Why Good Translations Fail Sometimes


Why do good translations fail sometimes? There are many reasons for poor translations, and the problem is typically attributed to the translator. Here are some common reasons for bad translations. The subjunctive or imperative mood of the original sentence. There’s more to poor translations than the translator’s skill. Read on for some tips on how to improve your translations. In this article we’ll cover some of the most common causes of bad translations and how you can fix them.


A good translation can boost global business, but sometimes mistranslations can have the opposite effect. In one case, KFC’s famous slogan in Chinese was mistranslated as “Eat your fingers off!” This spelled disaster for the fast food chain, whose brand became a viral sensation. While mistakes in translation are inevitable, the internet age makes them all the more common. Even if you’re not trying to hurt a brand, a mistranslation can go viral and turn your entire company into a meme.

A good translation in India can be misinterpreted because of the context. In one case, an English-language document stating “sale” was not translated into Spanish, but it said “peace treaty”. That’s not what the Sultanate meant! Another example is a Spanish-English mistranslation of an 1851 treaty with the Sultanate of Sulu. The Spanish interpreted the treaty as acceptance of Spanish sovereignty, while the Sultanate of Sulu thought it was a peace treaty. In the English version, however, the Sultanate signed a treaty with a British commercial syndicate, which stated “sale” instead of “peace treaty.”

Misreading a sentence’s subjunctive mood

If you’re thinking about doing some translations, you may have made the mistake of misreading a sentence’s subjunctive mood. It happens more often than you might think, and is a common mistake made when trying to translate a Spanish sentence into English. The subjunctive mood is different from the English subjunctive, so it’s important to know the differences between the two.

The subjunctive mood is used to express a request, recommendation, or suggestion. Although this mood is not widely used in spoken English anymore, it is still a popular construction in formal speech and writing. In a sentence such as “If I was a rich man,” a person is requesting something. If you’re translating a sentence that expresses a wish, you should always replace the verb was with were.

Misreading a sentence’s imperative mood

Imminent sentences are often difficult to translate correctly because the grammar of the English language is different from the French language. Often, people make assumptions about the intent of a sentence by misreading the imperative mood. Some people use parsing guides to understand how the sentence is to be understood and might mistakenly assume the verb is a command. While this is true in many cases, it may lead to poor translations on occasion.

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