Here are a few quick trivia questions: Did the Chevy Nova sell badly in Mexico because no va translates to ‘Doesn’t go’ in Spanish? Did a Japanese video game become an Internet meme in the early 21st century, spawning the phrase ‘All your base are belong to us’? Did President John F. Kennedy literally say, ‘I am a jelly donut’ in Berlin in 1963?
The answers are no, yes, and depends on your point of view.
The point is, translation is a tricky business. If you need a foreign language translated, the best practice is to seek a translator who is a native speaker of the source language. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Languages are Complex Creatures
Every language is a maze of subtleties. English has words borrowed from other languages, numerous homophones, and idioms that even the native speakers have trouble explaining, but comprehend effortlessly. Mandarin incorporates several regional dialects, and many languages incorporate subtle inflection to convey different meanings using the same words.