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Having to read again after a proofreader
Thread poster: Lyne

Lyne
Local time: 17:20
English to French
Jul 16, 2004

Greetings you all !

First, I hope I am posting on the right forum

I need some opinions, advice, anything nearly, on what is happening to me at the moment.

3 months ago I was chosen for the translation of a video game (thanks Proz )

We were two french translators, working closely on this game, divided into many little files, and a huge last file.

Let me say I am not complaining at all about the job. The game itself is real fun to translate and the client is a joy to work with.

No, my problem is this : the last huge file was sent to a proofreader. And my client sent me back the "corrections".

The other translator and I read them and went ... red.
Here is why :
- Spelling mistakes were added by the proofreader.
- She changed the name of some items (which must match the names in the other files, or the game will not work properly or even the players will be lost)
- She totally changed the way of speaking and behaviour of the most important character (this game is a number 2, the hero is already known by the players), transforming a sort of riffraff who swears and makes sentences poorly built (I'm gonna get ya !) into a good-mannered boy (I am going to blablabla) and such.

-She changed the names of places, with no obvious reason.

- She transformed gaming terms into everyday terms.

- She changed the name of some characters.

- The list goes on and on.

I was bold enough to tell my client what I thought of the proofreading.

He told me to get in touch with the proofreader to get an agreement, which I did. Not too mildly, I'll admit, but quoting every type of mistake and asking for explanations on most of the changes.
Of course, there were some (few) spelling mistakes that she corrected, nothing to say about that.
But I was sort of sent to hell by the proofreader, who just told me she was doing her job and making her best to present her client with an acceptable translation.


My colleague tried a more diplomatic approach, with the same result.

What can we do ? Did that happen to you ?

The result of the proofreader is a text that cannot be used for the game, with spelling mistakes, a principal character that's not the same at all than in the first game, items changed everywhere, in brief, a work torn to pieces.

Thanks to all who will answer.

Lyne.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:50
English to Tamil
+ ...
Take the client into confidence Jul 16, 2004

After all it is the client who has to decide. Both of you can make the defects cropping up due to proofreading known to the client. If the client knows what is good for him, he will call for independent opinion. If need be the proof reader can be confronted in the client's presence.

Just write a cogent note listing all your points and ask the client to get point by point reply from the proofreader. One more thing. Do acknowledge the genuine mistakes pointed out by the proofreader. In that way your criticism of her will be found to be more objective.

Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:20
French to English
+ ...
What a mess! Jul 16, 2004

Hi Lyne,

I have to say that I am on your side. Surely, however, this is the responsibility of the agency with whom you are working? It was up to them to employ a proofreader who understands the complexity of translations for the video game industry, and the consistency which needs to be involved in this type of work.

I also find it strange that you were told to get in touch with the proofreader to 'sort things out' - surely, again, this is the responsiblity of the agency again?

Just stick to your guns - you have done all you can in informing the agency of the problems. Now, if their client complains to them when the game doesn't work as it should, you cannot be held responsible for this in any way.

Bon weekend...et bonne chance!!!

Paul


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 08:20
English to French
+ ...
Join the club! Jul 16, 2004

I think we all went through this at some point in our careers. You should probably tell your client that this proofreader doesn't know what she's doing, and suggest a good proofreader. After all, your client has no way -beside your feedback- to know how good or bad a proofreader is. He should be grateful for your input, and for suggesting a good proofer.
Good luck!


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 13:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Talk to your client Jul 16, 2004

This is not new. When this has happened to me, what I have done is to present a professional, impassionate defense of my translation. Don't worry about the spelling mistakes made by the proofreader, that is not where the importance lies.

You must present your client with solid reasons why your rendering of the original text is better than the proofreader.

Pick specific passages changed by the proofer and explain how the changes introduced by the proofer will affect the game. Provide support for your statements.

Above all, make sure that your presentation is neither a personal attack on the proofreader, nor does it look like you are making excuses for your self. It is important that the client understands that you are looking out for his best interests, not to protect your reputation.

Offer to have a third, neutral translator take a look at your defense and to act as an arbitrator.

HIH,

Ricardo


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Make your point - with solid facts Jul 16, 2004

Ricardo Martinez de la Torre wrote:


You must present your client with solid reasons why your rendering of the original text is better than the proofreader.

Pick specific passages changed by the proofer and explain how the changes introduced by the proofer will affect the game. Provide support for your statements.

Above all, make sure that your presentation is neither a personal attack on the proofreader, nor does it look like you are making excuses for your self. It is important that the client understands that you are looking out for his best interests, not to protect your reputation.

Offer to have a third, neutral translator take a look at your defense and to act as an arbitrator.

HIH,

Ricardo


Excellent advice, and all you can do.After all, it's your reputation at stake. You have to defend your position and the decisions you made in translating.

