Being versed in a couple of languages is different from knowing how to translate them properly. If you did not know by now, translation is an exceptional skill that language experts work hard to cultivate.
To be able to appreciate fully the significance of a good translation and a reliable translation company, it would be best to point out the errors of the past.
A Mistaken Valentine Tradition
Chocolate businesses in the 1950s wanted to encourage the Japanese to take part in Valentine’s Day. What these companies did not expect was that they imposed women to give chocolates to men as a tradition during this holiday.
This honest translation mistake started a new custom in the country that still finds application today. Women would give men truffles and chocolates on February 14, while men return the favor every March 14.
A Mistaken International Statement
In 1977, President Carter visited Poland and decided to hire a Russian translator who knew how to speak Polish. They did not double check his skills because he was never really used to translating the said language professionally.
This is why the President ended up saying commentaries in the words of the translator, such as “your lusts for the future,” instead of, “your desires for the future.” Luckily, the errors turned out to be an amusing hit for the media in both countries.
A Mistaken Medical Proclamation
At a Florida hospital in 1980, the 18-year-old Willie Ramirez entered the hospital in a comatose state. His family and friends who only spoke Spanish tried to communicate his condition with the medical staff saying he is “intoxicado.”
A bilingual staff member interpreted this word as “intoxicated” when professional translators know that this actually means poisoned or food poisoning. When in truth, he actually suffered from intracerebral hemorrhage and the doctors kept treating it like a drug overdose.
This led to a malpractice settlement of around US$71 million.
Thankfully, translation companies are now more cautious than ever because they know how critical it is to translate languages accurately. This prevents miscommunication, confusion and financial blunders, like the above circumstances.