Language focus | 19.03.2010

Native speakers prove vital for accurate translation

A good translation is not always self-evident. It requires careful preparation, good experience and most of all you need to be a native speaker. Our eyes fell on a Belgian article published last month, which serves as a perfect illustration.

A Belgian PR-company, HL Event, had sent out invitations for a VIP-arrangement at the French Open tennis tournament, but failed miserably when it attempted to translate the French letter into Dutch. We will attempt to copy these blunders into the English language, it will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows.

“Good day,

The Belgian and Women’s Tennis is more than ever at the top of the world hierarchy at the start of this year. Recently returned from the world of tennis, Justine Henin finds herself in the final with Serena Williams in Australia for the first Tournament of Grand Slem of this year!

Kim Clijsters had gone before her in September 2009 at the US Open final. Moreover, neither Yanina Wickmayer allows herself to be covered by winning her third title of her career.

HL Event presents you to support our intolerable trio in extraordinary circumstances at Roland Garros! Reserve you VIP package which will present you the occasion to cheer for our tennis champions on the famous Parisian clay floor.”

The Flemish newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ managed to speak to the translator. “Errm, you have to understand that I am native French speaker and have only been studying Dutch for two years. The only thing I can do is to apologise and to send out a new, correct email.”

It shows once more that when you need high-quality, professional translations, it is paramount that you make sure that the translator works into his native language only, or you might end up in a similar situation.

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