Promoting Equality Respecting Diversity Embedding Inclusion

Lost in Translation


By Happy to Translate

We’re all familiar with badly translated signage and yes, sometimes it can be entertaining. This photograph was taken by a colleague in Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan Province in China. The national park is home to extraordinarily beautiful mountain scenery and spectacular stacks and was used as one of the locations for the 2009 film Avatar. Zhangjiajie National Park is a UNESCO site and a major tourist destination for the province. Contrary to the message posted on one of the park’s walking routes - tourists are very welcome indeed!

Poor quality translation can be amusing, but that’s not always the case. There’s a serious issue here too. Badly translated material can also be meaningless, misleading and in the worst case scenario, even dangerous.

So it’s worth remembering how important it is for Happy to Translate member organisations to ensure that their service users have access to consistently high quality interpretation and translation services.

Customers with little or no English already face barriers in accessing information and services. We can’t afford to let anything they need to know to get lost in translation.