You think you know and understand them, but then they mean something completely different.
False friends are words that look or sound similar in different languages.
Every translator fears that word that gives him a sense of familiarity that can lead to embarrassment, especially when we are rushed to meet the projects deadlines.
Even if hilarity can ensue from the use of a false friend, this can hurt the translator’s reputation; it can cause loss of clients, money or time.
In a world where technology is omnipresent and English is the world’s lingua franca, the challenge of using false friends is even greater. Avoiding them is very time-consuming and labour-intensive, but rewarding at the end.
Below are only a few of the most common examples (and the list can go on and on…):
English – Romanian
Fabric – fabrică (correct translation: țesătură, stofă)
Editor – editor (correct translation: redactor)
Preservetive – prezervativ (correct translation: conservant)
Prospect – prospect (correct translation: perspectivă)
English – French
Actually – actuellement (correct translation: vraiment, en fait)
Location – location (correct translation: emplacement)
To achieve – achiever (correct translation: accomplir, atteindre)
Library – librairie (correct translation: bibliothèque)