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Did you ever come across obvious translation mistakes - in books, on products or in a public space?

Do you thing that people who discover such mistakes should inform the publisher/owner of the site etc?

In a short period of time, I happened to see translation errors in an online shop, on my cat's food packaging and in book I was reading. It bothers me a bit. Is there any point in trying to report them or will the manufacturer ignore my email anyway...

What do you think?

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I ordered a PS Vita capture kit from Japan at one point and the manual made me laugh a whole week:
(I made everything that's extra funny bold, because it's a lot of text.)

Thanks for purchase and explanation about how to use
Thank you for having you purchase a false fatty tuna capture kit.
It is Katsuki in charge of the support.
The driver installation is not automatic. I become hand-operated.
Please download a driver and the viewer from the following URLs.
(CENSOR)
serial number is (CENSOR)

Please perform the exclusion and adding of the miniUSB cable carefully.
I do not recognize that I treat it violently.
It is broken when I let you reverse it. I look well, and please shine.

When it breaks down, please apply for repair. When I disintegrate by oneself,
I become out of repair, a guarantee object.
[1.an installation method]
Please look for a not clear device in device managers.
Or please look for the device which I skip USB and shine and do it, and is recognized.
Please defrost device driver from the URL that I contacted.
When I connect USB, I click the right button of the not clear device
I appoint driver folder, and please update the driver,
The device appoints a universal birth control troller not an automatic search
Please appoint the folder which the driver downloaded.
[2.a way of the capture]
Please start nPSV_view.exe. When an error is given,
I search DirectX run time from the site of Microsoft, and please download it.
The sound a mini-plug cable from earphone Jack of Nintendo3DS
Please be connected to LineIN of the PC.
It becomes the full screen by double click.

[3 does not start]
Please exclude capture board, all the peripheral devices.
When a screen it distracted, only an upper screen chooses only a lower screen,
and it list persuasion with an error frame; please do it so that there is it.
Please join the connection together to a PC without a USB hub directly.
When it is recognized to be other apparatuses by mistake,
I display the non-indication device in device managers,
Please delete the misrecognizing hardware.
[4 cannot install it]
Look at wiki for http://katsukity.blog123.fc2.com.
In addition, I write it on the following pages in detail.
When http://katsukity.blog123.fc2.com/blog-entry-443.html never goes well; ...
Please send a contact to "(CENSOR)" of Skype.
I cope by remote installation.
The support free on the same day only at the time of the first purchase.
The reinstallation by the PC replacement by purchase has a case to take time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know what you mean, whenever there is a manual with a spanish section, there's always multiple mistakes, its almost like they didn't bothered to look it up in google. Now that I have gained some better English understanding I realize they used a  bad translator because the mistakes are usually literal translations that make no sense at all. Don't even bother I don't think they care.

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As we've already seen from Blaveloper, Japanese is sloppy when it comes to correcting blatant translation mistakes. You would think that with all they spend on translation, they would hire proofreaders too.  

I've seen some sad English to French translations that goes along these lines: http://www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/26-hilarious-titles-of-hollywood-movies-in-france#.joY405x0r

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English spelling errors are not uncommon unfortunately, but kinda makes you feel nice knowing that your English is better. You can try to send an email to the developer/manufacturer and so on, but in most cases they won't waste more money to produce new labels/packages just because "eggs" is written with double "g", for example.

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Sometimes I see a translation from English into my native language and I can literally guess what was the original sentence like exactly or almost exactly. Why it all happens? That reason is simple. Some people tend to translate word by word with no editing. To me, that's not the way an interpreter should work. At least the one who seeks high quality.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are so many translation mistakes I have come across but I just think since English is not their first language, the mistake can pass.

It would be more ideal for people to invest more in translators than being tagged illiterate because of mistakes. Not everyone forgives translation mistakes.

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A few months ago, I was reading a book by Ian Flemming, one of the James Bond series. I remember how stunned I was that I not only found there translation mistakes (I recognized them as a lot of expression from English are translated different into Romanian, there they were just mot a mot translated), but I have also found very bad grammatical errors in Romanian, errors which are not admissible at all for a person who graduated high school. The book was released few weeks ago, so what could I have done then? I did not think anyone else would care so I did nothing, but if you happen to find such errors in a book, look at the last page and first to see, because there somewhere must be the translator name, after that, search him on google and you might find him, try and contact him about the mistakes.

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  • 1 month later...

In my opinion, I would want it to be rectified but as you asked, will the manufacturer bother to fix things like those? It would be best on their part to do so and it would help to prevent both workers and customers from mistaking the wrong wording for the correct way of writing or speaking. I also notice these occurrences from time to time and it's rather annoying when you know what it should be. 

I think that it might work if it's a group effort. If majority of the customers or so highlight the issue to the appropriate persons then they would be forced to address it but if it's a one-man-approach then you might be unlucky in getting it fixed.

Who knows, maybe they don't even have an editor within the company so the packaging comes out sloppy and that speaks greatly to their marketing department if you ask me. Maybe you could get the job?! B)

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I think the mistakes happen when these things are translated from english and then translated back in to the tongue they were translated from originally. This breeds mistakes (in our eye) as some people view different words more suitable for certain situations depending on where they live and how they've been brought up. However, I have noticed some mistakes even on sites like aftonbladet and nyheter (Swedish news sites by native swedes).

