FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Mannheim, September 2016) More than 70 percent of all translated texts for German small and medium-sized businesses show serious quality defects – this is the result of a study recently concluded by flexword Translators & Consultants. Between March and July 2016, the language service provider with its headquarters in Mannheim, Baden-Württemburg, reviewed classic reference texts such as financial statements, product catalogues, websites and press releases from 100 small and medium-sized businesses between Stuttgart and Hamburg and assessed them using various categories:
A team of native speakers and specialist translators from flexword carried out the study in the second quarter of 2016 following scientific methods in meticulous analytical work. 100 small and medium-sized international and thus multilingual companies from a variety of sectors ranging from plant construction and furniture manufacturers through to cement and construction equipment industries were initially selected. Two text samples with between 2,000 and 10,000 characters were then chosen from each company and reviewed according to the specified criteria. “We looked at the typical errors for translation failure so that we could have a neutral and meaningful picture. In the end, 72 percent did not pass the test,” says Goranka Miš-Čak.
Non-native speakers and factual errors
The rate of careless mistakes, typing and so-called typesetting errors was particularly serious. All of the text samples that failed contained these types of errors, which usually do not have major consequences, but nevertheless lack the accuracy required as far as language is concerned. Goranka Miš-Čak comments on how “such supposedly minor errors can happen, were frequent, but are particularly damaging to the company’s image and are often in complete contrast to the philosophy and claims of these actually global companies.” As flexword sees it, such errors are generally an indication of inaccurate translations that were carried out under time and cost restraints by service providers that have no or low quality standards. Somewhat less frequent but even more alarming was the number of translations with linguistic flaws. These were found in 91 percent of the unsatisfactory text samples. It was plain to see that particularly in English and French, it was obvious that the translations had not been carried out by native speakers. Another reason for such errors is also often due to the undifferentiated use of machine translation tools that now make the work easier but lead to blatant linguistic flaws and content-related distortions when used incorrectly and without certified translators.
Incorrect translations are the most serious type of errors
The type of errors with the most serious consequences were also found in 79 percent of all failed texts: incorrect translations or a lack of technical language (register). The latter relates to errors that result from incorrect translations of established terminology, as is often the case in the financial world for example. For these text components, it is necessary to have native speaker competence as well as specialist knowledge. According to Goranka Miš-Čak, “such errors are typical if the translations are carried out by laypeople. They are not noticed at first, but can have fatal consequences, for example if complex clauses in contracts were not interpreted correctly or product characteristics were simply written incorrectly. By giving these translations to certified translation service providers that guarantee high quality standards and exclusively use native speakers for the translations and experts for special texts, it helps to rule out such errors.”
Excellent texts too
Despite all the negative results from the test, a lot of positive aspects also came to light. This is because it also means that almost a third of all translations were clean and correct. Goranka Miš-Čak further states that “we were completely convinced of the level of quality of the texts that passed and it showed us that experts had worked on these texts. We ourselves have found out that larger small and medium-sized companies in particular are learning today how important it is to have flawless texts to be able to operate on an international level. Unfortunately, there is still a large number of companies that need to catch up.”
flexword Translators & Consultants:
flexword Translators & Consultants, headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, with offices located in USA, England and Serbia, is one of Germany’s leading professional language service providers. Its director is Goranka Miš-Čak, a qualified translator, who founded the company in 1992. Flexword was one of the first translation providers to be certified to EN 15038 for translation services. This makes flexword the top provider among the high-quality service providers.
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PDF download here: Text quality study among 100 German small and medium-sized businesses