The above quote is from Willy Brandt, a former German Chancellor and I think about it every time I see a website which has been translated by a translating website!
Translating websites aren’t a bad idea if you want to know something from a foreign website. Sometimes they translate well, sometimes they don’t but hopefully they give you enough information to understand the gist of the text.
If, on the other hand, you want to sell abroad, then a translating website’s help isn’t good enough. A few years ago I was asked by somebody to have a look at his website. He wanted to sell his products to Germany and had his information translated by a translating website. Could I check it over and if need be correct the few mistakes? I looked at it and it was appalling. It was riddled with so many mistakes, most of it was unreadable! I informed him that it would take hours of corrections as it should be translated properly. He wasn’t willing to pay for it and said he would leave it as it is, as it was good enough.
I tried to find his website the other day and it was gone! I wonder whether he managed to sell anything in Germany ….
So, if you want to sell abroad, please don’t assume that everybody speaks your language (this applies particularly to English speaking companies). Make sure your website is understandable to your foreign buyers.
Remember, your prospective client may say “If I’m selling to you, I speak your language. If I’m buying, then you need to speak my language!”