Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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On the importance of getting translations correct

This article here on the BBC news website about a translation error in an information booklet for Russian speaking prisoners in Lincoln Prison in the UK demonstrates the importance of getting translations checked very carefully. In this case, an exercise yard had been labelled an "execution yard". Ooops!

Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, said: "You could treat it as a bit of a joke unless you were that prisoner and you didn't understand how the British prison service worked and came from a country that still had execution yards. It wouldn't be a funny thing for him."

Of course if you are not a poor Russian speaking prisoner stuck in a British prisoner, it is very funny. :)

Thankfully it seems that the error was picked up at the proof reading stage -- unlike the mistake in the new staff contracts drawn up for the recent merger between our local college and a bigger college which is further north in a predominantly English speaking area. Welsh speaking staff were puzzled to discover that the terms and conditions varied, depending on whether you read the English or the Welsh. However, before the lecturers could start making up a bespoke contract by picking the most favourable clauses from each version, the contracts were withdrawn and the whole thing was redone. They also appointed a new translator!

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