What you don’t know about… Translation 🔡

Translation is easy these days. 

Google Translate can handle it. You’ll get an instantaneous result and you will understand what you’re reading.

On the other hand… 

We have all had the chance to laugh at a bad translation on a menu. 

And as long as it’s just a menu, no big deal. But what if it’s a more binding document?

The technology of translation

I spoke with Robert Gebhardt, owner of Lugano Translations, and also my older brother, and asked him about the biggest misconceptions about translation.

“People assume we are a technology business”, he told me. “They hear ‘Translation’ and think apps and AI”.

And some of that is true, technology is everywhere. 

Google Translate, ChatGPT and other AI platforms, translation apps, and Facebook has a “view translation” link on posts.  

All these options work for their own purposes. 

The humans of translation

But translators do something more. 

“We deal with real people.“

Communication is not just about what you say. Communication is about what people understand. And that’s why language is about much more than words: it’s about meaning. 

“It’s one thing when you’re translating menus and something is spelled incorrectly or just translated oddly. But if you are dealing with legal documents, financials, medical records, school records, government documents, important marketing material, engineering specs, etc. etc. then it should absolutely be taken seriously. “

Marketing communication requires proper localization. 

Legal documents require the correct terminology in each jurisdiction. 

Financial reports require compliance with local expectations. 

Engineering specs require specificity of the terms used in each context.

The business of translation

In your business, give translation the proper consideration. 

When you get it wrong, the least that can happen is that you look unprofessional, which is not a great place to start. The worst-case scenario could have more long-lasting consequences.

What next

Speak to people in both the right language and the right context. Start with your own: what do you want to say? Give me a call to work on defining your business in all its specifics.