When you get your source language wrong …

We usually complain about documents being poorly translated because the person who did that translation has not enough knowledge of the target language to translate it efficiently. It is a problem and it happens very often.

But what happens when you get the source language wrong?!

Well, if you’re dealing with a professional translator, they would probably identify the problem and would correct it without any prejudice to the integrity of your document. But again, if you’re not dealing with a professional, it might get you in serious trouble.

Every week, I publish information about words that might be confusing, both in Portuguese and in English in my Team’s Forum and Facebook page. It has been quite a positive experience since people come to us and comment on it and even ask their own questions. Today, I was explaining two homophone words that are usually confused. These words were two verbs, Cozer (to cook, to boil) and Coser (to sew, to stitch). After publishing my post, one of my colleagues replied saying he once read “stitched codfish” instead of “cooked codfish”, on the menu of a restaurant in Lisbon.

This is a great example of the trouble people might get into, for trying to do something they are not qualified for, or hiring someone who has no qualifications for that job. I’m sure the tourists who read that must have had a good laugh, and they probably kept asking the waiters if it was stuffed codfish, so that was the reason to be “stitched” or they kept asking themselves why would the Portuguese stitch the codfish.

And this is just a simple example of what can happen …

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s