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Errors on a translation - Advice
Thread poster: Maria Belarra

Maria Belarra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 13, 2004

Hello all,

Last Sunday I rendered a fairly large project (a 200 page specialized manual) which had taken me over 3 months.

Today I received an e-mail from my client saying that they have checked the first too pages and that they found many errors (eight, but I know there shouldn't be any). Two are unfortunate choices of words, the other six are typos. They ask me to proofread all over again.

I did proofread the text, of course- I went on editing and reedting it until I couldn't tell a good spelling from a mispelling.

Proofreading it all again will take me, at least, ten days, probably more.

My question is: is it reasonable to ask me to proofread 200 pages after having checked only two? Is it all my fault and should just put up with it? What do you think?

Thank you very much for being there


[Edited at 2004-07-13 08:50]


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xxxncfialho  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Typos Jul 13, 2004

Hi Maria,

In what format have you delivered the translation?

Did you use a CAT?

Didnt you use spell checking to avoid typos?

Isnt there any software for spanish spell checking besides the one in Word (in case it isnt good, which I dont know).

Hope more advice is coming in

Have a nice day,
Natália


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Maria Belarra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CAT and spelling tools Jul 13, 2004

Hello Natalia,

Thanks. I feel better

I couldn't use a CAT since the source text has delivered on hard copy (paper).

I did use the Word spelling tool, of course, and revised the text after every time I edited it. However, this tool doesn't detect "typos" if the "mistaken" word already exists. For example, a sentence like "el procedimiento está preparada" would pass undetected.

Revising it again with the Word spelling tool seems the "middle solution", but I don't think it's going to make such a difference.

Any suggestions?


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:10
German to English
+ ...
ONLY repeat proofread if the first proofread was, in your opinion, insufficient. Jul 13, 2004

Maria Belarra wrote:

Hello all,

Last Sunday I rendered a fairly large project (a 200 page specialized manual) which had taken me over 3 months.

Today I received an e-mail from my client saying that they have checked the first too pages and that they found many errors (eight, but I know there shouldn't be any). Two are unfortunate choices of words, the other six are typos. They ask me to proofread all over again.

I did proofread the text, of course- I went on editing and reedting it until I couldn't tell a good spelling from a mispelling.

Proofreading it all again will take me, at least, ten days, probably more.

My question is: is it reasonable to ask me to proofread 200 pages after having checked only two? Is it all my fault and should just put up with it? What do you think?

Thank you very much for being there


[Edited at 2004-07-13 08:47]


Hi Maria,

Is this client of yours an agency or an end customer? If they are an agency, I think that they should also be responsible for proofreading your text. I agree that you should try and supply an error-free text, but errors can always creep in (particularly typos, etc.) because we are only human. Usually typos (at least most of them) can however be avoided using Word's spell-check function, but maybe I'm missing something and you did this. I work with agencies myself and as they pay less than direct customers I really feel that they too (in addition to the translator) should make a contribution to quality assurance - I don't see why they should just be able to send the text off without even giving it a second glance, but unfortunately some do and it's really irresponsible.

However, a new eye can always find new mistakes and mistakes are also often subjective. In your position, I would explain to the customer that you have already proof-read it thoroughly and are unable to spend the next 10 days doing so. If they like, they are welcome to proofread the text and mark the errors so that you can comment on them afterwards - If needs be give them a discount, but to be quite honest I hardly ever give discounts unless a text really is bad (but obviously I try to avoid this in the first place). From my experience, a lot of companies just try it on to get a discount, so you have to be careful.

The bottom line is, if they are claiming the text is so bad that it needs to be proofread again, they really should have to prove it and no, 2 pages are not representative. If they are able to prove it however, then yes I would proofread the text again. I basically agree with what the others here are saying, with the addition that I would still be careful.



Good luck!

Sarah



[Edited at 2004-07-13 10:21]


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Yes Jul 13, 2004

Dear Maria,

I would proofread the text again. Six typos should have been caught by your spelling program. I realize that re-reading and re-reading can drive a person crazy, but you did agree to deliver a usable document. You could have a friend proofread or if you have the time proofread in sections, with litle treats in between to clear your head and provide motivation. I also find that I make fewer mistakes in the beginning than at the end, simply because I am fresher. So 8 errors in the first 2 pages, would scare and embarrass me.

Good luck
LInda (PS I turned this mistake, which I always make anyway into my "signature").


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:10
Member (2003)
German to English
From the other point of view Jul 13, 2004

I've worked as a book editor so I can tell you the other side's point of view: if the translated text isn't properly spellchecking and proofread, then the job isn't finished and they're under no obligation to pay you until it is. They can justifiably dock from your pay if they feel forced to hire an outside proofreader. These are the responsibilities we take on as translators when we take on a job.

Bottom line: I'd consider proofing it again, preferably using a (different? better?) spellchecker, or consider subcontracting one of your Proz colleagues to do the checking and eating the financial hit.

Good luck!

Steven

p.s. Sarah's message snuck in while I was typing mine, so I'll clarify: the standard error threshold for US book publishing is 1 typo per single spaced page.

