How much is your reputation worth?

I was in a beautiful hotel, in Lucerne, Switzerland, recently. They have great facilities, the rooms are spotless, the service is impeccable, but their English visitors have a great laugh when they read their hotel guide!

The minibar in your room contains refrigerated drinks and snacks! The drinks and snacks you consummated are put on your bill.

Turn your TV, by pressing button<1> at your remote control, on. Press button <TEXT>. The current time appears at the right top.

How much do you think this hotel spends daily on making their clients comfortable and satisfied? Hundreds of Swiss francs. Yet their total once-for-all translation investment must have been less than that. They made a very common mistake: they went for the ‘best offer’.

Does it matter? Probably not, once the client is safely in the hotel room, enjoying the free coffee machine, the comfortable, spotless beds, the warm, clean bathroom with its fresh, white towels and the beautiful view from the bedroom window. The translation howlers will just add to the enjoyment. But what about before they get to the hotel? What if a dreadful translation gives your potential client a bad impression from the outset? What if they don’t take you seriously, just because your translation budget was too tight?

Your website is often the first thing a potential client sees. If you target international clients at all, your translation budget must be on a par with your publicity and communication budget. If not, those clients may never come your way. Time and time again, I have seen businesses asking translators for their ‘best price’.  Why do businesses often underestimate the impact of a bad translation on their reputation? Simply because they don’t understand the target language and know very little about the translation process.

Read more here: How to choose a translator

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