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Off topic: Received a crappy translation
Thread poster: Aisha Rishi

Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 05:18
English to Urdu
+ ...
Nov 25, 2003

I received a document to do some ammendments. Though I have to correct only a few lines but as I was reading the document, the whole document is so full of errors, spelling mistakes, bad translation and grammatical mistakes. I notified the agency that sent it to me, and they said that the client had proofread the document and he didn't say anything. But what I dont understand is, what kind of a client is that, that they are ok with such a BAD translation? what I am worrying now is, that they might not like my proper translation, lol.

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suesimons  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Portuguese to English
Translating the unreadable Nov 25, 2003

Well! Although I don´t translate urdu, I do other languages and if I get something unreadable or in bad grammatical language, I charge for the transcribing AND the translation! It´s all time, isn´t it?


azure_8 wrote:

I received a document to do some ammendments. Though I have to correct only a few lines but as I was reading the document, the whole document is so full of errors, spelling mistakes, bad translation and grammatical mistakes. I notified the agency that sent it to me, and they said that the client had proofread the document and he didn't say anything. But what I dont understand is, what kind of a client is that, that they are ok with such a BAD translation? what I am worrying now is, that they might not like my proper translation, lol.


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Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 05:18
English to Urdu
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Its about the client Nov 25, 2003

But the point is, they didn't ask me to change the whole document, they are contented with that bad translation, because their client proofread it himself and he liked it. I am a little amazed what kind of client is it.

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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
on a client's motivations Nov 25, 2003

azure_8 wrote:
But the point is, they didn't ask me to change the whole document, they are contented with that bad translation, because their client proofread it himself and he liked it. I am a little amazed what kind of client is it.


Clients come in all shapes and hues, and I would not spend too much time trying to guess their motivations. Surely you can understand if the client has proofread the translation and liked it, he/she may be reluctant to accept the fact that it is a crappy translation. As a professional, you have no responsibility for anybody else's work or style/terminology preferences, only your own work as requested. If the translation has been approved and all you are asked for are some minor edits, this is where your responsibility ends. By all means bring up the issue of quality with your contact, and advise them on what kind of changes you consider would be necessary, but the last word rests on the client. They may decide your comments are important and come around to ask for a careful editing. Or not.

Understand your client is the agency, not the final client. Be sure you give your contact a professional assessment on the quality of the material, including a few examples to illustrate your point. It is up to them to impress on their client the need to revise the material. The final client will make a decision based on their priorities, which could include budget constraints, urgency, quality standards, etc. Make sure the agency has provided you with a work order specifying the tasks you are responsible for.

Best luck to you,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-11-25 21:57]


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
Beware what you are told Nov 26, 2003

You have been told by the *agency* that the client proofread the translation.

First of all, this is somewhat of a confession that *they* did not have it proofread.

Second, It's not necessarily true, in several way. Often, you have customers warning you they will check, just to incite you to make a better job, but without doing it (involves more expenses).

Next, you have agencies who will tell you it was "approuved by the client" simply because they did not get any feedback.

Then there are also agencies that will downright lie to you because admitting the translation is crappy would force them to pay more to correct it.

Of course, they can't tell you it's all right, so they resort to the final card: "the client said it's fine", instead of telling you:"We hired a cheap translator, did not get any complaints from the client, paid him and we are not interested in giving you our complete benefit margin (or more) so that you can correct the whole thing".

Often goes like that for so called "agencies" (and I won't name any in particular but I am not necessarily talking about small operations - in fact I know a big big one that works just like that):

They sell the translation to the final customer for a very cheap rate, like 0.08/0.07$ per word. Because they have to make a benefit, they get a very cheap translator at, say, 0.05$ per word. They send the translation to the final customer. The customer says "thanks" (meaning he received it) and they write up their 50% margin in their income. Now, they have to make a couple revisions and they send it to you.

Turns out the translation was crap. They are trapped. They can't ask more money from the client to correct their own mistakes.

They paid the other translator, so that money is gone too, and now, you *offer* to correct it (for a price of course) which means they have to write off all their benefits for that project and maybe even pay some of their own pocket. They don't want to do that, so they tell you "approuved by the client".

This is a trump card. Nothing you can do about this one, but you don't have to believe what you are told. A client who is aware he is getting crap is never pleased, no matter how cheap it was - in fact it's even inversely proportional. The cheaper it was the more upset the customer.

So when you see a really wrong translation (not talking style, here, right?) you can safely assume the client doesn't know. Unless there is a security issue involved, just walk out.


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Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 05:18
English to Urdu
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
some people Nov 26, 2003

I just receive an email from them saying, if you dont mind can you correct the errors and send me as a seperate file showing where the mistakes are made.

still nothing baout paying extra, lol

I told them the mistakes are on each and every line, they want me to correct the whole document?

I am surprised coz their rating is pretty good in the blue board.

Just a lil note: Not all translators who charge little do bad translations. It is to do how professional they are. I myself dont charge that much but I am ALWAYS honest with my work.

