Inaccurate Translations May Provide Needless Fuel for Major Competitors

Two months ago, the vice president of Samsung, Lee Young-hee, was misquoted by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Speaking about the Galaxy Tab - a product similar to the iPad that uses the Android operating system (OS) - Young-hee was quoted as saying sales were "quite small." However, she had, in fact, said sales were "quite smooth."

The WSJ article, which has since been corrected, was based on a transcript of a company conference call, which was rendered by a third-party documenter.

Though the executive was speaking in English, there is a possibility that, being a non-native English speaker, her words were prone to misinterpretation. When one listens to the audio transcript, the potential for hearing "small" over "smooth" becomes more apparent.

When announcing the iPad 2 last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs repeated the misquote of Young-hee, according to Given the fierce competition and debate over the virtues of the Apple OS versus Android's, the repeated mistranslation of one executive's report of current sales in the media could be damaging to a company's bottom line.

If the syntax, grammar and idioms of a corporate representative are difficult to understand, there is a risk for miscommunication. Automated translators may prove useful in similar business exchanges.