Being a Brazilian my sense of humor is a very important cultural factor that is deeply rooted in my personality. Anything can be said about Brazil, but we always laugh a lot, and, basically, from everything. To laugh from what you do and what you work with is one of the most common things in my country. It is seriously difficult to not laugh at my colleagues, and, mainly, at myself. In this context, to laugh of badly done translations is something constant. And that is not exclusive to translators and peers, when the translation is badly done, it is noted by others as something wrong, inadequate, and that, at many times, can damage the image of the company that presents such translation to its clients. I love Mox’s blog, so I bring up another comic from him to you, about this subject:
Much is blamed in the use of Google Translate as the culprit of this type of problem. That is just as false as blaming Photoshop for the lack of curve (and excess cellulite) on Beyonce, or blame Excel (or another numeric processing software) for the fall of an overpass. The problem is the part in between the keyboard and the chair back. It is this “part” that doesn’t know that mango (manga in Portuguese), a fruit, is not “sleeve” (as in a shirt’s sleeve, one of the mistranslations, between the other possibilities), and names mango juice “sleeve juice.” The software are for aiding, not doing the task. Only a well-trained, experienced professional, with a trained judgment and ever-updating knowledge will have an idea of how to bring this to the other side, without war losses. While thinking about this, trying to understand how much does this type of “problem” affects companies, looking for some figure, numbers, which could give me an idea of the impact that inadequate translation, or even incorrect translation, can cause, I found this report below (from Nellip's website)
Quantifying Quality Costs and the Cost of Poor Quality in Translation – Quality Efforts and the Consequences of Poor Quality in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation
The report applies to the DGT (Directorate General for Translation of the European Commission), but the processes of risk control, internal evaluations, and, mainly, the assessment of losses caused by inadequate or incorrect translations is very throughout, and is a very good source of information, interesting for both agencies and translators themselves. This site has much information to be extracted. I say goodbye to you with a hug, until the next newsletter.
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