Translation tools can't catch subtle nuances in language. When translating to a language you do not speak, make sure your word selections are simple and straightforward. This will help you achieve a successful translation. In order to avoid meaning shifts or mistranslations, consider the following:
Translations should read as if they were originally written in the target language, so keep your writing clear, simple and direct. Use bulleted lists to break up long paragraphs. Keep your sentences short, and minimize the use of compound and complex sentences. Review your writing to see if any sentences can be split up or shortened by deleting unnecessary filler phrases. Use active voice as opposed to passive voice, which is less direct and more difficult to translate.
Avoid culture-specific slang, idioms or expressions that will lose their meaning when translated. It’s also important to avoid using abbreviations, acronyms, and new technical terms that can cause confusion for both the learner and translator. In addition, try to avoid using gender-specific pronouns like he or she and instead target third person pronouns like they. Be concise, but don’t leave out necessary words.
A colloquial expression might not translate correctly to another language, or it could mean something different that might even be offensive to some cultures.
Test Drive your translation
If you have important information to convey in, say, Mandarin, you can always use the translation tools to convert English to Mandarin, and then test the translation, to have a better idea of what the receiver will be reading.
Bad translations can also have hilarious consequences, these funny signs are proof: