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Costly Translation Errors: What cost can you put on a product that kills Article bY Japanese Translation Agency

The answer is you can’t!

Mistranslations: Prostrate cancer kills

The death of 3 men from an overdose of x-ray radiation undergoing treatment for prostate cancer at the Epinal hospital in Lorraine, France is linked to a translation error. This tragic incident occurred between May 6, 2004, and August 1, 2005 because the hospital’s personnel, lacking a manual in French, relied on multilingual staff to translate the English-language operating manual.

Of course, being multi-lingual is not the same as being a professional translator.

I’m going to jump the gun here and get to the message:

In translation, you get what you pay for.

So, DON’T try to skimp on translation when quality is paramount. (In fact, there are very few instances when translation quality is NOT paramount!)

But, what about the cost of translation errors in products and services?

You can bet the hospital was sued silly for providing a killer service! Like most cases where a product or service causes loss, the monetary figure is kept under wraps by court order, confidentiality agreement, or by company policy. However, putting a figure on this will bring the true cost of translation errors into sharp relief, right?

That’s where COPQ (cost of poor quality) provides us a good reference point. Research has shown the COPQ for most companies, including manufacturing and service, is in the range of 25-40 % of operating expenses! Now, when combined with translation industry research showing 80% of international businesses lose revenue due to translation errors I’m sure you’re beginning to understand just how costly translation errors can be...

It’s a no brainer -- Use professional Japanese translation to cut your translation costs!

If you believe you have the best translation blooper ever, then share it! Let our readers put it to the vote to find out if you really have the best translation error of all time! Simply contact us with the details, and we’ll post your blooper on our translation &DISCUSS blog.

About the Author
Ivan Vandermerwe is the CEO of SAECULII YK, owner of the Tokyo based Japanese Translation Agency Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services

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Tags: Japanese Translation Agency · Japanese Translation Services · Translation Agency Japan · Translation Articles · Translation costs, price and rates · Translation errors · Translation quality · Translation Services Japan · Translation Services Tokyo

3 &DISCUSS response(s)

  • 1 » Akiko Akiya (2012-09-23)

    What a tragedy!! When limb and life is an issue (as is often the case in medical services), there is no substitution for quality, professional translation.
  • 2 » Y.Kagami (2012-09-28)

    What a simple but horrible translation error! However, it could happen everywhere and it happens more often than people think. Speaks volumes for doing the job properly...with professional translation!
  • 3 » Mayuko N (2012-10-23)

    Shocking.. Yeah we've got to make sure we have the right people translating something like this.