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Bad experience with 2 Japanese translators. Please tell us what we should do.
Thread poster: ksbtranslation

ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
May 29, 2007

Dear All,

I just had a very bad experience with 2 Japanese translators. Our agency accepted an order to translate 6721 words English file into Japanese with a loose deadline. The client placed this order on May 27 dan the job must be completed on May 29 at 8:00 GMT. The time is of the essence.

I offerred this job to 4 Japanese translators. The first response came from our regular translator who confirmed that he would be able to do the whole project despite of his technical background. I have informed him that this is a legal translation. If he could not do it, do not take it all because we could split it with other translators. However, he insisted on doing so. I agreed to assign him the whole project, provided that he could confirm it to me before 10 a.m. on that day if he changed his mind. Around 11 am I received an email from another translator who could do the whole project too. But I declined since I had assigned it to the 1st translator. I was so shocked to hear a bad news from the 1st translator around 8 p.m. stating that he could not do this job.

Then I rushed to the 2nd translator to beg for his help and was so happy to find that he could do it. However, the 2nd translator also disappointed me. He failed to complete the whole project by illogical reason. He said that he had to start the project all over again because he found that the files already translated by the previous translator had different legal terms (FYI, pages 1-7 have been done by the other translator assigned by the client and this file was sent to us 2 hours before the deadline). In fact I had told the translator that he should not be worried with such differences and just did the best he could. I was so surpised to find that he had erased all the work he had done in the last minutes without informing me. Nobody could do 6721 words translation within such a short time. Now I had a dispute with the client who threatened us to make a report to Proz although I had stated that she did not have to pay for the 3 pages translation completed by our translator and we would be willing to give her more discounts and perhaps some free translation in the future jobs as a compensation.

Please tell us what we should do. This is our first experience.

Iwan
KSBTranslation.com



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-05-29 15:26]

[Edited at 2007-05-29 15:45]


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 03:39
English to German
+ ...
What are you so worried about? May 29, 2007

Hick-ups do happen. Did the translators see the translation before they accepted it?

The most important thing is to pacify your client and honestly tell them that you were let down by the translators [you hired...] for the first time [which is the truth: remember to tell the truth, nobody believes lies as they can be easily detected]. But do not simply blame the translators, it is you who hired them...your client will consider you responsible...

Iwan, you seem to be pretty new to this trade. Is KSB your translation company or are you just working for them and they have thrown you in at the deep end?

I would ask a third person's opinion on the difficulty of the text. And here is another piece of advice, which translation agencies need to hear, beware of splitting jobs because of the vocab issue...

This is where I had rather stop, so others can freely share their opinion and give you moral support ...:).


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Being sorry is not enough. May 29, 2007

We have been running this agency since 1997. We never had such an experience before.

I realize that this is also our fault. We have done what you told us to do. But I think this is not enough.


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Serious Problem May 29, 2007

As a rule I always work with university translators, experts on different areas.

who proofread the job before sending it to the client?

A.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The job was not completed. How could we proofread it? May 29, 2007

The two translators did not complete this job. The 1st one did not do any single word. The 2nd one only submitted 3 out of 19 pages . They seemed to be dishonest with us.

We know the 1st translator very well as he is our regular translator. He is also a Phd of a famous unversity in Japan which should be more careful to make any decision. But this is our bad day.


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well... May 29, 2007

If the customer is well acquainted with your agency, i guess, He/she will understand.

Try to explain this situation to your customer. I do hope he is the final one.

A-

[Edited at 2007-05-29 17:41]


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Both have seen the file and realize all the consequences. May 29, 2007

Martin Wenzel wrote:

Hick-ups do happen. Did the translators see the translation before they accepted it?


Yes, indeed. I also have reminded the 1st translator that this job still could be split with other translators. But he refused to collaborate. They must have known the consequences.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice May 29, 2007

Alicia Casal wrote:

If the customer is well acquainted with your agency, i guess, He/she would understand.


I am afraid this is a new client.

Try to explain this situation to your customer. I do hope he is the final one.


