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3 reasons why a cheap translation agency will damage your brand

Your business is growing well and you plan to reach new markets, but you have to face the linguistic and cultural differences. You do not like to waste your money and you may look for a cost-effective Translation service. However, when we talk about a cheap translation agency, businesses should think about the impact and consequences of choosing a low-cost translation service. Nowadays, you can find free software online or agencies available to translate your project for a very low price. The obvious question for brands should be: “Do they have the right level of knowledge and experience to deliver the work to the highest standard?”

Here are three examples of issues resulting from choosing a cheap translation agency or free translation software.

Something is hidden in cost-effective translation services

At the beginning of 2015, Taco Bell decided to return to Japan. The Japanese media have been all over the Californian fast food chain, but talk has not been about tacos. The quality of website translation was very poor (very common when you use Google Translate). Japanese customers had the chance to eat a ‘Supreme Court Beef’ (originally Crunchwrap Supreme) and delicious ‘low quality chips’ (originally cheesy chips). But, the worst was to come. The slogan, promoting transparency in choosing ingredients, ‘We’ve got nothing to hide’ had been translated into ‘What did we bring here to hide?’

Do you really think that a professional translator would have made such terrible mistakes, endangering the reputation of a client? Taco Bell may have “cleaned” its Japanese website, but the stains remain.

 Low-priced translation agencies mix apples with oranges

The international reputation of your business depends on the way you communicate your messages abroad. Therefore, it relies on the quality of translation. A wrong message or translation can seriously damage the name of your company in a country you are targeting.

Sometimes, cheap Translation Services use non-native speakers of the target language. In these cases, mistakes and mistranslation are very common. It is unbelievable how many big and important companies have suffered from choosing an unreliable and unprofessional language service provider.

In Mexico, the successful campaign “Got Milk” by The American Dairy Association was translated into “Are You Lactating?” and Parker Pens had issues in the same country with the slogan: “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” that became: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. The phrase “Every car has a high quality body” by Ford took a turn for the worst with the translation for the Belgian market: “Every car has a high quality corpse”.

Low-cost translation services mean expensive rebranding

Many companies discovered the damage and eventual costs caused by choosing a cheap translation agency through experience. HSBC had to launch a $10m drive to rebrand its global private banking operations after a mistranslation of one of its campaign slogans. The phrase “Assume Nothing” was translated into “Do Nothing” in many countries. Obviously, this was not so appealing for clients looking for a private bank with expertise in managing money.

It is possible to amend errors, but what it is very difficult is to fix and improve a bad reputation. Translation mistakes can cause costly amendments and losses for your company.

Think twice before choosing a cheap translation service

You should always remember that once the damage is done, it is irreversible, especially if online. With translation services, you get what you pay for. What you may consider a bargain at first, in many cases will be revealed as a rip-off. Cheap translation services can offer very low rates because they do not use professional translators and in some cases, not even native speakers of the target language.

Businesses should not skimp when choosing translation services.

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