Angel and Devil
Thread poster: Denyce Seow

Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 04:48
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
Dec 25, 2003

You have just finished and sent back a translation to your client. He is a new client whom you are working with for the second time. You did a perfect job for the first project and he was impressed with you....

2 hours later, while you were munching on your Lay's potato chips, your eyes floated over the original document lying on the desk.... and you shrieked, "Oh nooooooo, MISTAKE!!"

What should you do next??

ANGEL: Inform the client right away. Do the amendment and send him the amended version.

DEVIL: You're nuts??? What is the client going to think of you???? That you're too careless, too dumb???

ANGEL: But it's not right and unprofessional of me if I just pretend nothing's wrong...

DEVIL: They don't see it this way... if you are honest with them, they just see your mistake, not your honesty...

ANGEL: Still, I must be honest. And if I don't tell, I wouldn't live with myself!

DEVIL: This client likes you and you're going to screw this if you tell him you made such a boo boo....

ANGEL: But, but, but...

So, shall we listen to the angel or the devil????

I shall reveal the ending of this story after I get 5 comments on this topic... Interested to find out??? Then, SAY SOMETHING!!

p.s. Be honest...


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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
English to Chinese
+ ...
Speaking of the Angel... Dec 25, 2003

I would tell the client about the mistake. I have done it - informing mistakes - many times, and I think the clients have always appreciated it.

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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:48
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Definitely the ANGEL!! Dec 25, 2003

Yongmei Liu wrote:

the clients have always appreciated it.


I agree with Yongmei. I would also listen to the angel and tell the client.

If the client finds out later, then he/she will be even more disappointed and lose trust in you. If you send your corrections right away, you might be lucky and the client (if it is a translation agency) has not passed on the translation to their client.

I have had very positive response from clients whenever I asked them questions about the project. Sometimes I felt I asked them too much. But they always seemed to appreciate it. And for a recent long-term project with many single documents to translate, I chose different terms in later documents than in the first documents. That means I confessed to them that I had chosen a "bad / wrong term and later decided that another one would fit better. Their response was: "Thank you for pointing this out. It is normal with such long-term projects that you have to get used to the terminology."

Listen to your angel, Denyce!


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I would love to see denyce flying around like an angle. Dec 25, 2003

Hello, denyce, Yongmei and sundari,

Great messages!

I enjoyed reading all your thoughtful messages. If I were in the situation that denyce has, I would definitely inform the client and submit the revised version ASAP. I did this way in the past. But, there is one time happened to me that I made a revision to the previous version of my translation and submitted it to the client, the client said to me it was too late because the translation was already being put into press. But they asked me the reason for the revision and then decided to stick with the previous version. I felt the client at least made a well-informed decision.

The worst scenario is that the client did not know the problem and unexpectedly got negative critiques or challenges to your translation after it was put in use. By that time, the client would think of you negatively.

Well, I would love to see denyce flying around like an angle.

Kevin


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isahuang
Local time: 16:48
English to Chinese
+ ...
Go for the Angel Dec 25, 2003

[quote]sundari wrote:


I agree with Yongmei. I would also listen to the angel and tell the client.

If the client finds out later, then he/she will be even more disappointed and lose trust in you. If you send your corrections right away, you might be lucky and the client (if it is a translation agency) has not passed on the translation to their client.

I agree with Sundari. It is better to inform the client of the mistake than wait for the client to find it out by himself.


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 22:48
English to French
+ ...
careless, dumb ? Dec 26, 2003

denyce wrote:

DEVIL: You're nuts??? What is the client going to think of you???? That you're too careless, too dumb???



They cannot think that you are careless and dumb because you care enough to correct your mistake and smart enough to do it.


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 04:48
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Denyce... D for Devil??? Dec 26, 2003

And so I said after 5 comments, I will tell you what happened *druuuuumrooooooll** ......

THE ANGEL WON THE DAY!!

"Tough" decision. I was like a 10 years old, coming back from school with my petticoat torn during a catfight with Judy from the class next door. "If I tell mama, she might kill me. If I don't, she might find out and still kill me. So what's the deal??? Hmm... if I keep my mouth shut, maybe she would never realise it...." Well, this was honestly the thoughts that ding-donged in my head... I was stepping in and out of darkness and light. I don't feel ashamed to say that I did contemplate shutting one eye and pretending that nothing's wrong. I'm HUMAN afterall.

But in the end (after 5 minutes of struggle - ugly fight between D & A), I decided to be brave and face the music, rather than the guilt!! And it is not worth keeping the good faith of a client at the expense of my integrity, right???

I was doing a short translation of an adoption certificate. The mistake was in the name!! I misread 外 (wai) for 处 (chu) so can you imagine the consequence if someone's name is indicated wrongly in an adoption certificate???????? I would be so d*mned!!

I wrote an email to my client to "confess" and here's his comment: "Dear Denyce, Thanks a lot for the amended version. No worries at all, this translation is for an established client, who appreciates that translation is not an exact science."

See, honesty pays.....

Although I have revealed the ending of my story, the discussion can still go on. In fact, I am waiting to see if I can hear anymore DEVILS out there. Hello, anyone????? Yooo hooo???


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R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 05:48
German to English
+ ...
There are neither devils nor angels in this world -- only humans. Mar 10, 2004

The real test, Denyce, is not what your client says, but whether he or she asks you to do another translation. Yeah, let's wait and see....

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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 04:48
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
The client... Mar 10, 2004

He was understanding. I am still working with him and in fact, I just finished another project for him two days ago. I guess people do appreciate honesty and integrity.

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