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if I have an 'eye for detail' is proof reading for me?
Thread poster: vieleFragen
vieleFragen
Local time: 07:26
English
Sep 20, 2006

Hello,

I posted a couple of threads over a year ago, I think, asking mostly about Japanese --> German/English translations. However after everything I read, I decided not to study japanese, but just keep on studying (international) business management as a major (however I'm still studying french on the side).

I know that usually one doesn't earn much as a translator and that a lot of translators seem to not be satisfied at all with their salaries. However, I think there's something, that could seperate me from the rest: Please don't mistake me for a conceited person, because that's REALLY not how I am, but in the meantime I've been identified as 'gifted' by a few psychologists...However the only subjects where this has ever been evident to me were foreign languages. In French for example, I went from a D (from the 7th to the 10th grade) to getting straight A's in our school's french major (in germany one has to choose two majors during the last two years), where also people who had lived in France and spoke it way better than me hardly got A's...and I think I could only pull that off, because I have an 'eye for detail': I'm not really better at speaking languages, but when I look at a text in written language and there are mistakes/flaws, it's like I can scan through those texts and the mistakes just pop into my eye (I noticed this for example when other students who also had good grades in French and in general asked me to proof-read their written assignments, on which they had probably worked really hard and I could just sort of scan through it and still notice some mistakes they made...I also have a sister who speaks fluent english (having lived in England and Australia) who used to give me her English-language applications to proof-read them and even though she speaks it a lot better and more fluently than me, I can still notice little mistakes/things she can improve (which turn out to really be mistakes after she asks friends from England or Australia to confirm it).

So..like I said, I really hope I won't be taken for a conceited person, because I typed this (if I didn't I assume I wouldn't be taken seriously about this), but I was wondering, if there's any job in the translation industry, where an extremely good eye for detail is rewarded (because it seems, that a lot of companies prefer to take cheap and flawed translations over expensive but perfect translations)? I'd hopefully also have an economic background, as I'm studying business management (and plan on finishing it). Oh and of course I don't think I could start right away never having done any professional translations before (I know I'd have to get accustomed to it).

I guess a lot of you will ask me how come I don't want to go into business management after my degree...and that question is justified of course..but I have problems with public speaking for example, plus prefer working on my own..and just think that this 'eye for detail' is maybe my biggest strength...

P.S.: I hope nobody's gonna flame me because I said I had such a great eye for detail, but probably still wrote a few not great/perfect maybe even flawed phrases (please consider, I've never been to an english-speaking country in my whole life). However, if I made a mistake let me know please, I like to be corrected and learn from my mistakes.

(For example I'm not quite sure about the expressions 'pop inTO my eye', 'proof-read', 'English-Language', 'French/English or french/english' or if I should have put 'if there are any mistakes' instead of 'if there are mistakes' (or something along those lines)


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randyzou
Local time: 13:26
English to Chinese
+ ...
Now u see the consequencies of the "eye for detail"! Sep 22, 2006

u r lucky to have the "eye for detail",
but do u have the "eye for general"
now, there was no reply until i come,
see the consequencies.


In personal , i really appreciate ur frankness,
i believe u have the "eye for detail"



but never take the "eye for trival" for "eye for detail"
should be "eye for precision"


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 07:26
French to Dutch
+ ...
This is not clear Sep 22, 2006

vieleFragen wrote:
P.S.: I hope nobody's gonna flame me because I said I had such a great eye for detail, but probably still wrote a few not great/perfect maybe even flawed phrases (please consider, I've never been to an english-speaking country in my whole life). However, if I made a mistake let me know please, I like to be corrected and learn from my mistakes.

I am not going to flame you (I'm not a native English) but if you are very good and in the next sentence say that we can correct mistakes, you are not very clear. So what should we do? Compliments or criticism?

(For example I'm not quite sure about the expressions 'pop inTO my eye', 'proof-read', 'English-Language', 'French/English or french/english' or if I should have put 'if there are any mistakes' instead of 'if there are mistakes' (or something along those lines)

I think you answered your own question. As long as you are contradictory in your own writings and not sure about what you are doing or saying, it will be difficult to be a proofreader.

Btw. there are two kinds of proofreaders: those who proofread translations and those who are correcting typesetting errors for the printing industry. In the first case you must be a translator, and a good one (although most translators don't like this work) or a specialist in the field. The second kind of jobs is boring and often done by secretaries.


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:26
Italian to English
+ ...
I don't understand... Sep 22, 2006

Why on earth do you want to proof-read texts that are not written in your native language??

Your profile doesn't say what your native language is, but your profile name suggests German. So why not do it in German??

Although if you want my two shillings' worth keep well away from proof-reading, editing or any other form of reviewing other people's work, it just gets depressing after a while.


