Companies of all industries translate marketing collateral, digital content, and other materials from English to Spanish as a way to enter the international playing field. Not only is translation an internal tool to benefit employees and comply with regulations, but it is also a tool for expanding your audience or beyond U.S. borders. For example, a pharmaceutical and bio-tech company had their sales tools professionally translated, in order to target Latin America.

Something like targeting another country may seem like a given to have materials translated by a well-versed professional. But when is it appropriate to use an online tool like Google Translate versus hiring a professional translator?

Automatic Translation Tools

For quick, one-off style translations in more casual settings, automated translating tools may be sufficient. Anything requiring absolute comprehension, such as mission-critical documents, processes or procedures, legal or technical documentation, should never be trusted to an online tool or app.

Bilingual Employee or Peer

As more companies are realizing the growth of the Hispanic population and the importance of adopting a multi-cultural approach, being fluent in Spanish is becoming a popular job requirement.

Though, a common error we see is when someone who knows Spanish or perhaps took a few Spanish courses in college attempts to replace the work of a professional translator.

The Downfalls of Forgoing Professional Translation

Cultural relevancy is key. We’ve all gotten a few laughs out of improper translations, or ones that are obviously written by a non-native speaker. A professional translator should be a native Spanish-speaker for this reason.

Forgoing having your materials translated to Spanish by a professional translator can have negative outcomes, more serious than a few harmless laughs. The downfalls of a bad translation range from health, safety, financial or legal – none of which fare well for a business trying to gain the attention of Hispanics.

A professional translator is also skilled in handling words and phrases that may not have a direct translation or that read awkwardly when translated.

To learn more about the value of a professional translation service, contact us to speak to an experienced Spanish translator.

Elsa Jimenez is a native Spanish speaker who was born and raised in a Hispanic country. She is an accomplished lawyer and translator who has been living and working in the U.S. for many years and is also a member of the American Translators Association.

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