In today’s interconnected world of global communications and commerce, accurate translations have become more important than ever. Companies that do business across international borders rely on translations to communicate with their customers, employees and partners.

You might wonder if paying for professional translations is actually worth it, especially now that AI and smart translation tools seem to be available everywhere. However, a machine cannot translate the same way a human can, and poor translations can be costly in more ways than one. In today’s article, we will explore the true cost of a poor translation.

Lost Business Opportunities

Poor translations can lead to many lost business opportunities, and this is one of the most significant risks. Poorly translated websites, marketing materials or product descriptions can turn potential or existing customers away. According to a study by the Common Sense Advisory, 72.4% of consumers report they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language, and 56.2% said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Furthermore, poorly translated legal documents or contracts can lead to confusion, misunderstandings and lost deals, and in some cases, they may even result in costly legal disputes.

Operational Costs

Another risk of bad translations is the operational costs they can represent. If a product manual is poorly translated, for example, this may mean more people phoning up your customer service department to get the information they need. This can be particularly costly if the product has a wide customer base. In the most serious cases, a bad translation may even result in product recalls or legal action.

Poor translations can also lead to increased costs in terms of employee time and resources. For example, time spent addressing complaints or inquiries about unclear text or adapting translations means time not spent on the company’s core business activities or on providing customer service.

Reputational Damage

A mistranslated slogan or marketing campaign could even risk offending or alienating customers. Not only that, but it could even make a company appear unprofessional, untrustworthy or incompetent. This, in turn, can lead to lost business, negative reviews and damage to the brand’s image.

Consider what happened to Honda, for example: Back in 2001, Honda launched a new car on the Nordic market which they called the Fitta. Unfortunately, they didn’t know that in those languages, Fitta is a vulgar word for female genitalia. The fact that the promotional campaign described the car as being “small on the outside, but large on the inside” certainly didn’t help matters. They quickly renamed the car (Honda Jazz), but the damage was already done.

The Importance of Professional Translation

To avoid these costs, it is essential to invest in professional translation services. A professional translator is not only fluent in the target language but also has a deep understanding of the cultural nuances and context. They also have the necessary expertise in the subject matter of the text, whether it be a legal document, a technical instruction manual or a marketing text.

Using machine translation or relying on a non-professional translator can be tempting, but it can also result in costly mistakes. Machine translation can be useful for simple texts where the stakes are low, but it cannot replace the skills and expertise of a human translator.

At COMUNICA, we understand the importance of high-quality translations for businesses of all sizes. Our translators have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide accurate and effective translations for a variety of industries and languages. If you’re in need of professional translation services, contact us today to see how we can help your business succeed on a global scale.