Ana de la Cuesta Gerlach, B.A., M.M.
The Importance of Quality TranslationsBoth examples above are taken from actual commercials on a Spanish TV network. In Example 1, a jewelry buying service comes across as a fly-by-night operator because the Spanish used in its translation is grammatically wrong. In Example 2, a company that wishes to minimize losses in the process of going out of business advertises that it "is closed" rather than that it "will be closing". Of course, educated viewers will figure out what is really meant, but the impression of incompetence conveyed will undermine the message the ads aim to send.
In either case, would the company that placed the ad have done so if it had known what exactly it was getting? Of course not. But the company didn't know, because it used inexperienced translators and/or failed to exercise quality control.
The fact is, Americans tend to be naive about language translations. Typically with few language skills of their own, they regard translation as basically a technical process, more of a science than an art. It doesn't occur to them that someone who is functionally bilingual -- e.g., a first-generation American who speaks his or her parents' native language as well as fluent colloquial English -- might not do good English-to-Spanish translations. The fact is, it takes a well educated native speaker of Spanish to be sure that such translations accurately reflect the intent and nuances of the original English.
Ana Gerlach Will Bring the Quality You NeedSpecializing in commercial advertising and other relatively short texts, Ana will gladly provide free quotations for translations or quality-control editing. Just email the text to her (using the address email@example.com) and provide a telephone number where you can be reached. And please try to avoid requesting an immediate turn-around for your job. A translation that has gone through a careful editing process will be superior to one done in haste.
© Gerlach Enterprises, 2017