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Welcome to Into English Translations, Zwolle

What’s wrong with the English in the following excerpts?


1. From a website translated into ‘English’: “Welcome at (COMPANY ). (COMPANY) has been founded in (DATE) …”


2. From a guided tour: “Well, we’ve seen the front of the building, now let’s have a good look at her backside (de achterkant).”


3. From a report by a university student:“…the new legislation has facilitated the free intercourse (het vrije verkeer) of products and goods.”

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1. From a website translated into ‘English’: “Welcome to (COMPANY ). (COMPANY) was founded in (DATE) …”

2. From a guided tour: “Well, we’ve seen the front of the building, now let’s have a good look at the back (de achterkant).”

3. From a report by a university student:“…the new legislation has facilitated the free movement (het vrije verkeer) of products and goods.”

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Of course, it’s not your job to know what’s wrong with these excerpts…that’s mine!

If they all sound a little like ‘double Dutch’, well then you won’t be surprised to discover that they were written/said by Dutch people. More surprising perhaps, is that these mistakes are typical for Dutch speakers and really rather commonplace, even among the well-educated. Rather more disconcerting – and for me as a native English translator and language expert, rather disheartening – is that the ‘translation’ above was done by a ‘qualified’ translator!

The universally-acknowledged golden rule in the translation industry is: ‘Only translate into your native language!’ Having lived in an English-speaking country and years of translation experience are undoubtedly also very important. But a ‘qualification’ means very little in the world of translation if such basic mistakes can occur, and moreover, often remain unnoticed and unchecked; the same is true for English teaching. Read more…


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