A Difficult Job: Some E>K Mistranslations Along with the Corrections

Some files are just like that; they come with a disproportionate number of confusing phrasings that are easy to misunderstand. 

We had a job like this last week and when I went back to check my team’s work, I came across error after error and ended up re-proofing the entire thing! Normally I’d be pretty upset with this many mistakes, but it was an ultra-rush job and the content was particularly hard, so I let them off lightly. Anyway, I was just glad my colleague responded so promptly and got things fixed quickly for me once I’d pointed them out. 

Here are some examples from the job, which was regarding consulting to a Korean-owned restaurant doing business in the US.

1. 

Source: “Holistic consulting is not a “thinking outside of the box” edgy strategy.”

Mistranslation: “전체적인 컨설팅은 ‘주어진 범위 밖에서의 사고’라는 가장자리 전략이 아니다.”

Corrected translation: “전체적인 컨설팅은 ‘주어진 범위 밖에서의 사고’라는 틀을 깨는 전략이 아니다.”

Explanation: My team understood “edgy” as “edge” rather than “unconventional”.

2.

Source: “With our success rate, the MO is incredibly clear.”

Mistranslation: “저희의 성공률에 의해 뒷받침되는 MO는 놀랄만큼 명확합니다.” 

Corrected translation: “저희의 성공률에 의해 뒷받침되는 운영 방법은 놀랄만큼 명확합니다.”

Explanation: The team had no idea what MO meant and just left it as-is. On the other hand, how many native English speakers would have caught that it means “modus operandi”?

3.

Source: “That’s more important than the sides to go with your burgers.”

Mistranslation: “이것이 귀사의 버거 사업에 있어 지엽적인 부분들보다 더 중요합니다.”

Corrected translation: “이것이 귀사의 버거 사업에 있어 비주력 상품 부분들보다 더 중요합니다.”

Explanation: The team translated “sides” as “unessential parts” whereas “sides” is a short form for “side menu items”.

4. 

Source: “Your offering and the way you offer the food do not fit ‘quite right’ with the US venues.” 

Mistranslation: “귀사의 상품 구성과 상품 제공 방식은 미국 시장에서는 ‘상당히’ 부적합합니다.”

Corrected translation: “귀사의 상품 구성과 상품 제공 방식은 미국 시장에서는 ‘약간’ 부적합합니다.”

Explanation: Here, “quite right” was translated as “very much” rather than “a little”.

5. 

Source: “Weekly payments with TBD milestone payments based on results achieved.”

Mistranslation: “달성 결과를 근거로, 주간 단위로 TBD 성과급으로 지급”

Corrected translation: “달성 결과를 근거로, 주간 단위로 미결정 성과급으로 지급”

Explanation: The team figured “TBD” was some industry abbreviation and left it in English rather than translating it as “to be decided”!


Ah, the joys of the translation profession! Who ever said this is easy and anybody with a little language ability can do it?

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