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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 07:26
French to English
Hello, vieleFragen Sep 22, 2006

You certainly write very good English for someone who has never been to an English-speaking country, and that ability speaks for itself.
If you'd like to become a proofreader, you don't really need to know any foreign languages to do so. Proofreaders are needed in all aspects of publishing, not just for translated texts. However I would tend to think that proofreaders should stick to their mother tongue. For example, a proofreader working in their mother tongue would make a good team with a translator who is not.
If reading a forum on the Internet was enough to make you decide not to study Japanese (whoa!) it sounds like you have a lot of decisions yet to make. Let me reassure you, the most interesting people that I know have changed careers several times, following their interests, and continue learning all through their lives because learning is, at least for some, the essence of life.
Follow your intuition, try to build confidence in yourself, and once you get through with school... travel! Also, if someone bashes you on this forum, don't take it personally. There are all sorts out there.
Now for the questions about your mistakes: "Pop into your eye" does sound a bit violent. How about "the mistakes leap off the page"? Languages in English, like nationalities, always begin with a capital letter. Proofreading is one word.
I wish you luck in the future. You sound like me when I was young!


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:26
Portuguese to English
depressing and poorly paid Sep 22, 2006

Just to back Claire up - proofreading is depressing and poorly paid. For some reason, agencies typically pay 50% (at best) of the rate for translating, although by definition a proofreader/reviser should know the subject better than the translator.

If you're lucky, the translations you're asked to proof are good, but all too often you can spend as long correcting them as you would have done retranslating them - for less than half the fee.

It sounds attractive, doesn't it? - tinkering with someone else's work and putting in the odd stylistic flourish, but lots of us can assure you it's not like that. Much of the time, you'll find yourself laboriously reconstructing sentences that the translator has totally misinterpreted. I no longer do revisions or proofreading except as an occasional big favour to very good customers.

Finally, as far as my experience tells me, agencies don't engage proofreaders who haven't first proved themselves to be good translators - for reasons that must be obvious.


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:26
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
I'm very surprised Sep 23, 2006

I'm very surprised you say that translators are poorly paid. Since going freelance as a translator, I am earning 50% more than I did as a PhD scientist! At least here in the UK, proofreading is very poorly paid, with the hourly rates being not more than half of what I make as a translator. If you do want to go down that route, I would suggest copy-editing at the very least. However, I think you would earn more as a translator, although you would probably need to obtain some specialist knowledge and experience to get the most out of it. For example, I never trained formally as a linguist, but I have expertise in the biomedical field and in regulatory pharmacology. Over the course of a few years, I have built up so many regular clients that not a day goes by now without at least one request coming in.

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vieleFragen
Local time: 07:26
English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you Sep 23, 2006

Hello, first of all: thank you guys for your answers.

Proofreading in my mother tongue would indeed be a good idea, really didn't think about it long enough,I guess, I was just wondering where my ability to spot errors easily could help me and I was thinking that might be the case in the field of proofreading.

To the person who asked me if I wanted compliments or criticism: neither one actually. I didn't come here to have my ego boosted if that's what you were thinking. Plus I don't think I could just go out there and be a proofreader without ever having worked in the translation industry. Actually, I know my english is still far from what it takes to be a good translator (let alone a proofreader (in english)). All I said was, that I believe I had a talent for spotting errors and a great eye for detail, which was fairly obvious in school...however even Michael Jordan wouldn't have been able to play in the NBA had he only played basketball 3 times a week with his friends, right?;-)

P.S.: The proofreading thing was actually nothing but a vague idea. Thanks for all the input, however.


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randyzou
Local time: 13:26
English to Chinese
+ ...
WOW, Krys Sep 27, 2006

you are amazing, how u get so much work,while i just like a bench warmer, sitting on the bench and get my skin tanned.

Did u go out and meet the outsourcers, or put up advertisements in certain places like webs or newpapers , and then gather so many clients. I mean, how u make it , got to the top of the food chain.

Right now, i am just at the bottom of the food chain, i work for some small translation companies, and they pay me around 0.005USD/word(unbelievable,right?), so i found this job tiring and non-rewarding, u can never expect any raise. and what's more, sometimes they can't get any work, so i just sit there like a homeless.

How pathetic I am. Uuuuuuuuuuuuu

Could u tell me how u get yourself such a good postion, how u start the business as a rookie like me?

Thank you. I appreciate any comments or advice from you!!


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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:26
English to Norwegian
+ ...
The anatomy of a translator Oct 18, 2006

Surely an eye for details will get you a long way, but a translation can be flawed and cause grey hairs to your clients even if there are no formal mistakes. Thus, you must also have an ear for fluency.

However, you might do excellent translations and still barely earn enough to get by if you don't know how to promote yourself efficiently and negotiate deals. If you don't have a nose for business, a strong stomach and nerves of steel, it might be better to settle for an in-house position instead of risking you neck as a freelancer.



[Edited at 2006-10-18 22:25]


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Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Stick to your native language Oct 23, 2006

If you are not completely bilingual then you should stick to your native language as your target.
As other people have mentioned, be careful of the differences between proofreading, correcting and editing.


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