It’s been a long time since All Your Base Are Belong To Us tore through social media channels to become one of the most beloved memes of the Internet age and one of the prime examples of translation gone wrong. Really, there’s no reason for you to cue up your company’s brand to be its grand successor.
It keeps happening though. Someone at a company decides that, yes, saving an extra buck or two on translation costs may be the extra buck or two tacked on to their Christmas bonus. So, yeah, cost savings! Maybe by using Google Translate. Or maybe by pushing the work to Moravia Blog”>Little Johnny, the neighbor’s French-speaking college kid. But this may just trash your well-developed brand reputation.
How do we know?
Your “quality assurance” process is showing … badly
So they think translation automation is awesome. So awesome that you just push a button and away it goes from desktop to store counter.
Well, take a look at this picture.
That’s the picture taken by an angry consumer of an international brand’s product marketing. You just called his daughter the R-word and, oops, you really meant to use the French word for late.
Don’t be … late. It only takes one angry consumer with a camera these days to remind you that language quality assurance actually can save your business’s butt from the hot lashing of social media.
As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, remarked:
"If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends."
Remember, a professional translation and localization agency provides more services than just translation. These are just the kind of moments they’re hired for. Sure, native speaking translators are important, but so too are the others who guide the project from preparation of source text, through translation, on to editing and proofreading, and then through quality assurance processes that can include linguists, DTP specialists, and subject matter experts all of whom know the local market natively.
Don’t take our blog’s teasing tone as “it’s all fun and games.” We’re talking real dollars here. And any company may end up having to pay for an expensive “I’m sorry” campaign and some product destruction that would have been funds better spent on pulling in some language quality assurance specialists in advance.
Even Google made a video to tell you to just stop already
Did they use Google Translate? It’s not like we haven’t warned enough that Moravia Blog”>machine translation is something to handle with care and intelligence. See the video below from Google reminding users that there are good and bad ways to use the product.
In it, Google’s John Mueller answers a question about unique domains, subdomains, and other options for displaying multilingual content via localized websites. He makes an aside to talk specifically about auto-translated website content. Most notably, he mentions how some make the worst of it:
There are a lot of people who might think, oh, I'll just automatically translate my content into 40 different languages. And now 40 different language markets can all read what I have to say. I'm making clear right now that our guidelines (Google SEO guidelines) about auto-generated stuff can also apply to auto-translated text. If you're searching in French and you show up on a page that's been completely auto-translated and it doesn't even read well at all and no one has put any kind of human care into proofreading it or making sure that it flows that's really a bad experience.
We completely agree with John here. Post-editing of machine translated text as well as complete marketing translation (or Moravia Blog”>transcreation) will provide a better experience for your site’s visitors and underscore the value of your brand.
Of course, you’d know that already if you were entrusting your brand to a language service provider who has experience with multilingual SEO. But whether for website content or other vital, customer-facing materials, it’s high time that you made a wise investment in professional translation and localization. Really.