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When you proofread a translation, do you make considerations about it to your client?
Thread poster: Ivana de Sousa Santos

Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:38
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Oct 20, 2005

Hello!

What I mean with this question is: do you explain your client what was wrong, if the translation was good or not, and so on, even when they don't ask you to do it?

I usually face this dilemma when handing out a proofread text to a client. I don't want to be nasty and say that the translator did these or those mistakes, because it may seem to the client that I want them to hire me as the translator the next time and it's not my point.

I also feel that I must state what I've changed if the client doesn't ask me to do the proofreading with "Track changes".

What do you do?

Thank you in advance for any answer.
Ivana


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Latvian to English
+ ...
Yes! Oct 20, 2005

As a translator I always welcome constructive feedback, therefore whenever I proofread translations I always provide feedback to the client, which I hope is then passed on to the translator. I've found that clients are always appreciative of this (nb. both positive and negative comments), and my aim has never been to try and take work away from another translator. Whether or not clients end up ditching other translators after I have proofread their work is ultimately up to them.

[Edited at 2005-10-20 11:55]


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
I ask for instructions Oct 20, 2005

Ivana de Sousa Santos wrote:

What do you do?



Hi Yvana,

I normally ask the client how they want the proofreading done and delivered. I mean, in case the doc allows Track changes, if they want it active or if the want the final clean document (or both). If it is not possible to Track changes, then ask if they want a detail of the changes made or not.

As regards commenting (apart from a general comment), I normally don't do it unless I'm expressly asked for it, or it's something that might need further analysing, or something that, for some reason, really deserves a comment. However, when I deliver I always tell them to contact me if they do not agree with any of my corrections or if they need any clarification.

My 2p
Grace.

[Edited at 2005-10-20 12:03]


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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:38
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
constructive feedback Oct 20, 2005

I usually give feedback in the form of brief comments (unless a form is supplied or specific instructions supplied), without detailing all corrections or changes, but trying to present them in a constructive way so they can be used as reference for future assignemnts to the same translator.
Along the lines of:
- a number of terminology inaccuracies. This can be improved on by making a more thorough use of the reference material provided.
- punctuation issues. For future reference, the following guidelines should be followed: bla bla bla
... and so on.
Always thinking that it should be used to strengthen the relationship with the translator, rather than undermining it.

Only once did I point out that the traslator used for a particular piece of very specialised text (which had been heavily misunderstood and hence mistranslated) would be better suited for less specialized texts...

Roberta

[Edited at 2005-10-20 12:24]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:38
English to German
+ ...
So do I Oct 20, 2005

Jana Teteris wrote:

As a translator I always welcome constructive feedback, therefore whenever I proofread translations I always provide feedback to the client, which I hope is then passed on to the translator. I've found that clients are always appreciative of this (nb. both positive and negative comments), and my aim has never been to try and take work away from another translator. Whether or not clients end up ditching other translators after I have proofread their work is ultimately up to them.

[Edited at 2005-10-20 11:55]


I usually pick out 1-2 most outstanding mistakes which I find in documents submitted for proograeading. I do not go after every single comma or dot I find. After all, I am not getting paid for writing letters to the client and do not want to spend too much time on writing what, possibly, nobody will pay attention to, once the job is done, one way or the other.

It has happened quite some times that I was aked to "proofread" translations which were, obviously, done by people who do not have a proper command of the subject ot the source/target language, or all of this together.

I f I don't tell the client, next time he will come up with the same crap for "proofreading", the non-professional will earn more than me, and I will always end up cleaning up 80-90 per cent of the bad job he/she is doing. Why should I, and why shouildn't I get the job next time, once I can do it better?


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I never make changes in the document; only suggest them. Oct 20, 2005

When I proofread, I usually work the old-fashioned way, with red ink on a hard copy. I write explanations of all suggested changes that go beyond the occasional typo or comma. Sometimes I rewrite an entire sentence, even suggesting a couple of different versions because the original meaning is unclear to me. If I have to send my work via Internet, I insert my corrections and suggestions in red, using square brackets. I make no changes in the original document; the client decides, in each case, whether or not to make the change.

I have 3 reasons for this, which I explain to the client before beginning the job:
1) I defer to the client's expertise in his/her own field; I don't want to risk making a change that may affect some nuance of meaning.
2) This way the client can easily see and evaluate my work.
3) This way the client can use my feedback to improve his/her English writing skills.

