The Importance of Quality Website Translation

Ewa Jasinska-Davidson
August 18, 2016 5 min read

The Importance of Quality Website Translation

Can’t afford to invest in expert translators? Why your business can’t afford not to!
Digital Marketing is forever changing and difficult to implement. Add the International concept to the mix and you’ve got yourself a challenge! Businesses today understand that they cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities that digital brings. If your business model operates internationally you will understand the cultural differences and how these can impact on everything you do. Many businesses invest heavily in marketing but fail to invest in accurate translation, potentially risking the success of their project!
Why is accurate translation important?
Working as a professional interpreter and translator, minor mistakes and their cultural implications are clear to me. A frequent business partner of mine asked me to be present during a presentation from a digital marketing consultancy. This was based on an international project for their business. The presentation hit all the right spots digitally, as a lover of all things digital and an advocate of social media marketing - I found it exciting to witness, being sure of its success.
When asked about the cultural piece of this project, the digital marketing consultancy expressed their ease in translation with the help of Google Translate! I could not believe what I was hearing. Yet another failure to recognise the impact of poor quality translation! I posed a question. Would you publicise a blog post in English on the World Wide Web with grammar and spelling mistakes? What would you think of a company who had done so?

Is it cheap? There’s a reason for that
Julia Spatuzzi Felmanas on her experience as a translator:
I often work with academics conducting research. Some insist on translating their work themselves or getting a cheaper, less able translator. People often come back to me because their article has been refused for publication. This can be very frustrating for them-their article either needs a considerable amount of rewriting or has to be translated to a better standard. It is only after their expense and time has been relinquished, that they realise the importance.
Marketing translation is a state of art
It isn’t easy to learn a language; this takes time, dedication and a willingness to welcome the unknown. Learning a language does not make a competent translator. Translating warrants the need for an in-depth understanding of the cultural background, of the country itself and of the values of those belonging to that country.
My colleague Diana Singureanu won a contract to translate the content of a betting website from English to Romanian:  
There were quite a few considerations that were not included in the translation process: converting currency, suggesting names of well-known Romanian poker players to endorse their campaigns. I conducted research on organisations in Romania addressing the issue of betting addiction. This awareness was essential for encouraging responsible betting and having the correct controls in place.
Humour, idioms, colours may have different associations across countries, and as an example, measurements differ. Miles in the UK as opposed to kilometers in Spain, feet in the UK as opposed to metres in Poland. Only a skillful translator will be able to take into consideration all aspects and pay attention to all the details.
Lost in translation
A slight loss of judgement in translation can be very humorous! Taglines, billboards, labels that get lost in translation. This can be very damaging for companies and completely loses your target market. My colleague Andrea Alvisi proofread a tourism translation for a website and the (underqualified) translator translated "public hospitals" as "ospedali pubbici", which has a striking resemblance to "pubici" (pubic) - it should have been "ospedali pubbLici".
Your website in a foreign language is your business card, portrays your professional image, your brand. An incorrect translation can actually cost you more than consulting with a qualified translator in the first place.
Ewa Jasinska-Davidson, MA PgDip, DPSI, RPSI (13915)
Conference Interpreter and Translator, Polish, English, Spanish
[email protected]
Thank you to my colleagues who shared their experience with me:
Julia Spatuzzi Felmanas, Diana Singureanu, Andrea Alvisi

Written by Ewa Jasinska-Davidson

Lyndon Associates Marketing Communications