Lost in translation: Why as a Dutch person you can't get away with fast translations and need a translation agency
Days are days in Dutch. Whether you're three days in Amsterdam, or three unforgettable ones days experienced, the word remains the same. In French, not the easiest language in the world, things are different. If you are talking about three days as a time indication, you write trois jours. If you want to reflect the experience and emotion of these days, write trois journées.
That's how subtle language is, and not just the French language. Word choices, synonyms, sentence structures and the meaning of words in their specific context – every language has rules, idiosyncrasies and subtleties that influence a text. Small differences and just that one wrong word can mislead the reader. That can be hilarious, but also insulting. With a serious translation agency you avoid both.
A native speaker gives your business text the desired level
Are language errors so bad? The other knows it's not my mother tongue, right? Very or not very much depends on the purpose of a text. In a short e-mail to a business relation you know, small imperfections do not quickly cause damage. With more serious international language traffic, business correspondence, contracts, legal documents, user instructions or a website for the international market, it is better to rely on the language skills and diligence of a native speaker with a proven track record as a translator of business texts.
When I am asked whether I immediately want to write a text in English, French or German, I consistently say no. I manage quite well in English and French – less so in German – but not well enough to write a 100% guaranteed correct text, which the foreign-language reader experiences as perfect and authentic and does not give rise to any hilarity or misunderstandings. My 'no' is always accompanied by a referral to a translation agency where I know business copy is in capable hands.
No compromise on language quality standards
My argument? If you do business internationally, a precondition is that you take your customers, relations and their language and culture seriously. Correct use of language, including distinctive culture-determined subtleties, pleasantries, and terms, shows that we have immersed ourselves in the other person's language and shows respect. It is impossible for me to maintain the high quality standards I set for my own writing style and skills when I write in a language that I do not master one hundred percent and down to the most subtle finesse. You will find the required expertise and quality standards at a translation agency. Translation is a very serious profession. I don't dare, because then my days would soon be numbered.
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