[Edited at 2004-07-13 09:15]


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xxxncfialho  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
German to Portuguese
+ ...
How did you proofread? Jul 13, 2004

Hello again,
how did you proofread? On the screen or on paper?
I prefer to proofread on paper, far away from the computer
Cant you use another spell checking tool?
For german there exists the DUDEN and for portuguese exists FLiP.

Good work,
Natália


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Maria Belarra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for letting me see the two sides of the coin Jul 13, 2004

Some points:

I revised it both manually (the whole book, once and the sore parts, twice) and authomatically (twice, just in case). Maybe the tool for the authomatic revision was not that good. Any advice?

My "client" is precisely a book publishing house, and not too used to work with translators. I know this is no excuse for rendering a not completely error-free text, but I do feel that giving a final glance to their texts is part of their responsibility.

Asking them to pay for the revision is out of question, I know them

Thanks a lot.

[Edited at 2004-07-13 09:31]


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Maria Belarra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jul 13, 2004


how did you proofread? On the screen or on paper?


Both... On paper, and then again on screen for the most difficult parts.

That's why I do not feel that the proofreading was insufficient. Apparently its results were


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:10
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Send it to a proofreader Jul 13, 2004

I never consider any of my texts 100% correct. My German texts go to a German proof-reader, the English texts (I rarely try to produce) to an English proof-reader and the Dutch texts to a Dutch proof-reader. A customer (direct or agency) will not get any text that has not been checked by a second person. The only exceptions to this rule are test translations. In this case however I make it very clear that the text has not been checked by a proof-reader. It might cost you some money. The hassle you might have, doing it all yourself, is not worth it. Still this might not mean that you are out of trouble, I just had to replace my English proof-reader to improve the quality of the proofing.
If we want to be considered professional, and if we want to charge "professional" fees, we have to deliver quality. And using an external proof-reader is a very good method to improve quality.


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:10
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Spelling AND grammar checks Jul 13, 2004

Just thought I'd add my two eurocents here.
Before I turn anything in, I always run a spelling AND grammar check. It takes a little bit longer if you include the grammar check, but it is well worth every second.
Often I have to tell the grammar check to leave the sentence as it (it doesn't like passive sentences, for example), but it DOES pick up on things like "the books is". Things like this happen when you've been working on a text so long you just don't see silly typos like that.
Word offers a spelling/grammar check, so why not use both? I think this would have picked up on your example of "el procedimiento està...", in which there is no spelling error but a grammatical one.
You can certainly explain the choice of one word over another, but there is no way you can explain grammatical or spelling errors.
If I were you, I would reread the entire text -- honestly, I can't see why it would take 10 days! -- and then I'd run a spelling+grammar check before submitting it.
Catherine


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Tansy  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:10
Member (2008)
German to English
It's worth checking it again Jul 13, 2004

cbolton wrote:


If I were you, I would reread the entire text -- honestly, I can\'t see why it would take 10 days! -- and then I\'d run a spelling+grammar check before submitting it.
Catherine


I tend to agree with Catherine. I think that keeping the customer happy (with the aim of getting future work) should be top priority. Although slips can happen, I can understand the customer not being happy about 8 mistakes on two pages - even if it isn\'t representative of the rest of the text. I\'d also advise you to grin and bear it and check the whole lot again.

I often work with other freelancers and I always apply my quality standards to their work. Even though the time I put into checking other people\'s work sometimes means that I\'m not making any money from the jobs, my priority is keeping the customer happy by delivering quality every time i.e. spending extra time on the job is worth it in the long term in my opinion.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:10
Member (2004)
English to Italian
tight deadline? Jul 13, 2004

lack of time is our worst enemy...

Giovanni


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Maria Belarra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:10
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, everyone Jul 13, 2004

Thanks, everyone, for your comments of support and wise critic. You made me see things easier.

My texts are never, ever, 100% correct. I am quite obsessed about it I read and reread until the hour before the deadline (which of course was tight..) . This may have driven me crazy.

I'll have another go at it, with more time; stress never helps. Nevertheless I'll let the client know that the final proofreading should be made by a fresh pair of eyes.

Thanks a lot!



[Edited at 2004-07-13 12:54]


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Time constraints vs large jobs vs quality Jul 13, 2004

Hi Maria,

Nice to know you will have another go to ensure your work is almost 100% perfect.

I just thought I would also give you my opinion. I often work on rather large jobs and after finishing the translation I run a spellchecker. However, since I know those tools are not perfect I always read my translation and proofread it on paper as a second person would do. To avoid stress, I have a good time schedulling process: 2500 words translated per day and 10k proofread per day after translation is finished. For a 80k project I would need 48 days.

This gives me plenty of time to do a good job and ensure that I avoid obvious mistakes (at least). Our job is never 100% perfect but that should be the aim.

I know this might seem unreasonable when clients have urgent jobs but for me urgency is the worst enemy so if I feel I cannot have a clear mind during the whole translation process because a client is pressing with a deadline, I just turn the project down.

I also do quite a lot of proofreading for agencies and find that many translators don't even read their own translations before delivery which is surely a bad principle and gets me "fuming".

I was very pleased to see that although you had revised this job of yours more than once you will do it once again. Believe me that after a time interval and with a clear mind you will spot any faults more easily.

All the best
Mónica Machado
English into Portuguese translator


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