Can mistranslation be prevented?

Can mistranslation be prevented

Can mistranslation be prevented?

Translating needs adequate or even broader knowledge about linguistic systems and an understanding of the content that needs translation. Translation mistakes can occur, requiring more than a simple change of words. Translating also means analyzing and interpreting the context and variations of every word, phrase, or sentence and their intricacies. Common mistakes can happen in complex content like scientific papers, learning manuals, dubbing, and subtitles.

For starters, one needs to know the common mistranslation issues and their solutions.

Common Mistranslation Issues

Translators need to be vigilant of these common errors. This is one way to identify them and provide solutions to a mistranslation quickly.


When you do a literal content translation, the output might not make much sense.

Over translation and under translation

Under translation happens when you oversimplify or convey less than the source without naturally considering the loss of meaning with translations. Over translation is the opposite. It refers to adding some elements that are not present in the source. Doing these two increases the risk of making authors say things that they never meant to say in the first place.

Word for word translation

When you do a literal content translation, the output might not make much sense. Translation involves translating the source document without altering the content’s message. Some languages might have different adjective placements or subject-verb agreement rules. In other languages, inanimate objects might need gender assignment, which is not the norm in English. It can also be possible that gender assigned in both languages differs.

One good example is the German language. Instead of the motherland, they use the fatherland. Idiomatic expressions may not be translated close to the source text if not dealt with carefully.

Working in languages you are not proficient in

You can never share what you do not have. This is also fitting when translating documents. A translator has to be proficient in the languages they’re translating from and translating to. This way, they will give utmost justice to the output. Incompetence in both aspects leads to translation mistakes and can affect future translation opportunities.

Incorrect style

Every document has a distinct scripting style. Unfamiliarity with the appropriate style leads to disastrous document output. You cannot use the same style when translating legal documents and medical transcripts, as each document has its respective style.


Ineffective communication

When translators communicate poorly with their clients, there is a higher probability of misunderstandings on each side that leads to a mistranslation. Translators might not understand the concrete requirements, and clients may not fully realize the translators’ constraints.

How to avoid a mistranslation?

Minimize the use of machine translator

When companies present a poorly translated document for official transactions, readers might lose trust in the business or can be misguided. This leaves potential clients less than thrilled and frustrated with the company’s ability to provide services if they are not capable of delivering a professional document.

Utilizing fun, free online translators are excellent for quick translations such as comments on social media pages from foreign customers. However, when looking for translation quality, you should leave it to professional translators.

Research and investigate

Use several sources like the internet to learn the most popular and common colloquialisms used in that language. Besides this, it is necessary to familiarize the commonly used dialects. This will give translators fair ideas when translating.


The best translator ensures understanding of the content or document thoroughly.

Besides the language, soak in the country’s culture through magazines, TV shows, movies, and books. These media platforms will significantly help recognize dialects and local culture.


Choose your niche

Any translator needs to focus their knowledge on a specific niche. It can be a handful if one decides to be a jack of all trades. They can choose one or two subjects, familiarize themselves with these subjects, and be experts in them. Along the process, translators should familiarize complex words usually used in their subject area and learn translations.

Hire a professional translator

Hiring human translators will not be enough for complex and lengthy documents. Going for experienced professionals is ideal as they can provide excellent content writing services and assure text accuracy. Quality providers of translation services are experts in their respective niches allowing them to cater to specific jargon translations. Their industry expertise will carry and translate across informational insights. Apart from being fluent in the language, professional translators are also well-versed in the audience’s culture. They can use the appropriate slang and local idioms, handle sensitive topics culturally, and reference nuances based on the local culture.

Provide a concise and comprehensive source material

Translating itself is already taxing. However, source materials that are not concise and proofread can leave too much room for possible errors. Clients need to provide concise documents for translation to give translators optimum freedom to do their best with precision. It is also essential to provide more useful details like the tone of the material. The good thing about professional translators is their ability to translate based on the client’s desired tone.

Ensure quality outputs with the best translator

The best translator ensures understanding of the content or document thoroughly. Upon understanding the clients’ preferences, the writers will do their best to translate it to appeal to the target audience that reads the document.

Circle Translations is the top technical translation company that also accommodates and specializes in providing subtitle translations produced by technical writers with optimum skills and expertise in technical subject fields. We are one of the few translations agencies with the expertise and capabilities to do technical translations in more than 120 languages with a vast range of services, including material sciences, civil engineering, physics, chemical engineering, electronic engineering, and other industry specializations.