Trusting The Translator

If you’ve ever travelled to a country where your native language is not the main language spoken, you might have had a couple of the experiences I’m about to describe.

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I used to travel internationally on business to places where English is not the first language and even though my business counterparts spoke reasonably good English I always found it helpful to have a translator available.  Of course there’s always the temptation – one to which I succumbed a couple of times – to pick up a few key phrases in the other language and assume that you can get by.  Big mistake, as are most of the digital ways one can change languages.

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling on business or for pleasure.  Having someone around who can interpret is a big advantage.  Unless, of course, they’re not trustworthy.  It is an absolute imperative that you be able to trust that the translator is giving you an accurate interpretation   In fact, I’ve been in situations where it was assumed I didn’t speak the local language and what was being said was something that would never have been said to me in English (that only happened as a tourist, fortunately).  A translator who hides what’s being said can be a disaster.

The same can be said about the fool who learns a few phrases and has no clue about their use.  Anyone who really speaks the language will see right through that or, even worse, they’ll take advantage of the fact that you clearly don’t understand what the words mean even though you can pronounce them well.

I’ve run into both of these situations domestically as well and so have you.  You might have needed a translator to interpret technical information into English so you can make a business decision.  Maybe you’ve needed to make a choice about how to build a site or an app.  Your IT people, your designers, your coders – they all speak a language you don’t, and if they give you a bad translation, you’re doomed.  The same is true of accountants, lawyers, and others.

Then there are those people who ask questions containing some “foreign” words”   – CPM, CTR, CPC, bounces  – or other terms.  They ask questions as if they’ll understand the answer  but the very nature of their question proves they don’t have a clue about the topic.  If you answer them with more jargon – foreign words – you’re just making the misunderstanding worse.  Translating it all back into English for them – without embarrassing them of course – is the right course of action.

If you can’t trust your translator, you’re going to have a rough trip, whether it’s overseas or right here at home as your do business.  Hai capito?

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