Business correspondence is key for communication in the professional world. Whatever the purpose of your business letter or email, one thing is for sure: you’ll want your message to be accurate, polite and easy to understand by the person receiving it. So, what sorts of results do you get by using online tools as your trusted business translation services?
Imagine you’re German and you’re writing to an English-speaking client. You have a good command of the English language, but you type your message into Google Translate just to speed up the process and avoid any mistakes. Or so you thought…
“Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,”
“Dear Sirs and Madames,” will certainly be understood by an English speaker, but doesn’t come across as very professional because:
- It contains a spelling mistake.
- It is more common to write “Dear Sir/Madam,”.
“Ich freue mich auf Ihre Antwort.”
Again, the meaning will be understood. But it would be much more natural to say “I look forward to hearing from you.”
Interestingly, if we translate this correct English back into German using Google, we get the following:
The more polite ‘Ihnen’ form certainly would have been more appropriate for business communication than ‘dir’.
“Mit freundlichen Grüßen”
“Yours sincerely” isn’t always the only option for a business email. “Mit freundlichen Grüßen” is one phrase in German with so many context-dependent possibilities in English: yours sincerely, yours faithfully, best wishes, and so on!
You’re off on holiday for a week. You’ve packed your passport, booked the dog in at the kennels and set your out of office at work:
“Ich bin ab dem 12.01.2019 im Urlaub.”
(I’m on vacation from the 12-01-2019.)
You can’t wait to enjoy a whole week of well-earned relaxation free from any interruptions.
Unfortunately, your English-speaking clients begin pestering you first thing on the 14th with urgent business to attend to. Why? Because they used Google to translate your automatic reply and got the following result:
Not the best start to your holiday.
In business, poor translations cause confusion and miscommunications, and may make you appear unprofessional. Considering how much online translation software struggles with the most basic of greetings and expressions of business correspondence, it might be worth looking into professional translation services.
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Disclaimer: All of the translation examples given in this blog represent the translation quality provided by the online translation tools in question at the time of publishing.