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How not to ruin your brand image with a bad translation?

You may be thinking: „Bad translation has never hurt anyone’s business.“

Let me prove you wrong.

It’s compelling to skimp on costs with DeepL, Google Translate and other sensational tools which claim to provide top-notch quality translations. The same goes for just accepting anyone with the lowest bid without making sure they have the proper expertise.


Yes, your budget is tight, but you probably wouldn’t replace your marketing team with AI to create your next marketing campaign.


You wouldn’t outsource your IT department responsible for your online tool to AI because it can write code now.


You wouldn’t replace your Sales team with Google ads.


There is one common denominator which your business needs in order to succeed: specific human expertise.


With your culturally sensitive human expert you can avoid similar cases:

— When the slogan of the UK-based HSBC Holdings “Assume nothing” was translated as “Do nothing”. It didn’t sit right with the customers that their bank does nothing with their money.

— Electrolux’s “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux” which was originally crafted by a UK ad agency where it didn’t have the negative connotation “of being bad at something”. Needless to say, it wasn’t accepted well by the US audience.

—That time when Canadian Mist was trying to launch a brand of whiskey. They’ve missed, however, that in German, “mist” means “manure.”

You may think these are exceptions but there are hundreds of similar examples.


Language expertise goes far beyond just putting words on a piece of paper. Translator assumes the responsibility for the company brand. Translator makes sure the brand doesn’t become the first thing that pops in your mind when you think of “manure.”

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I’m Karolína, a Slovak conference and community interpreter and marketing translator. I write about topics related to the translation industry and culture-specific translation in my language combinations (Slovak–German–English).