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I am not pulling your leg, you might be pregnant.

Risks and perils of bad translations.

What would happen if you received a letter from your bank that started with the following paragraph?

“We apologies, for the delay of your payment and all the inconveniences and inflict that we might have indulge you through. However, we were having some minor problems with our payment system, which is inexplicable, and have held us stranded and indolent, not having the aspiration to devote our 100% assiduity in accrediting foreign contract Payments. We apologies once again.”

You immediately would know it is a scam, or at least, you would laugh at the horrible grammar and spelling in the note. The bank reputation would certainly be ruined.

This is exactly what happens when you use automated translation software or hire an inexperienced person who claims to be a translator.

Although many people speak Spanish in Texas, that does not qualify them to translate important texts and convey the professional image that your brand requires.

Language translation requires full knowledge of both cultures besides language skills.

While in English you can jokingly say to someone “I am only pulling your leg”. The literal translation of that expression in Spanish sounds quite aggressive and makes no sense. Remember that automatic translators cannot distinguish when you are joking or using slang.

Some mistakes are costlier than others, but do you really want to risk it? Although the word intoxicated sounds very similar to intoxicado in Spanish, they mean different things. Intoxicado is closer to poisoned, whereas the meaning for intoxicated is closer to drogado or ebrio, depending if it is drug or alcohol use.

Next time you need a translation, take the time to hire a professional. Don’t let language mistakes become a pregnancy for you.

(Pregnant in Spanish is embarazada, very close to the sound of embarrassed).

Anjanette Gautier

Bicultural communicator

Do you want your customers to laugh at you? Better hire a good translator.

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