According to The Oxford Companion to the English Language, translation “is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text.”  

According to Balk EM, Chung M, Chen ML, Trikalinos TA, Kong Win Chang L. Assessing the Accuracy of Google Translate to Allow Data Extraction from Trials Published in Non-English Languages. Methods Research Report. (Prepared by the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-2007-10055-1.) Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. January 2013. AHRQ Publication No. 12(13)-EHC145-EF: 

“Google Translate uses statistical matching to translate rather than a dictionary/grammar rules approach, which leaves it open to nonsensical results.” 

While Carol is an early adopter of technology, and readily accepts that machines can automate many processes, machine translations they cannot deliver the heart, soul and true meaning of your message.  Contracting with CCC Communications LLC will avoid the following text book worthy “funny” examples:

Coffee Shop Sign

Seemed like the right call, but éxito means success. Rudy.Keysteuber @ Flickr.

Coffee Shop Sign

Clothing tag

This item was apparently made inside a living, breathing turkey; should be Hecho en Turquía. desastrucciones @ Twitter.

Clothing Tag

Hotel Furniture Outlet

Way too literal. Enchufe means electric socket. Via Natalia Love @ Flickr.

Hotel Furniture Outlet

Construction Site

Word for word translation. Via Via Jeffrey Beall @ Flickr

Construction Site

Member of the Houston Interpreters and Translators Association

Following, some examples of how cognates mean something else, how prepositions aren’t used the same way, and how idiomatic expressions become meaningless.
Papa. This Spanish word may look like another version of dad, but without the accent on the second “a” (papá), you could be referring to a potato or the pope. By paying attention to the article, you can differentiate the two: el papa is the religious ruler and la papa is what you make into French fries.
Pie. This word has nothing to do with dessert. It means “foot,” the body part.
Delito. This word doesn’t mean “delight.” It refers to a crime or serious offense.
Propaganda. While this word can also refer to propaganda as we know it (political brainwashing), it’s more commonly used in Spanish to refer to advertisements. So, if you get some propaganda in your mailbox, it’s less likely that you’ll be invited to join a political regime and more likely that you’ll be urged to buy a product that is on sale.
Llueve a mares. Literal translation: It’s raining seas. True meaning: It’s raining cats and dogs.
Bigote. Not a bigot or someone who is intolerant and unreasonable. In Spanish, the word bigote means “mustache”.
Sensible. In English, a sensible person is levelheaded and rational. But in Spanish, if you’re sensible, it means you’re sensitive and emotional.

Tomar el pelo. Literal translation: “To take the hair”. In English: To pull someone’s leg.

It is important to keep track of usage of capital and lower case letters in Spanish. Months and countries in Spanish remain in lower case. For example, September 9th, 2001 is: el 9 de septiembre del 2001.

There are also differences in punctuation. For example, the houses, buildings, and districts in Spanish would be: “las casas, edificios y barrios.” It is incorrect grammar to put a comma before y (and).
In Spanish, besides an inverted exclamation point and question mark, punctuation marks can be used in the middle of a sentence. For example: It may be hot outside, but the Houston Zoo is cool! Hará calor afuera, ¡pero el Zoo de Houston está fresco!

Carol puts significant effort into producing documents that accurately reflect the intended meaning with the aid of industry glossaries and dictionaries best suited to deliver your message. Allowing time for documents to “rest” before final edit results in seamless reading material for your end user. While mindful of your time, clarification consultation may be required to insure your document does not contain inaccuracies. At times, translator notes may be required when an organization has previously published a translation that does not best reflect terminology or titles of books, laws, etcetera.

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