Translation USA

US Election Affected By Linguistic Services

  |   Blog


The last US presidential campaign was anything but ordinary. Aside from its exhausting and controversial nature, the tight race uncovered a few interesting moments worth analyzing. One particular situation caught our attention from the point of view of a language services provider – Melania Trump’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention and its similarities to Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.



Plagiarism near the highest office?


At first, it seemed that the TV stations and newspapers were too focused on their pursuit of sensation when comparing both speeches. However later, after learning that two of Melania’s passages matched almost word-for-word those of the First Lady, a question emerged: “How was this even possible?” Plagiarism by those near the United States’ highest office, in front of the whole world?



How did this happen?


To answer this question, let’s take an example. Many years ago, a friend was translating a catalogue from German to Slovak for a well-known manufacturer of sound systems. Back then, faxes were widely used in business communication. He delivered the translated catalogue to the client on floppy disk (predecessor of the USB key) and everybody was happy.


Later, the client decided to make a last-minute change in one title. They called and asked him to translate the newly created title, write its translation by hand on a piece of paper, and fax it to them at his earliest convenience. He did as instructed.


The project was completed on time and thousands of catalogues were printed. They looked amazing and professional. Everything appeared to be fine. That is, until the gruesome discovery emerged: the critical title—translated last minute, written by hand and faxed—had been re-typed incorrectly on the client’s end by a person who did not speak the target language. She misspelled two letters. To make it even more serious, this error produced an offensive word in all these shiny new catalogues, right on the page’s title. A disaster!



Translation quality assurance is important


The whole batch of newly printed catalogues was suddenly ready for shredding and recycling, moments after leaving the presses. If they were distributed to customers, somebody would have asked the same question that arose in Melania Trump’s case: “How did this happen?” The answer is simple. Cutting corners in rush situations, tight deadlines, fast-paced environments, feelings of urgency, stress, emails and phone calls going back and forth, countless discussions with contradictory or unclear results, and last-minute changes are a perfect blend for making mistakes.


That is why Strategic Languages has bullet-proof quality assurance procedures in place. We do not allow shortcuts or skip important steps. In addition, we remind our clients of any post-translation or post-editing risks. Excellent quality is always guaranteed!