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Unprofessional Reviewing
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:32
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Dec 15, 2006

Dear Translators,

In my experience as a freelance translator/editor so far, I am always told in advance by the client if a translation will be edited, reviewed, or discussed for final version.

Anything runs very smoothly, discussions among the translator, the editor, and the reviewer, take place in a really objective and civilised manner. Opinions and suggestions are supported by scientific arguments.

However, recently I had a rather unpleasant experience - unprofessional reviewing by the end client's anonymous reviewer.

In the signed agreement with the agency, there is no any clause on reviewer. This project just involves a translator and an editor (myself).

About three or five days after on time delivery, I got an email from the agency: The client's reviewer said there are several flowery terms in the translation. They should be changed to formal terms.

I replied: This time, I have no idea of what he/she means by "flowery terms' without reading his/her comments. The reviewer had better send his/her review in written and highlight the alleged "flowery terms." I am ready for this discussion phase and charge my usual hourly rate.

The agency replied: The client's reviewer is currently has no time for discussion. He/she may do have time by the end of this . . . (month), which will be too late.

What comes next, the discussion phase is never realised. Fortunately, I received my money much sooner than the due date.

Your comments and shared experiences would be really appreciated.

Best Regards

Hipyan Nopri


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:32
Finnish to English
Standard practice Dec 15, 2006

It is, or should become, standard practice that if translators receive adverse comments on their work, they must be sent the details (often in the form of 'track changes'). If you don't receive any such material your position, in my view, is that you should not accept such comments. You should make this clear to the client/agent.

The revision of translation often involves subjective reasoning. But, ultimately, it is for your customer to demonstrate that the reviser's opinion is more valid than your own. This hierarchy of expertise can depend on may things: native (target) language competence, specialist knowledge, etc.


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 03:32
English to German
+ ...
Matter of taste Dec 15, 2006

Spencer Allman wrote:
The revision of translation often involves subjective reasoning. But, ultimately, it is for your customer to demonstrate that the reviser's opinion is more valid than your own. This hierarchy of expertise can depend on may things: native (target) language competence, specialist knowledge, etc.


While I agree with Spencer, I would say that reviewing a translation always involves subjective reasoning. That's human nature for you. However, it should be kept in check by a professional attitude, which clearly was not the case here.

In my opinion, using the phrase "flowery terms" clearly indicates that we're dealing with a matter of taste here, and it is up to your client (or rather the agency's client) to decide what they prefer. Unless you were expressly told to use a strictly formal style, you delivered a translation you thought does justice to the original. Quite obviously, it contained no technical or linguistic mistakes, or they would have been pointed out by the editor.

Having said that, I have no respect whatsoever for people who criticize other people's work in such a vague manner and then "have no time" to discuss the matter. Your client would probably be well advised to get rid of that reviewer, no matter what they ultimately decide regarding this particular translation.


[Edited at 2006-12-15 15:57]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Italian to English
+ ...
but,... Dec 15, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:


About three or five days after on time delivery, I got an email from the agency: The client's reviewer said there are several flowery terms in the translation. They should be changed to formal terms.

I replied: This time, I have no idea of what he/she means by "flowery terms' without reading his/her comments. The reviewer had better send his/her review in written and highlight the alleged "flowery terms." I am ready for this discussion phase and charge my usual hourly rate.

The agency replied: The client's reviewer is currently has no time for discussion. He/she may do have time by the end of this . . . (month), which will be too late.



No one can be expected to revise their document in line with the reviewer's wishes if they don't actually get to see what the reviewer's complaining about!


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 03:32
German to Polish
+ ...
It's so tiresome to deal with ignorant wannabees.... duh Dec 16, 2006

Cetacea wrote: I have no respect whatsoever for people who criticize other people's work in such a vague manner and then "have no time" to discuss the matter.


Yes! This is it.

Your client would probably be well advised to get rid of that reviewer, no matter what they ultimately decide regarding this particular translation.


Should they come to reason, they'd most likely do just that.


Marie-Helene sums it up very nicely and to the point:

Marie-Helene Hayles wrote:

No one can be expected to revise their document in line with the reviewer's wishes if they don't actually get to see what the reviewer's complaining about!



Regards,
Agnieszka

[Edited at 2006-12-16 00:45]


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