Almost all my proofreading work (other than that done for a colleague at an agency, as a mutual courtesy) has been on texts written in English by a client for whom English is a second language. If asked to proofread someone else's translation, my request would be to let me mark suggested changes and then give it back to the original translator to either make the changes or defend his/her original. I wouldn't want some other unknown translator tampering with my work, with no chance to defend myself! And, I would want helpful feedback so that I can improve.

[Edited at 2005-10-20 16:03]


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Track changes Oct 20, 2005

JaneTranslates wrote:

When I proofread, I usually work the old-fashioned way, with red ink on a hard copy. I write explanations of all suggested changes that go beyond the occasional typo or comma. Sometimes I rewrite an entire sentence, even suggesting a couple of different versions because the original meaning is unclear to me. If I have to send my work via Internet, I insert my corrections and suggestions in red, using square brackets. I make no changes in the original document; the client decides, in each case, whether or not to make the change.



Hi Jane, this is exactly the point of using Track changes. The client receives a document with all the changes/additions/deletions marked and they can accept or reject individually whatever they consider necessary.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Please explain about "track changes" Oct 20, 2005

Graciela Carlyle wrote:

Hi Jane, this is exactly the point of using Track changes. The client receives a document with all the changes/additions/deletions marked and they can accept or reject individually whatever they consider necessary.




Please explain what you mean. Software? How to access?


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
it's a Word function Oct 20, 2005

JaneTranslates wrote:
Please explain what you mean. Software? How to access?


In Word, you can either press Ctrl+Shift+E, which toggles between Track changes active and inactive.
Or go to Tools - Track changes and tick the first box.

All the changes made to the document after that will be recorded and shown in red, or other colour.
When finished proofreading, if you/your client right click on the changes, they can accept or reject the changes one by one (or accept/reject all by menu).

[Edited at 2005-10-20 17:28]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I was afraid you would say "Word." Oct 20, 2005

Thanks, Grace! I was hoping you wouldn't say "Word," since that program has decided to shut itself down on my computer. I re-install and it works for a few days, then I can't access it again. I need to upgrade anyway, just putting it off.

You have just given me the second of the only two reasons I know of to prefer MS Word, the first being "universal acceptance"! I could give you zillions (well, several) for preferring WordPerfect, starting with "Reveal Codes." But it looks like this maverick is going to have to start going with the flow (and maybe someday I'll also stop mixing metaphors).

Thanks again. This is something I needed to know about.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 16:38
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
You shouldn't worry Oct 20, 2005

Giving your client a summary of the changes you applied is never wrong. As my colleagues already said, some clients would even ask for using (track changes) option when proofing a document.

Another point is that comments shouldn't always be negative. I proofread some documents before that barely needed any corrections, and I sent my clients telling them that the translator they hired was perfect. Other documents, on the other hand, had to be almost re-written, I recall a medical document which I had to proofread before back-translating it; that document was a disaster! It was translated from French into Arabic, but it seemed to me as if who translated it was rather Chineese; some Arabic terms used were personally invented ... don't you think a client would appreciate knowing that?? Well, I had to send my client a comment about that!

The first case would provide a colleague with a free marketing speech that would get him/ her the appreciation he/ she deserves. The second case would save the client from future disasters and even increase the chances of better translators.

A third case may be when a document needs some changes, but the general translations isn't so bad after all. In that case, providing comments for the changes you apply should give your client a better understanding of your work, and give the original translator a second opinion in his/ her work. That's as if a free evaluation of that translator's work ...

[Edited at 2005-10-20 17:58]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Of course, give positive comments as well! Oct 20, 2005

Dina Abdo wrote:

Another point is that comments shouldn't always be negative.


You're absolutely right, and I'm so glad you mentioned it! I always try to encourage others and express comments in a positive way. In the case of the really terrible translation, we owe it to the client to tell the truth, but we can still couch it as gently as possible: "I feel this translator may be working outside his/her stronger languages/subject fields," or something of the sort.


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Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
I am with you Oct 21, 2005

JaneTranslates wrote:

I could give you zillions (well, several) for preferring WordPerfect, starting with "Reveal Codes." But it looks like this maverick is going to have to start going with the flow (and maybe someday I'll also stop mixing metaphors).



Word Perfect is a true professional word processor. It is extremely powerful, stable, with plenty of really useful and sensibly designed features which allow full control of everything. Unfortunaly the market rules, and we are forced to use Word most of the time.

Regards,
Cristóbal


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