Except Ricardo's point about a 'neutral' translator - how do you choose one? Should YOU choose one, etc? In this case you might need to contact a prifessional association, who - if you are a member - may be able to advise you. In theory, these defend the profession and not individuals...so their final opinion should be acceptable to all parties.

On the subject of defending the profession: nobody should be allowed to get away with passing themselves off as something they are clearly not. In the long run this benefits everyone.

[Edited at 2004-07-16 21:11]


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 17:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Proofreading? Jul 17, 2004

Lyne wrote:

The other translator and I read them and went ... red.
Here is why :
- Spelling mistakes were added by the proofreader.
- She changed the name of some items (which must match the names in the other files, or the game will not work properly or even the players will be lost)
- She totally changed the way of speaking and behaviour of the most important character (this game is a number 2, the hero is already known by the players), transforming a sort of riffraff who swears and makes sentences poorly built (I'm gonna get ya !) into a good-mannered boy (I am going to blablabla) and such.

-She changed the names of places, with no obvious reason.

- She transformed gaming terms into everyday terms.

- She changed the name of some characters.

- The list goes on and on.

I was bold enough to tell my client what I thought of the proofreading.
Lyne.


Bonjour, Lyne. What this proofreader did was not proofreading, it was re-translation by the look of it. By doing so, this proofreader takes responsibility for whatever goes wrong thereafter due to those changes. A responsibility s/he's most likely not even paid for. I work with proofreaders myself, great, knowledgeable people who come back to me regularly with suggestions that greatly enhance the final outcome of the task in hand, which is what really matters, not egos. We work together, that is, not against each other, and we even discuss issues and confront points of view via mail or messenger. But the final decision is mine, for it's me, not them, who'll be held responsible if the translation is not up to standards. And they know that too.
You did well to inform the agency. Your responsibility ends there, it's not your job to enter into a tug-of-war with a proofreader.
My one and a half pennies
P

[Edited at 2004-07-17 01:39]


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Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:20
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I agree. Jul 17, 2004

Paul Roigé wrote:

By doing so, this proofreader takes responsibility for whatever goes wrong thereafter due to those changes. A responsibility s/he\'s most likely not even paid for. I work with proofreaders myself, great, knowledgeable people who come back to me regularly with suggestions that greatly enhance the final outcome of the task in hand, which is what really matters, not egos. We work together, that is, not against each other, and we even discuss issues and confront points of view via mail or messenger. But the final decision is mine, for it\'s me, not them, who\'ll be held responsible if the translation is not up to standards. And they know that too.
You did well to inform the agency. Your responsibility ends there, it\'s not your job to enter into a tug-of-war with a proofreader.
My one and a half pennies
P

[Edited at 2004-07-17 01:39]



I agree 100%.

Sormane


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Lyne
Local time: 17:20
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks ! Jul 17, 2004

Thank you all for your kind answers !

As it happens, my client called me yesterday late afternoon to tell me he was supporting me 100 %, and that we translators would take the final decisions in the corrections.

We agreed this work was in no way proofreading (by the way the real proofreading was not totally done either. For the french speakers, we had Ca instead of Ça everywhere - because my copy of Excel did not accept them :/ - and she corrected those, fine and good I say, but she didn't correct them everywhere ...)
Still, there were a very few spelling mistakes that she corrected, fine and good too and we'll keep those corrections.
All the rest, concerning the game background, we are entitled to re-correct.

Thanks all for your answers, I was afraid I was doing the wrong thing, you and my client showed me I was not.


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:20
German to English
+ ...
Table of Corrections Jul 18, 2004

Hi Lyne,

I'm glad it worked out already, although it seems a shame your time has been wasted (but I know what that's like!)

I just wanted to agree with what everyone said and say that in such cases a table of corrections can be a good idea. I.e.:
Column 1 - Original version
Column 2 - Your translation
Column 3 - Corrected version
Column 4 - Your comment, i.e. unnecessary stylistic change, gramatically incorrect, improvement, etc.

As I think has been mentioned, it is also important to admit if the proofreader has improved parts, even though you might often just feel like strangling them for distorting the translation ... This makes the whole thing seem more objective.

I hope "correcting the corrections" doesn't take you too long. Maybe you can just go through them and mark what was an improvement (not much by the sounds of things), then insert this in your original translation.

ATB,

Sarah


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Lyne
Local time: 17:20
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Indeed ! Jul 18, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:
I just wanted to agree with what everyone said and say that in such cases a table of corrections can be a good idea. I.e.:
Column 1 - Original version
Column 2 - Your translation
Column 3 - Corrected version
Column 4 - Your comment, i.e. unnecessary stylistic change, gramatically incorrect, improvement, etc.

Sarah

That is funny, that is nearly exactly what I thought I would do

I thought to do µ
1. Original translation
2. Proofer\'s translation
3. Translation to be kept
4. Reason, comments.

Thank you Sarah


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