or the mistake-prone information they gather from the site to further boost their mistrust on the company and its products. It is confounding, since many of these people may also be bad in grammar and spelling themselves.

The reality is that they expect company websites to be factual and correct, and to have impeccably written content. It’s an extension of their expectation that products, especially those coming from developed countries, should be superior – in features, ingredients and benefits, as well as packaging.

Importance of Correct Grammar and Spelling

We live in a global society which is viewed as having evolved into something better and more integrated over time. People are more educated and are inundated with technological advancements that assist them in making information readily available to consumers throughout the world via Internet connection.

Smartphones and other mobile communication devices are ubiquitous today. The continuous growth of Internet services and the availability of mobile devices should push businesses to seize every opportunity to create awareness about their products and services and to help improve the knowledge of customers. This can be done by creating and providing consumers with proper, factually and grammatically correct information.

Why is this important?

A potential customer only spends a few minutes perusing a website to find the information he or she is looking for. In those few precious minutes, the website or its content must make a good impression. If the content is full of spelling and grammatical errors, the potential customer is likely to dismiss your site.

Your online presence is critical in ensuring global business success. Make sure that it is designed to be user friendly, and have a creative content and correctly written text. For sites, targeting speakers of other languages, see to it that it is handled by an accurate translator, preferably a native speaker, so that the adaptation of your original content into other languages is grammatically correct, as well as culturally appropriate.

Always keep in mind that global competition is fierce so you should ensure that you present yourself in a professional and favorable light at all times. Every customer looks for professional service no matter what they want to purchase. Therefore, putting linguistics to good use is a vital part of the process.


About author:
Bernadine Racoma, senior content writer at Day Translations, Inc. is passionate about learning different cultures. Working for an international organization opened her eyes to diversity early on. That and her numerous overseas trips give her plenty of inspiration to write articles with so much depth.