But both translators are very nice to us. I do not want to let the customer have a bad image on them. I think everybody makes mistakes. I can understand this situation.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Even if both translators are "very nice"... May 29, 2007

... They seem decidedly unprofessional. The first one insisted on taking on a rush job in a highly specialised field in which he had no experience (personally, I don't think you should have offered it to him - let alone allow him to "insist" on taking it). He then realised his mistake and left you in the lurch.

The second one first failed to follow your instructions and then failed to deliver anything at all!

What's so "nice" about that? I agree that everyone makes mistakes, but behaviour like this is only understandable in inexperienced newcomers, not professional translators


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Hendarto Setiadi  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Maybe nice, but not professional May 29, 2007

These translators may be the nicest people on earth, but both have harmed your business. Because of them you are likely to loose a client and your agency's image may become tarnished - globally, if your client decides to take this to ProZ.com. As an earlier poster has suggested, try your best to pacify your client, and make sure that your translators understand the consequences of their actions (or rather, inactions). Let them know that their reputations are on the line, too.

Best,
HS


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Nobuo Kameyama  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 10:39
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
What it takes to be a professional translator... May 29, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

... They seem decidedly unprofessional. The first one insisted on taking on a rush job in a highly specialised field in which he had no experience (personally, I don't think you should have offered it to him - let alone allow him to "insist" on taking it). He then realised his mistake and left you in the lurch.

The second one first failed to follow your instructions and then failed to deliver anything at all!

What's so "nice" about that? I agree that everyone makes mistakes, but behaviour like this is only understandable in inexperienced newcomers, not professional translators


As far as I read this thread, I totally agree with Marie. Indeed the two Japanese translators are not professional. Iwan, I want to hear what the two translators have to say. So could you please let them know that their unprofessional behaviour has become a topic of interest on ProZ and they may risk losing their honor?


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They are often praised by the previous clients May 29, 2007

Nobuo Kameyama wrote:

Iwan, I want to hear what the two translators have to say. So could you please let them know that their unprofessional behaviour has become a topic of interest on ProZ and they may risk losing their honor?


They did not care about losing their honor although they surely felt guilty too. FYI, the first translator's work was very good and often praised by our previous clients. This is the reason why I trusted him when he said he could do the whole project. We also never entered into any contract since we trusted each other.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In fact they are professional translators, but... May 30, 2007

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

... They seem decidedly unprofessional.


But the 1st translator used to produce a quality translation. He could even manage a situation in which he was pushed to do a simultaneous interpreting job assigned by us a few years ago in a professional manner although it was his first experience.

We are new to the 2nd translator. Knowing that he failed complete this job, he always blamed on the 1st one.

I agree that everyone makes mistakes, but behaviour like this is only understandable in inexperienced newcomers, not professional translators


The 1st translator has more than 15 years experience. Why shouldn't I call him a professional?


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:39
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'd rather lose a client than quality translator. May 30, 2007

Hendarto Setiadi wrote:

Because of them you are likely to loose a client and your agency's image may become tarnished - globally, if your client decides to take this to ProZ.com.


I'd rather lose a client than quality translator. Indeed, we felt sorry about what happened to the client since we also had the same experience a long time ago when we were in her position. The client may bring us some money, but we cannot survive without such a quality translator.

[Edited at 2007-05-30 01:25]


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Nicole Johnson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:39
Italian to English
+ ...
One thing nobody has mentioned so far... May 30, 2007

is the fact that the deadline was so tight. Surely this was part of the problem. If one translator did the job alone, and IF he had a full 48 hours to complete the translation (which I doubt was the case), that would mean he would have to do 3000-3500 words per day (which is feasible, but difficult, in my opinion). However, this would leave the agency very little time for proofreading and checking the final translation.

ksbtranslation wrote:

Our agency accepted an order to translate 6721 words English file into Japanese with a loose deadline. The client placed this order on May 27 dan the job must be completed on May 29 at 8:00 GMT. The time is of the essence.


Perhaps in the future, you can stress to your clients the importance of allowing the translators a sufficient amount of time to translate the text so that they can be ensured a quality product. This of course would mean they would have to do a little bit of planning around their translation jobs.

I often wonder how people who expect translators to churn out a ridiculous amount of material in a short period of time think they will end up with the best possible product. I believe one of the duties of translation agencies should also be to help clients plan their translation projects in such a way as to end up with a good-quality translation with minimal stress for everyone involved.


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