While it is easy enough to communicate on a basic level in a foreign language by learning single words or specific phrases, truly and effectively communicating ideas and concepts requires not only a deep understanding of vocabulary, but also an in-depth knowledge of how to structure and organise words to create a well-rounded statement. Really understanding what a document is trying to communicate requires an understanding of grammar, punctuation, and syntax (as well as no typos or spelling mistakes). And when it comes to meeting a global audience in their native language, proofreading is just as important as the translation itself.
Aside from the process of translation and editing, proofreading (read our article on the differences between editing and proofreading -> here) involves making sure that the content of the translation matches the content of the original material as closely as possible.
Given, most examples of proofreading mistakes are harmless enough – in regular documentation or communication, we likely know what the translation means, if not what it says – but, when it comes to areas such as marketing, contracts, or anything involving specific details, there can be costly errors.
- Typically, airlines are very detail-based companies; however, a single typo in 2006 cost Alitalia Airlines more than USD 7 million: business class tickets were accidentally listed for USD 39, instead of USD 3900, and the company was forced to honour the mistake.
- Defence company Lockheed Martin, while producing military transport for an air force, misplaced a comma related to each aircraft’s price relative to inflation. With the air force refused to correct the mistake, Lockheed reportedly lost USD 70 million because of the error.
- Launching rockets and landing people on the moon, NASA is known for precision; however, even they are not perfect. The Mariner 1 space probe, costing between USD 80-150 million was deliberately destroyed to prevent it accidentally hitting a populated area. The reason for this? A missing hyphen in its guidance software, which would give altered course signals.
As the examples have shown, the price of professional proofreading service can more than pay for itself. So, when looking for a translation service to turn your local voice into a global voice, be sure to seek a provider that, aside from just translation, is willing to assure that what your business wants to say in your own language matches what you want your suppliers or customers to hear in their language.
EVS Translations, for example, goes beyond the DIN ISO 17100:2015 standard – aimed specially at translation service providers – by making it mandatory that all translations are only performed by native speaker translators and proofread by native-speaker linguists responsible for ensuring the highest possible levels of accuracy and consistency for projects within their individual area of expertise.