If you think translating is an easy job, you’ll have to think again. There are many things that can go wrong when switching from one language to another.

In this article we have collected all the types of errors that an interpreter and translator agency can commit and we have divided them for convenience and clarity into three main categories: formal, meaningful and stylistic. Let’s see what they consist of.

.The formal errors of interpreter and translator agencies

This group includes all those unequivocal translation errors that violate the formal correctness of the target language. We are specifically referring to those traits that do not respect the grammatical or spelling correctness of a text. Below we present all the possible combinations of formal errors.


When a sentence in the translation violates the grammatical rules of the target language, we are faced with a grammatical error. Lack of agreement between subject and verb, incorrect verbal inflections and incorrect declension of nouns, pronouns or adjectives are all examples of typical grammatical errors.


If the arrangement of words or other elements of a sentence does not conform to the syntactic rules of the target language, the translator is making a syntactic error. Reversing the order of the parts of speech can also cause transfigurations in terms of meaning. In this case we are faced with a hybrid and more serious error, because it belongs to both the category of formal errors and that of meaning.


A spelling error occurs when a word or character in the translation is used incorrectly and does not conform to the conventions of the target language. As in the previous case, even a spelling error becomes a big problem when it generates a misunderstanding on a semantic level.


A punctuation error occurs when the target language’s conventions for punctuation are not followed, including those governing the use of quotation marks, commas, semicolons, and colons.

The errors of meaning of interpreter and translator agencies

In this section we present a short list of translation errors that have to do with meaning, that is, that hinder or prevent the reader from understanding the translated text.


An addition error occurs when the translator introduces superfluous elements of meaning, including aspects of tone such as irony or intensification.


An error of omission occurs when one or more elements of meaning are left out by the translator. This covers not only textual information, but also the author’s tone such as irony and intensification.


A terminological error occurs in a general text when the translator chooses a content word or phrase with an incorrect or inappropriate meaning compared to the source text.

The stylistic errors of interpreter and translator agencies

When translators do not clearly violate grammatical, spelling and punctuation rules, but detract from the quality of a translation, we are faced with stylistic errors. We can distinguish different types of stylistic errors.

Of use

It occurs when the conventions of formulation or phrasing in the target language are not respected or when the idioms of the target language are used incorrectly.


A registry error occurs when the language level or degree of formality is not appropriate for the target audience.

Of style

A style error occurs when the choice of grammatical structure or other elements is inappropriate for the type of publication. For example, if the target language typically uses infinitive verb forms, using imperative verbs is a mistake.

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