Can Bad Translations Be Used as A Marketing Tool?

As a translator, it’s probably happened to you where you have stumbled upon a translated website and found errors in the translation. Maybe the business owner received a bad translation and isn’t aware of it. That begs the question, can a bad translation be an opportunity for you to gain a new customer?

Of course, you can. Why shouldn’t you? The business owner depends on that website to bring in new customers, and you have the skills needed to correct the mistakes. But using bad translations as a marketing tool has to be handled with care.

How to Approach the Business Owner Respectfully

As much as you may have the urge to go tattletale on that unsatisfactory translator, it’s best to remain as professional as possible in these cases. The point here is to think of a constructive marketing plan instead of rubbing someone’s mistakes in their face.

Compliment the Effort Behind the Translation

You have no idea where the translation on the website came from, for all you know it could have been the owner himself that did it. The last thing you want to do is insult the person before you have even begun to market to them. Compliment them on the website and the attempt made to secure new international customers.

Offer the Reality Check

Now is the time to give them a reality check. You have complimented them on the brilliance of their website, but now they need to know what’s really going on. In truth, they may not have any idea that the translations are incorrect. Again, remember to be respect and professional. Simply state that you understand how hard multilingual translations can be but that you noticed same translations issues, and you only thought it was fair to bring it to their attention. Offer to help them correct the situation so that their vision is reflected to their customers.

Remember, every time you pitch to a client they could become a client for life!

Offer Something for Free

Just asking them to become your new customer may not grab their attention. Offer them something for free, so that they can see your talents in action but don’t fear you’re just “selling” to them. You could offer to do their homepage for free for them and send it in your request. If they love the work, you have done they will probably hire you for the rest of the corrections on the website. Wow the business owner with your work and you will have a client for life.

Now You Wait

At this point, you can do nothing further then wait while the business owner considers your offer. A lot of things could be going on at this point; the business owner may not care that the website has some errors. Or maybe they are on a tight budget and can’t make changes at that time. It’s possible they don’t understand why a proper translation is so important. You can certainly follow up and touch base with them. What you need to understand is that for every pitch you make you are on step closer to getting a new client. Maybe they won’t take you up on your offer but the next one might.



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