5 Known Translation Blunders That Cost People Millions

The work of translation services in Dubai is important. With their expertise, messages and documents are translated so it will be understood by people who are speaking different languages. That is why language translators are very cautious about doing their work, to make sure that they are relaying the right message.

But translation mishaps do happen, but sometimes they were blown out of proportions and leave an unpleasant mark to the people. Here is the list of the infamous translation blunders that cost companies millions of dollars:

  • Mistranslation that lead to a medical malpractice

It is important for medical professionals to be at least knowledgeable in dealing with foreign patients to ensure that they are getting the right information. Willie Ramirez, an 18-year old patient, was admitted to a Florida-based hospital in 1980. His loved ones tried to explain what happened to him. Although some of the staff knew how to speak Spanish, they were not professional translators. They mistake the word “intoxicado” as a literal intoxicated and Ramirez was treated for drug overdose. In reality, Ramirez was suffering from intracerebral hemorrhage due to food poisoning. The word “intoxicado” means “poisoned” in Spanish. Ramirez became quadriplegic and awarded a whopping $71 million as a malpractice settlement.

  • Rebranding mistake

Companies are known to do rebranding to give their brand a facelift, but when the message is translated the wrong way, it can lead to a failed marketing effort. HSBC rebranded their slogan in 2009 with a new tag line, “Assume nothing”. However, the catchphrase was mistranslated in other countries and languages as “Do nothing” which was not received positively by some audience.

  • Unknown character

Popular Japanese game Street Fighter II was introduce to the United States with a translated content. But the translation sowed confusion amongst the gamers due to mention of the new character Sheng Long. But the truth was, the translators misinterpreted the phrase “rising dragon”. Gamers wracked their minds trying to find out who Sheng Long was, not knowing that is was a translation mistake. It became an April Fools’ joke among the players.

  • Infamous Japan bombing

Definitely considered as the gravest translation mistake in the history of this industry. When Japan was about to surrender to the United State, their message of surrender to the opposite forces with the word mokusatsu in it. However, the translators made a mistake and think that the message is a sign of contempt. The message was not received well and the United Stated proceed to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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