Caution! Unqualified English-Spanish Translator Ahead!

It is always a kind gesture when shopping mall managers clearly notify customers about any on-site renovations to prevent accidents. However, whoever put up these two artistic message boards forgot to also display a warning regarding the presence of an unqualified English-Spanish translator for the safety of Spanish-speaking visitors!

The picture shows an English-language warning message, together with the corresponding Spanish translation, informing shoppers about the renewal of tiles in a corridor. While the English text is clear and polite, it appears that the Spanish text was probably provided by someone who used the nearest automated translation they could find—what we can be certain of is that this is not the work of a language professional. The English words were translated literarily, without any consideration for the meaning of the entire text, and with a disregard of the standard Spanish expressions that are suitable in this context.

To make matters worse, it is obvious that a Spanish speaker did not check the final text to ensure that it made sense—the final version is just a collection of words without a clear meaning. If that isn’t enough, there was even time to come up with a word that does not exist in the Spanish language: “concierno” should have been translated as “preocupación” or “interés.”

At Day Translations, Inc., any of our English-Spanish translators could have provided the following clear and accurate translation:

“¡Atención! Tenga Cuidado: Estamos colocando nuevas baldosas en los pasillos del Centro Comercial. Le solicitamos que durante este proceso usted compre en nuestro Centro con extremo CUIDADO y ATENCIÓN. Por favor, preste atención a las barricadas y a los cambios en el piso ya que pueden ser motivo de traspiés. Por favor, tenga cuidado además cuando pase de una superficie de piso a otra, ya que puede resbalarse. Su seguridad es nuestra mayor preocupación. GRACIAS. La Administración.”

You should join our campaign to promote professional, accurate translations! Can you think of any other way to translate this message into Spanish? We look forward to your feedback and suggestions in our comment section.

Image credit: “Funny English Mistranslations! And MIZTAKES!” from funnyenmam.