English into Swedish translation
Swedes have been blessed with extensive exposure to the English language through both media and education, and they are often lauded as being among the best non-native speakers in the world. This certainly has its benefits when it comes to international business, with Swedes being able to interact freely without the use of interpreters, but it also leads to false confidence in matters of translation.
The dangers of Do-it-Yourself
It can be tempting to take your English into Swedish translation into your own hands. Perhaps you know a native Swedish speaker with an excellent grasp of the English language, who is willing to do your translation for free. As professional translators and proofreaders can attest, this is often disastrous for your company.
When companies do their own English into Swedish translation, the resulting translation often lacks the flow and feel of native speech. Amateur translators have a tendency to imitate the source text. The result is a Swedish text with English grammar and English turns of phrase that sound foreign or forced to the Swedish ear. Such translations also typically follow English rules of punctuation and capitalisation, making the final text appear unprofessional.
Amateurs often don’t realise how little they know. It’s easy to overestimate someone’s ability. Your amateur translator may have excellent conversational fluency in English, but can they pick up on important subtext, including cultural references and connotations? Can they translate wordplay? Can they identify the tone of voice in an English text and replicate it in Swedish in a way that is appropriate to a Swedish audience?
These considerations are particularly important for all texts aimed at the public, partners and investors, because such mistakes erode trust in your brand.
Losing money with free English into Swedish translation
Machine translation has made big strides over the past few years, but machines still have a long way to go in understanding and imitating human languages. This is particularly true of the free translation tools available online. It can be tempting to use free machine translation to save money. After all, it’s both faster and cheaper to pay for post-editing of a machine translation than to pay for the full translation package.
Unfortunately, the resulting translation is often unsalvageable. The client often ends up paying more for a slow and painstaking editing process than the cost of a complete professional translation.
A professional translator not only speaks your language; they speak your culture. Professional translation is about much more than replacing English words with Swedish ones — it transforms your text to a native-sounding text, with its feet firmly in the appropriate cultural context.