[Edited at 2003-11-26 13:14]


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 02:18
German to Polish
+ ...
just as I think Nov 27, 2003

Let me say, Sylver has already expressed most of my feelings based on experience.
Basically, I would do the translation from the scratch, even if charging the agency for 'editing and proofreading' only. Somehow it feels painful to sign my name under something crappy. But, if they fail to recognise your input... well, I'd think twice before getting involved with them again.
Just treat it as a lesson you had to learn. And, yeah, I know what it sounds like. Tough...
Best of luck
-Agnieszka-


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
Well Nov 27, 2003

azure_8 wrote:

I just receive an email from them saying, if you dont mind can you correct the errors and send me as a seperate file showing where the mistakes are made.

still nothing baout paying extra, lol

I told them the mistakes are on each and every line, they want me to correct the whole document?

I am surprised coz their rating is pretty good in the blue board.

I think you are being unfair here. Right now, all they have is your word it's wrong against the word of the previous translator that it's is right. So just telling them "it's everywhere" does't cut it, in my opinion. You do have to support your statement. That doesn't mean correcting everything for free, but you could take the first 5 lines and point out all mistakes, then tell them that it keeps going that way throughout the document, if indeed it does.

At that point, you can discuss additionnal charges, or the price for a new translation.

I don't think they expect you to do it for free, but you assert there is a severe quality issue, you also bear the burden of proof.


Just a lil note: Not all translators who charge little do bad translations. It is to do how professional they are. I myself dont charge that much but I am ALWAYS honest with my work.

Yes, it has to do with "how pro", but if you have experience (=long time on the market) do a good job (=customers coming back again and again) I really don't see the point of charging peanuts.

Peanuts get you monkeys. Not always so, but most of the time.

Sylver


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Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 05:18
English to Urdu
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
did so Nov 27, 2003

sylver wrote:

I think you are being unfair here. Right now, all they have is your word it\'s wrong against the word of the previous translator that it\'s is right. So just telling them \"it\'s everywhere\" does\'t cut it, in my opinion. You do have to support your statement. That doesn\'t mean correcting everything for free, but you could take the first 5 lines and point out all mistakes, then tell them that it keeps going that way throughout the document, if indeed it does.

At that point, you can discuss additionnal charges, or the price for a new translation.

I don\'t think they expect you to do it for free, but you assert there is a severe quality issue, you also bear the burden of proof.


Just a lil note: Not all translators who charge little do bad translations. It is to do how professional they are. I myself dont charge that much but I am ALWAYS honest with my work.

Yes, it has to do with \"how pro\", but if you have experience (=long time on the market) do a good job (=customers coming back again and again) I really don\'t see the point of charging peanuts.

Peanuts get you monkeys. Not always so, but most of the time.

Sylver


I did send them a few extracts from the document BEFORE they asked me to send them a whole seperate file.

As for asking peanuts, I don\'t agree with that either, but the problem is that the early translators from the under developed countries, started off with asking for peanuts, and they still are doing that, so if any other translator from these countries asks for proper rate from the companies, they don\'t give them work, as they can get other cheaper translators, so it is either we dont get work AT ALL, or we get it on the rates that have been set for our countries. But obviously if the translators wouldnt have started it off with low costs, we wouldn\'t be in such a position now. not much of a choice, is there?


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to French
Then Nov 29, 2003

azure_8 wrote:

I did send them a few extracts from the document BEFORE they asked me to send them a whole seperate file.

That point wasn't clear before. You are completely right, you should not provide extensive proofreading free of charge. Providing evidence is one thing. A complete analyse is quite a job and should be paid. No doubts.

As for asking peanuts, I don't agree with that either, but the problem is that the early translators from the under developed countries, started off with asking for peanuts, and they still are doing that, so if any other translator from these countries asks for proper rate from the companies, they don't give them work, as they can get other cheaper translators, so it is either we dont get work AT ALL, or we get it on the rates that have been set for our countries. But obviously if the translators wouldnt have started it off with low costs, we wouldn't be in such a position now. not much of a choice, is there?


I am not familiar with the "Urdu scene", but in my language pair (English to French), there are people charging EUR 0.03 per word and below. I charge EUR 0.10 in average. Some of my colleages charge EUR 0.15 and above. Based on a canadian association newsletter I read some time ago, "regular" rate is USD 0.20 (Yes, we are still talking freelance rates, not agency).

Now, I feel confortable at € 0.10. With experience, knowledge and marketing, I hopefully will be able to reach the € 0.15 bandwagon. I am not there yet. +/- €0.10 is relevant to the services I deliver at present.

Why do I bring this up? Because on what seems to be the same market, there is a 5x factor between bottom rates and top rates.

Urdu has probably different rates, as local costs of living are maybe not that similar to those you find in France or in Canada, but I would not be surprised to find out that you still have a wide range of prices.

When I am talking "peanuts", I of course refer to the standard of living your rates imply. At 0.03 per word, in France, I can assure you, you won't need to look for a diet program. That's barely enough to eat and perhaps pay the rent. On the positive side, you can economize on gaz, because you can't afford a car.

Now, I am well aware that €0.03 per word would get one a decent lifestyle in many countries.

If your rates provide you with an income on par with that of (for instance) a middle management executive in your country, that's not what I call peanuts.

I use the word "peanuts" to describe a rate that is barely enough to subsist on. And I persist on saying that peanuts attract mostly monkeys.

[Edited at 2003-11-29 18:32]


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