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  • 1 month later...

When I was in high school we had an essay in our English course.The essay listed many translation mistake. Here is one of my favorite.
Indian President goes to Germany and German Chancellor says who are you (He actually meant how are you).
I have seen translation mistakes on Chinese products. Some of the mistakes are funny where as some of the mistakes are vulgar. 

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The translation mistakes bother me more in certain applications, such as in books like stories or poems. Such mistakes can throw a storyline off, using the wrong translation for clichés & quotes. 

 

My other, even bigger peeve, are the incomprehensible instructions or directions for a product or service maunal purchased. Many electronics sold in the USA are now manufactured everywhere but the USA. Like in Blaveloper's case,  the instructions are comical are in some cases in no way helpful. 

I purchased a rear view camera for a vehicle recently. One side of a sheet of paper covered 4 entire  installations, which by the way, did not mention my model at all.   Here's a few of their installation directions:

1. Dedicated camera installation do not install the map on drilling screws.  ???

2.  Power cord to connect the camera lights down power lines, red is black negative voltage 12v. ???

In my opinion, manufacturers no longer care about satisfying the customer or making the customer happy, especially once money is exchanged. To me it's apparent that bad reviews or complaints do not make an impact either. The manufacturers merely change the brand names, & most consumers are unaware. 

I apologize for my lengthy post. Rant over. Lol :D

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Here's another one:

12094994_959282487461759_726316192794561

 

Note the Dutch translation.
For those who don't speak Dutch:
"Here you go, the translation. I hope it's OK this time. Have a nice evening".

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  • 4 weeks later...

I agree that the misuse of words can alter the gist or intention of the literature like in stories or instructions. Words can change an entirely different situation and that leads to misunderstandings and we don't want that. However, at the same time, it's natural for us humans to make mistakes so what we should try our best to do is learn the languages properly before using them. Get help if you need to and don't be lazy or sloppy just because you can. You'll only look silly in the end.

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There is a bigger sin, I believe, and is something that I catch once in a while when I am reading translated text, this is not exactly a mistake but it certainly makes the final product less appealing: the literal translation of an idiom from one language to another. The correct way to do this, in my opinion, would be to use an equivalent idiom from the other language, because the literal thing makes no sense in the other language and actually comes across as weird!

I see this a lot of times with movie subtitles as literally translations of novels are usually more "serious", almost more "academic" work if you will, but I've seen some terrible literal translation to Spanish subtitles while watching american sitcoms.

If you are a professional translator, please, don't do this, don't take the literal route and find an equivalent idiom, this is exactly what separates you from a machine, your knowledge of the slang and subtle idioms from both languages.

 

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I encounter translation mistakes most of the time, from products I buy to subtitles in a movie or show. I usually just smile about it and sometimes I would even laugh it out but if you really come to think about it in a professional way, it could sometimes impact a business or a company in a very negative way. Wrong translations could turn off some customers or patrons of a product because they could give people a sense of unprofessionalism on the part of the business or company. A very big company or business is expected to have a very good translator because people know that they could afford to hire someone with high professionalism when it comes to languages.

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I can understand bad translations - it indicates that the translator lacks the knowledge or that they've resorted to an automated translation. What I cannot understand is when there is a difference in numbers - for example I've seen instructions of fireworks advising different safety distances or a booking website advising different occupancy in the hotel room in different languages. I don't understand why a translator would change the number....

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1 minute ago, Milanina said:

I can understand bad translations - it indicates that the translator lacks the knowledge or that they've resorted to an automated translation. What I cannot understand is when there is a difference in numbers - for example I've seen instructions of fireworks advising different safety distances or a booking website advising different occupancy in the hotel room in different languages. I don't understand why a translator would change the number....

Lol, that's pretty questionable, better yet it's actually hilarious to me. Why would you do that? Only they would know what they meant.

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I have encountered bad translation on products before.  Truthfully it does not bother me that much, due to the fact that it is probably wrong becasue the company is not familiar with the language.  Is it right to translate something wrong and put on a product, no probably not but I feel like they are not doing on purpose.

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I have bought some spycams from China and Hongkong from Ebay, and as you would have guessed, they are not fluently translated, and you have to use your common sense in figuring it out. The translation is not as horrendous as blaveloper's manual and it's still understandable, but you know that China has still a long way to go in being fluent in English, as compared to my country where most people can speak and understand English fluently.

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Once I saw a tagline in a Chinese brand noodles that read "This is good slut for you" I don't know what Chinese word was translated as slut in English, however, I am sure the translator did not know what slut actually meant in English. Translation mistakes can led you to grave problems.

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Well I got a pretty good laugh here because it immediately reminded of a lousy textbook that we used in high school for one of my Spanish classes and the teacher was always mocking and making fun of the book because it had so many mistakes.  It was kind of sad, though, because there was just no room in the budget for new textbooks and I know that they used these ones for at least two or three years, which might have resulted in some poorly-speaking people my age out there right now.  I hope they have better ones there now.

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