How to avoid the ‘oops’ factor…

Jul 26, 2012 | Translation

The activities surrounding the 2012 Olympics have brought into sharp focus how careful we must be when dealing with international cultures. Yesterday’s embarrassing mistake with the North Korean football team and South Korean flag has proved how important it is to check, check and check again, particularly if it has the potential to cause a major international incident!

Another embarrassing mistake was spotted at a London shopping centre where huge banners were suspended from the ceilings, welcoming visitors from all over the world. A great idea, but what a shame no-one thought it was worth the effort to get the banners checked before they were put on display… The Arabic letters were not joined up, and back to front! So instead of “Welcome to London”, they proclaimed “N O D N O L O T E M O C L E W”. An easy mistake to make if you don’t speak or read Arabic, but one that’s just as easy to avoid. The error has been blamed on software, rather than the translation, but this is really no excuse; just get a human to check it after it has been typeset  – preferably a native speaker. Even just a quick glance from an Arabic speaker would have spotted this particular mistake before it was shown to the world. Likewise the ‘nonsensical’ train poster produced by First Capital Connect which was blamed on the wrong alphabet being used.

At First Edition Translations, all our highly professional, experienced and qualified translators translate exclusively into their mother-tongue. This not only ensures linguistic excellence, but also the cultural aspect which is so important. As well as translation and interpreting, we also offer checking, proof-reading and editing to make sure that your well-intentioned communication gets the right message across and elicits the right response.

Sources:       http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18971686
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18911599