20. August 2018

Why You Should Always Let a Pro Translate For You

by Jessica Havenith in German , Englisch , English , German , Translation , Übersetzung 0 comments

This article is about English texts which have obviously been translated into German by a program. I have translated them back to English in a way that it looks similar to what it looks like in German to show how unprofessional they look.

I can make even a faulty English sentence sound beautiful. Often, I have been on the internet and saw the sellers’ replies to reviews or questions in regards to broken items and alike. Especially Chinese companies seem to answer using a translation made by a program. They often turn out quite interesting.
Here an example (personal information has been removed):

English Translation of the bad German translation:

Dear (masculine) Ladies and Gentlemnear Ladies and Gentlemn
Many thanks for your orders and you are taking time for a comment.If you are under these situation, we could understand the feeling, 
But it is no worry, will [company] promise customer a good after-sales protection give. If you have any unsatisfaction with the (wrong article) bought product, you could choose, within 12 months to refund, or new product to exchange.We are obliged on the engagement for customer high quality of the productes (wrong plural) and good service.Cordially (wrong end) thanks for, you granting [company] support.
Please click on the below standing link or send an email to [address] with your order number and detailed questions? (question mark) We will be responsible for solving the problem. (This sentence is never used in German and sounds strange.)

We are waiting for your contact.
Kind regards,
[company]-support team
(In German “support” or “Kundendienst” is used.)

(The grey text is me explaining mistakes
that can not be shown in English.)

Original German translation by a program:

Sehr geehrter Damen und Herrnehr geehrter Damen und Herrn
Vielen Dank für Ihren Bestellungen und nehmen Sie sich Zeit für ein Kommentar.Wenn Sie unter diese Situation stehen, konnten wir Ihres Gefühl verstehen,
Doch ist es keine Sorge, werden [Firma] Versprechen Kunden eine gute After-Sales-Schutz geben. Wenn Sie mit das gekaufte Produkt irgendeine Unzufriedenheit haben, könnten Sie wählen, innerhalb von 12 Monaten zu erstatten, oder neues Produkt zu tauschen.Wir sind auf das Engagement für Kunden hochwertige Qualität der Produkten und guten Service verpflichtet. Herzlichen Danke dafür, dass Sie [Firma] Unterstützung gewähren.

Bitte klicken Sie auf den unten stehenden Link oder senden Sie eine E-Mail an [Adresse] mit Ihrer Bestellnummer und detaillierten Fragen? Wir werden für die Lösung des Problems verantwortlich sein.

Wir warten auf Ihren Kontakt.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

It’s self explanatory that this (almost arbitrary) translation doesn’t scream integrity. However, it is great for a laugh.

Other Examples of Translations by Programs:

Die Geschichte von Vampir kommt von Tier, was ist das?

(transl.: The story of vampire come from animal, what is that?)

– ad of a quiz-app

lässt das Foto schöne Melodie

(transl.: lets the photo pretty melody)

– subtitle of an app on the App Store

Erfolgreich Beschwerden.

Die E-Mail-Adresse wurde Beschwerden von zukünftigen E-Mail-Marketing-Nachrichten.

(transl.: Successful Claims.

The email address was claims of future email-marketing-messages.)

– on a website after ending a newsletter subscription

On my Hall of Shame site (German) I have listed other such mistakes.
My favorite translation mistake of all time is the “forest toad soup.” I often think of it and laugh. What they meant was “cream of mushroom soup.”
It still puzzles me how one could think of “forest toad soup” when translating “cream of mushroom soup.”

P.S.: Why I don’t name the sources of the mistakes: I don’t want to denigrate the companies who make the mistakes. But they are out there and I use them as examples anonymously.