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Mistranslation - inform client?
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
May 14, 2006

I think may have mistranslated something (not too serious, but could cause embarassment). What should I do, bury my head in the sand and hope no one will ever find out... or inform the client? It wasn't a very important job, but I still feel guilty for doing such a poor job.

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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 06:24
Member (2005)
English to German
Inform them! May 14, 2006

Good morning
I always try to inform anyone of any mistake I have made that may affect them (in translation and otherwise) - it turns out that people appreciate it. It feels awkward at first, but don't be shy!
Have a nice day,
Ricki


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:24
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Notify them May 14, 2006

I agree with Ricki, you might feel embarassed but I believe that your client will appreciate the fact that you are being honest and that you care about the final result.
Much better than getting a note from the proofreader or a complaint...

Ciao, have a nice day, D.


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milinad  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
Member (2006)
German to English
Ethical to inform the client May 14, 2006

It is always professional and ethical to inform the client in case you have made a mistake rather than sitting tight and hoping that client does not notice it. Clients would appreciate if you admit your mistake and present them with corrected version

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Corza
Mexico
Local time: 23:24
English to Spanish
Don't be embarrased May 14, 2006

Don't be embarrased, notify your client. This may happen to anyone. I've found that it is not so easy to tell the client where is the mistake or the missing part over the phone. It is easier to call the client and tell him you have been re-reading your translation (he would be very grateful for this) and that there are certain details you would like to change and for that reason you are sending him a new copy marked "final" that includes all your changes. Don´t tell him exactly what are the changes unless he asks you. Good luck - Corza

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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:24
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
as soon as possible May 14, 2006

I'm sure that your client will appreciate the notification.

Honesty is a rare and precious quality, don't miss the chance to show it.

take care

tex


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 13:24
English to Japanese
+ ...
the later you find mistake, the more difficult your decision would be May 15, 2006

I agree with all in that it's preferable, and even part of our responsibility, to inform the client when you find any such errors in your translation as soon as possible.

However, I'm also aware that there could be cases where I review my translation some time after delivery, weeks or even months, and find minor typos or want to change styles here and there. In such cases, I have to admit I struggle between feelings of responsibility and guilty on whether or not I should make any clarification to the project managers or the client end. Knowing project managers are always busy with a flow of in-coming new projects, I may assume clarifying one or two small mistakes of weeks before would only disturb their daily routines, which I would rather better avoid. Honestly I would let it go in such situations except that mistakes are critical. So the later you may find mistake, the tougher decision could become naturally.

To lessen the above cases, I think I'd better double-check the initial translations ALL TIMES to control the quality. In that sense, I guess translation work should inevitably involve proofreading by translator themselves, which could be a good practice for everyone.

Cheers,
Minoru Kuwahara
English/French-Japanese translator


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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
English to French
+ ...
We're not machines May 15, 2006

I am sure your client will appreciate. It is a professional way of doing things. It can happen to anyone. We're humans not bloody machines! And don't be shy because as they say in French "Faute avouée, faute à moitié pardonnée".

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Refugio
Local time: 21:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tell the client exactly what the changes are May 15, 2006

Corza wrote:

Don't be embarrased, notify your client. This may happen to anyone. I've found that it is not so easy to tell the client where is the mistake or the missing part over the phone. It is easier to call the client and tell him you have been re-reading your translation (he would be very grateful for this) and that there are certain details you would like to change and for that reason you are sending him a new copy marked "final" that includes all your changes. Don´t tell him exactly what are the changes unless he asks you. Good luck - Corza


I think you need to show them exactly what changes you want to make (with the "track changes" tool or highlighted) because that way they can decide whether the mistake is serious enough to change; also, if they have had your translation proofread, your "new final" will no longer correspond to their proofread final. And of course if it has already been published by the time they hear from you, they won't want to go through the text with a fine-tooth comb looking for the changes.


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Angus Woo
Local time: 12:24
Chinese to English
+ ...
Notify the client and ASAP May 15, 2006

Just like what everybody said.

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