Beware the translator that asks no questions

A Facebook page devoted to Polish news has upset some by reporting “Polish historian causes outrage with claim that Poles killed more Jews than Nazi Germans during Second World War”.

But in the comments people have pointed out the ambiguity. He meant that they had killed more Jews than they had killed Nazi Germans, not that they had killed more Jews than the Nazi Germans had killed.

As it would likely be two quite different sentences in target languages, you would not want your translator flipping a coin to decide which way to translate it. Could cause a grave mistranslation and further upset.

That’s why your translator should ask a lot of questions.

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