Common Issues and Fundamental Causes in Tech Translations
We interact with a variety of tech products and services made by global providers every day, making translation quality of utmost importance. However, few manufacturers truly prioritize tech translation, leading to numerous errors or inappropriate translation outcomes for the target audience of tech-savvy users.
Translation of tech products and services, including hardware, software, websites, and user interfaces, is an essential yet often neglected area.
The importance of this topic lies in the fact that users interact with these translated works daily; the computers, smartphones, and various tech products and services you use every day need to communicate with you through vast amounts of text, making them easy to use.
Good translation or “transcreation” (emphasizing conveying meaning rather than being restricted by literal translation) not only allows users to understand quickly but also reduces the need for customer service and helps shape a product, service, or brand’s image as one that values user experience.
However, in my experience, few manufacturers truly prioritize tech translation, leading to numerous errors or inappropriate translation outcomes.
Not finding the right person for the job
Many foreign hardware and software manufacturers don’t handle interface translation in-house but outsource to a large translation agency for a “package deal” covering various products and language versions. These agencies often employ less-experienced translators to cut costs, resulting in confusing users.
For example, as a former community manager for a large global community service, I’ve seen an outrageous mistake: in the blog admin panel, the term “moderate” for managing comments was translated as “medium” rather than “manage.”
The problem arises from the dual meanings of “moderate”: when used as a verb, it means “manage” or “adjust,” but as an adjective, it means “medium” or “mild.” The translator apparently did not…