Common Language Translation Mistakes That May Cause Huge Problems and How to Avoid Them

Understanding two or multiple languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate like a native speaker. Translation is a unique skill that professionals spend years to develop. Apart from creating an embarrassing situation, minor translation mistakes may also cause huge problems such as sending incorrect information, and breaking business deals, among others. Even if you call yourself a polyglot – an individual who can communicate in two or more languages fluently – you may still say things that a native speaker would avoid. Here are some common language translation mistakes that may sound unnatural to a native speaker.
English – German
English and German belong to same family, which makes the process of translation easy. However, you may face a situation where word-by-word translation would be wrong, even though it sounds correct.
Example: English word ‘so’ is often used to connect sentences such as ‘He woke up late so he missed the school bus.’ The word ‘so’ exists in German as well, but is used in a different manner. Instead of saying ‘Er war spät,so hat er den Bus verpasst’ the correct usage of the word would be ‘Er war spät, also hat er den Bus verpasst.’
This case shows that knowledge and practice is important.
English – French
The stats clearly show that France has always been a significant business partner to English speaking world. For organizations that are dealing with French companies, it is important to have a basic knowledge and understanding of French. However, basic mistakes may happen even if you speak French really well.
Example: In English, most of us start an official letter by addressing someone with ‘Dear Mr. or dear sir or madam.’ The French translation for the same would be ‘Cher Monsieur ou Madame.’ However, a native of French would be surprised to read the word ‘dear’ at the beginning of a business letter. In French, the proper phrase to use is ‘Madame, Monsieur.’

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