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Care to play a game? Your branding message might be at stake though… Let’s have a look what can happen when too many people are in involved in the process of translating your marketing copy. It’ll be fun, I promise. Not!

Chinese whispers—or telephone in the United States—is an internationally popular children’s translation game, in which the first person client in a queue whispers [aka sends] a message [aka the copy to be translated] to the ear of the next person [aka agency] through a line of people [project manager, translator, revisor, and editor, if there’s not another middleman or more involved] until the last player translator announces sends the message translation to the entire group to the end client via the agency or translation platform, usually/sometimes after at least one round of revisions. The last person editor hopefully compares the story translation with the first person original copy. Although the objective is to pass around translate the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment sorrow is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings [of the project brief], so the statement announced message of the translation delivered by the last player translator differs significantly from that intended by of the first player client, usually with amusing disagreeable or humorous even brand-damaging effect. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, the difficult-to-understand mechanism of whispering different communication styles, and that some players may deliberately (un-)intentionally alter what is being said to guarantee a changed message delivery on time at the expense of quality by the end of the line.

Original source: Wikipedia

Sure, when you need to have your content translated, it often seems easier to go through a large agency or even through platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. But the sad truth is that this approach can sometimes be like playing the Chinese Whispers game. I see the temptation in one-stop-shopping for all your translation needs. And, with good agencies, that can work great. However, you should always ask yourself just how many people you want involved in the translation of your brand message and your marketing copy.

At The Translators, we keep the number of people involved in any project to a minimum and you have direct access to the translator, if you wish. In an ideal project it will be you, Tanya (Lead Translator & Talent Manager, that’s me), a translator, and a proofreader. Whereas all parties work closely together to ensure that the results are exactly what you need to grow your business in markets abroad. If you prefer to completely hand off your project and only deal with one person, I can act as your advocate within the project team.

Contact us through the form below or head on over to the contact page for more details.

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Let’s see how we can make your business our business!

Tanya Quintieri

Lead Translator & Talent Manager, The Translators

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