Yikes! 9 “Little” Translation Mistakes That Caused Big Problems



Yikes, 9 little translation mistakes

Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate.

Translation is a special skill that professionals work hard to develop.

In their new book “Found in Translation,” professional translators Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche give a spirited tour of the world of translation, full of fascinating stories about everything from volunteer text message translators during the Haitian earthquake rescue effort, to the challenges of translation at the Olympics and the World Cup, to the personal friendships celebrities like Yao Ming and Marlee Matlin have with their translators.

The importance of good translation is most obvious when things go wrong. Here are nine examples from “Found in Translation” that show just how high-stakes the job of translation can be.

1. The seventy-one-million-dollar word

In 1980, 18-year-old Willie Ramirez was admitted to a Florida hospital in a comatose state. His friends and family tried to describe his condition to the paramedics and doctors who treated him, but they only spoke Spanish. Translation was provided by a bilingual staff member who translated “intoxicado” as “intoxicated.” A professional interpreter would have known that “intoxicado” is closer to “poisoned” and doesn’t carry the same connotations of drug or alcohol use that “intoxicated” does. Ramirez’s family believed he was suffering from food poisoning. He was actually suffering from an intracerebral hemorrhage, but the doctors proceeded as if he were suffering from an intentional drug overdose, which can lead to some of the symptoms he displayed. Because of the delay in treatment, Ramirez was left quadriplegic. He received a malpractice settlement of $71 million.

2. Chocolates for him

In the 50s, when chocolate companies began encouraging people to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan, a mistranslation from one company gave people the idea that it was customary for women to give chocolate to men on the holiday. And that’s what they do to this day. On Feb. 14, the women of Japan shower their men with chocolate hearts and truffles, and on March 14 the men return the favor. An all-around win for the chocolate companies!

Read the rest of these nine translation mistakes here at the MentalFloss.com article by Arika Okrent

Photo: Alex Schweigert/Flickr

 

Have questions about what you’ve read in this article?

Contact Medialocate at 831-655-7500 or
Email: info@medialocate.com


 

Click Here for Your Free Report: “Web Localization – Taking Your Website Global”

Taking Your Website Global

Learn the fast, efficient, and most effective way to translate your website
and online content into additional languages.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

OUR BLOG: ONE WORLD

MediaLocate Launches Enhanced Client Intelligence Portal

October 26, 2017

– myMediaLocate 2.0 Improves Visibility and User Experience for Large Localization Programs – Enterprise localization programs must be efficient, agile, and above all, measurable. No longer can companies afford to work in departmental silos, not being aware of what other divisions do and not optimizing translation leveraging across a company’s linguistic assets.  To that end […]

read more

FREE guides

Cultural Validation Checklist for Images

How well does your branding travel?

download

Stay in the Know

Sign up for the latest MediaLocate news.

© 2017 MediaLocate, Inc.  |  Terms of Use  |   Privacy