About the Author: SLB Admin

This blog post talks about the importance of perfectly translated texts, and also how poor translations can negatively affect your business. Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona has a great team of professional translators at your disposal. If you would like to talk to us about translating a web page, proofreading an internally translated document, or reviewing your website for translation errors, style issues, or simple readability, please get in touch with the SLB team.


If a family and a cat become fortunate, you will take a commemorative photo! Therefore, please photo your cat lovelily with much trouble.

(31/05/2014) Quote from http://www.petoffice.co.jp/catprin/english/



We’re all aware that there’s lots of poor translation on the internet, some of it’s funny, and some of it’s not. At the end of the day, the last thing you want is for your website to end up as a joke on www.Engrish.com – or equivalent.

In most cases poor translation jobs are the result of an inexperienced translator who has taken on a job, done their best, but ultimately hasn’t delivered the results. The SLB team firmly believe that it is always best to invest in quality, rather than taking a chance on a junior employee, or someone with a high, but not perfect, level of English.

It’s true that in a few cases poor translation will have little effect on the sales success and profitability of a business. For example, if you are a person wanting to dress up your cat and take cute photos, perhaps you’re not too concerned about some awkward phrasings and mistranslations.

However, in the majority of other cases, poorly translated websites and documents can truly damage the reputation of a company—potentially having lasting effects on the strength of the business.

You might well find that people are much more forgiving in a conversation – we have all sorts of visual clues, and we tend to trust people even if their second language ability is under par. A strong accent and a few misplaced words are okay by most reasonable people.

Unfortunately, when it comes to reading a poorly written text, people tend to be a lot harsher in their judgements. There are some reasons for this:

  1. It appears as though the company is unable to invest in their image. The question is – why? Is the company not successful enough
  2. Mediocre copy and translation is a poor reflection on the quality of the services the company provides.

True, quality copy is not a guarantee of a quality service, but poor quality copy may well give some indication of the company’s approach. If you’ve ever been to a restaurant with a terrible bathroom, perhaps you’ll know what I’m talking about.

As I’ve already said, spending hard earned money on translation is not a cost, it is an investment.

The thing is, good translation is invisible. You don’t want your clients, or potential clients, to notice a good translation –no, instead, you want them to read your content, understand your message, and follow your calls to action.

If the clients are stuck on poor grammar, awkward style (whether too formal or informal), jumbled syntax, and simple vocabulary errors, they are going to judge your business quite harshly—and they may well not trust your business expertise. Investing in your translation is an investment in your brand, and will always reflect very positively on your business, and on the quality of your services.

I’ll leave you with 10 mistranslations compiled by the Huffington post.

The team of translators at SLB are at your disposal for any translation work your company requires. Also, if you would like us to review your website, or any other translated documents you are concerned about, again please get in touch with the SLB team.

So now, in the slightly awkward words of Ana Botella, I’m off for a “relaxing cup of  Café con leche in the plaza.”

Thanks for reading,





Leave A Comment

  1. Janine 7 June 2014 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hi Neil, I searched for your website after your comment by Nicola Prentis. ‘Thumbs Up’ for starting a collaborative team to tackle a huge problem in teaching spheres. Great! :) And great to know teachers are joining forces against working conditions such as underearning and unsocial hours.

    I’d like to give an additional perspective to your article above.

    It’s not uncommon that teachers are expected to do small translations as a favour. Such translation work can harbour unsought dangers. And it’s not just the lost income I’m talking about, for often the favour gets out of hand. On my website there is another perspective to translating that teachers (those who are not qualified and trained to do translation work) should be made aware of. IMHO

    ‘Please Do Not Feed The Animals!’ can be read here:


    • teamslb 8 June 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Janine and thanks very much for your support. We agree that very often teachers are exploited for their willingness to help. It’s not only translations, but other things like helping students write CVs or cover letters (i.e. when this is outside the specific learning objectives of the group being taught). It can be difficult to say no, but when teachers are usually already doing more than they are paid to do, we feel strongly that a line should be drawn!

      Thanks for the article link and good luck with your website. It would be good one day to compare notes on conditions for freelance teachers in France and Spain.