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Sliding scale of rates = sliding scale of quality?
Thread poster: Nikki Scott-Despaigne

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:04
French to English
Nov 5, 2001

I would like to pick up on an item arising out of another thread. A fellow Proz member indicated that when translating for a client who was going to use his work in-house, he only read through his work once, if at all. If he was told that the work was going to be published, then he would read it many times. I suppose he exagerated a little to make his point, never the less, I think that this is a dangerous practice and would strongly advise against it. Here\'s why.



If your client says that you need not worry about it being perfect, it\'s only for internal purposes, smile sweetly and do the job to the best of your ability anyway.



- Even if your translation remains in-house, can you prevent it ever being copied and pasted into a report which does end up being used externally?



- Your reputation hinges on what you produce. I would not go as far as saying that you are only as good as your last translation. If you have established a good working relationship with your client the odd mistake here and there can creep in and you will be forgiven - if they/you notice it in the first place. The same may not be true for a new client. And in either case, your credibility can be brought into question.



- It only takes one person (in-house or out) to criticise your work, whether rightly or wrongly, for you to find yourself on shaky ground.



- \"in-house\" tends to suggest a quick job, at a cheaper rate. Are you sure they would accept bad quality for a bad price? If they need the text translating it\'s because it has to be understood by someone they cannot communicate with on perfectly equal terms. It is a communicaiton tool. If they have something to say, they want to get it across well, not badly. Do your client justice and do a good job.



Do the best you can, always, as a general rule.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-05 03:39 ]


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CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 11:04
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Absolutely! or else, get it in writing. Nov 5, 2001

I agree with Nikki wholeheartedly.

A very close friend, however, had a disconcerting experience. The client was in a rush and demanded that the big job be subdivided between translators and done as fast as possible for in-house use only. The agency where my friend works obliged the client, BUT asked the client to put this requirement in writing and sign it. The client did. Two weeks later, when the client\'s legal department had had ample time to read the document (more time to read it than the translators had been given to translate it), the same department complained about the fact that the quality was not up to the usual standard! The agency produced the client\'s written agreement and really went to bat for the translators who had worked long and hard to fit in the client\'s deadline.

So, get it in writing, signed and countersigned.



best to all



paola l m



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big_fish  Identity Verified
Polish to English
+ ...
precautions are needed, but can't prevent problems Nov 6, 2001

The quality, time and resources ($$$) form a trade-off triangle. The thing is that you have to be able to discern (or discuss with the customer) what they could sacrifice. You cannot have all priorities and still keep the sides of triangle even.

(If you are interested in more information on this simple theory see the Microsoft MSF site.)

In other words – if you stick to your rule, you can turn out to be wrong as your rule may not be your customer’s rule.

Misunderstandings are bound to happen, nobody is perfect and you just have to put up with it. A document signed by the client can help resolve issues, however it does not prevent all problems. Hopefully you will not have to face them too often!

Regards,

Kris



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Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:04
French to English
Good idea! Nov 6, 2001

Getting it in writing is a brilliant idea. How many times have I had people say to me, \"Oh just do it, as fast as possible\", \"No, don\'t reread it, I need it now\" only to have complaints come back as the translation of course was not perfect! My aim is to educate clients to understand the time needed for a job to be done properly.. at least as long as it took the person to write the original, wouldn\'t you agree? Otherwise, getting the requirement for speed down in writing is a very good idea.

Mary


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Dave Simons
Local time: 17:04
French to English
Another reason to prefer non-Trados agencies... Feb 28, 2002

...since basically they\'re telling you to use someone else\'s translation blindfold (\"yes, yes, it\'s been, validated by a native speaker!\") and the quality of that part is not your concern. But when your work goes out, the end client can\'t see which are your bits and which are the other translator\'s. Even if the pre-translated parts are good, you\'re still going to have a curious mix of styles in the end product. So again, you\'re putting your reputation on the line.





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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 11:04
German to English
+ ...
Excellent! Thank you! Mar 1, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-02-28 14:36, mrquiz wrote:

...since basically they\'re telling you to use someone else\'s translation blindfold (\"yes, yes, it\'s been, validated by a native speaker!\") and the quality of that part is not your concern. But when your work goes out, the end client can\'t see which are your bits and which are the other translator\'s. Even if the pre-translated parts are good, you\'re still going to have a curious mix of styles in the end product. So again, you\'re putting your reputation on the line.









Absolutely. It has nothing to do with increasing one\'s productivity (as some firm CAT believers would repeatedly preach), but with your own reputation and liability. Right on, Dave, accepting a Workbench file or something like that means accepting somebody else\'s translation. The upshot: you end up revising at least parts of these (crappy) pre-translated passages, trying to harmonize the different styles and not getting paid for it (on the contrary, the agency will expect you to give them a hefty discount for that sort of privilege - \"kiss my .....\" ).



It is an iron rule for me: any agency that requires any kind of CAT software in their job postings or calls for CVs is automatically disqualified (most of them are only looking for \"discounts\", not quality). And the old excuse of using CAT to harmonize and coordinate a big project spread out among 5-10 translators is an old wives\' tale. As you, Dave, pointed out, any CAT project will be a hodgepodge of just as many different styles, and no matter how good your editors or proofreaders are, you will never achieve a single-style product that way (especially because most of these projects are executed under time pressure; otherwise, they would not have been split up among 5-10 translators to begin with).



Thank you, Dave, for your excellent input regarding CAT (sooooooooo true!).

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