In May of this year, I attended the International Conference on Economic, Business, Financial and Institutional Translation in Alicante, Spain
(http://dti.ua.es/en/comenego/congreso-traduccion-economica/international-conference-on-economic-business-financial-and-institutional-translation.html). Over the past few months, I have been reflecting on what I learnt and the main thing was that, despite the efforts of translation organisations such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the American Translators Association, many companies still do not understand the benefits of professional translation. During the conference I attended a session on tourism translation where one of the speakers discussed her campaign to convince a regional tourism board to improve the quality of their translations – a campaign which had so far met with little success. Other speakers during the session continued in the same tone and the consensus of opinion was that while the tourism industry as a whole appears to believe that travellers will accept poor translations as part of the holiday experience, studies show that this is not the case and potential customers are in fact put off a restaurant, hotel or attraction as a result of these poor translations. While the topic of discussion here was tourism translation, many translators with other specialisations have pointed out the same fact – that clients/customers often reject a product or service because of poor or misleading translations.
However, the question remains: since there is clearly a need to educate potential clients on the benefits of professional translation, how should we do this? Many translators suggest sending potential clients improved versions of translated text found on their website, etc. However, care must be taken with this approach not to appear to patronise the potential client.
What do you think? What has been your experience of educating potential clients?