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The Famous Welsh Sign

I first came across this sign a few months ago, but I feel it’s important to complement justinb’s post to emphasize that ANYONE interested in translation, especially those looking to run an agency, really soak in what happened here. For those of us who have no knowledge of Welsh, we brush it off and turn left (provided that we are not a heavy goods vehicle). However, a Welsh-speaking truck driver with no knowledge of English is pretty much stuck. The sign in Welsh reads, “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.” At least that’s what they tell me.

As professional translators and people interested in someday running our own agency, this tells us a few things:

First, have more than one person who understands the target language look at what is being sent along, especially if it is being used for publication in a place where many, many people can see it.

Second, if a translator you normally work with sends you a translation with no additional comment, confirm that it is a translation and not an automatic message or something that they otherwise sent without thinking.

Third, if you’re generally working with one specific language pair (here, Welsh-English), make sure that your emails are correctly in both, in case someone is looking to contact you from either end.

Last, learn from your mistakes or those of others…mistakes like these can only be prevented by thorough attention to detail from every party involved.

There are dozens and dozens of errors like this out there…don’t have me add yours to the list later…