This forum is for those interested in problems of modern linguistics and translation.
Dec 2009, 23:35, Mark Kit
What is the cost of poor translation?
Low-quality translations can be very costly. Here is an example of analysis.
A mid-size international project with the total cost of, say $100 million and a payoff term of 5 years. Let’s assume that the bank’s share in the capital is 50%, i.e. $50 million and the annual interest rate is 8%.
It means that in the course of 5 years $120 million dollars is to be paid (which includes the bank interest.) At the annual profit margin of 20% it will be required to have annual revenues of $120 million or about $329,000 a day.
In other words, one day of delay in the project commissioning will cost almost $329,000.
A Russian pipeline construction standard had an error that went across the entire 60-page document. Term “pig launchers/receivers” was understood and translated by the translator as “units for acceptance and injection of purification agents”. To understand what was actually meant and incorporate changes throughout the document an engineer using translators’ assistance would spend a few hours. These hours add up to become weeks making the cost of such errors tremendous.
Another example would be a bidding proposal. If the translation is inaccurate, erroneous or grammatically incorrect, chances to win the bid drop significantly, Translations of legally binding documents, such as contracts, patents, agreements and so on, should be produced with extreme accuracy and be free of ambiguous interpretation. Otherwise when such a documents becomes effective there is a threat of severe consequences.
Poor translation can also affect health and safety of people. This category of documents includes operating manuals, safety guidelines, datasheets on chemical properties of materials, medical documents, etc. Back to FAQ