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Cost of Translation Errors - Clothing and Fashion


Errors by Design
Fashion design often includes text. This creates a whole range of potential issues: Spelling mistakes, unsuitable grammar, context problems, etc.

Problems of context are one of the easiest issues to run into. Even with the English language, words and phrases may have different meanings between London and Washington.

If you discover such an issue late you might have the goods returned and/or customers lost.

Sizes and Measures
Units of measurement and sizes are crucial in fashion. Errors in the translation or understanding could drastically reduce the value of goods. Measurements are only the tip of the iceberg.

Sizes and types of clothing are communicated through a series of numbers, words, and cultural concepts that defy easy explanation. For one example, America and Bangladesh do not use the metric system, but most other countries have adopted this system. This means that the size of a piece of fabric can be wildly misunderstood if the purchaser is unaware.

Fashion is an international industry that spans the globe. Clothes are produced in Asia, Europe, America, and everywhere else. But everyone has a different sizing system. Hong Kong sizes are totally different from Moroccan sizes. Fabric composition is different, and different assumptions are made.

General Misunderstandings
Translation errors cost real money when one is dealing with clothing and fashion. Haute couture and large commercial sales of clothing are expensive, and it is difficult to get a refund when one cannot effectively communicate with your supplier. Businesses and consumers without translators are cutting themselves off from the best quality merchandise at the best bargains. They are leaving themselves open for unscrupulous people in either culture to take advantage of the situation. Most importantly, since the two sides of the transaction are unable to write back and forth to each other, small errors have the potential to become truly epic. A shipment from Europe to America could arrive months late because nobody knew that Europe's "05/09/2013" is the equivalent of America's "09/05/2013." There is similar confusion with numbers, as some countries write “three thousand” as "3,000" and others "3.000." It would be an unpleasant surprise to order a quantity of three and get billed for three thousand!

General misunderstandings are all too easy to make, but can be extremely costly. For this reason, important commercial material must be understood by all parties regardless of the industry. Legal translation services should be considered for contracts and agreements.

It is extremely risky to work across a language barrier without a guide. Don't take the chance; find a good translator.