Imagine you were a customer looking for an expensive laboratory balance. You find an interesting product in a dealer’s web shop, but don’t know much about the manufacturer. To learn more about the company, you visit their English website and come across something like this:
In the Weight & Measurement, espacially the precision field, it is necessar that we make products from ideas of engineers with artisan.
We use our high technology with maximum.
While this text can actually be found on vibra.co.jp, its purpose here is only to serve as an example for the translations I see every day. The texts in the header image were taken from the websites of various weighing instrument manufacturers and from user manuals.
What would you think as a potential customer? Would you trust a company that makes high-tech instruments but can’t even use a spell checker?
My thoughts as a weighing instruments dealer
There is no perfect measuring instrument, and I’m not asking for perfect texts. A quirky translation here and there might actually be endearing. A lack of sophisticated marketing materials can be explained by saying that some manufacturers prefer to invest in other areas.
However: As a manufacturer, you know that you make excellent products. Potential customer may not know this and will look for all sorts of clues to evaluate your trustworthiness. Poor translations sprinkled with spelling errors have the opposite effect of what you intended and actually make it more difficult to sell your products.
Bonus thought: English translations are often used as the basis for further translations (e.g. into French or German). If the initial translation is bad, subsequent translations can easily become completely incomprehensible or misleading (similar to the telephone game).