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Rookie Translation Mistakes

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

No matter how beautiful your translation, there are certain errors, most often made by someone just starting out in the trade, that will peg your work as “rookie level.” Most of us are guilty of one or more of these seemingly innocent, yet disastrous mistakes. This article will hopefully point out a few of these

Literal translations— This is something that people just learning the source language are more prone to, but even the most seasoned translators can be guilty of this. One sample translation of a comic strip that I saw translated the English greeting “What’s up” as “¿Qué está arriba?” Don’t do this.

Changing the format— Don’t change the font color, don’t combine paragraphs and try to make your tables and images as similar to the originals as possible.


Accepting a job you are not prepared for– It can be tempting to take any project that crosses your path when you are just starting out in the translation field and hungry for work, but when the client complains that all the legal, medical or engineering terms are wrong, you’ll see why this is not a good idea.


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