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Thread poster: Phil Hand
Translation credit vs. badly edited text

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:10
Chinese to English
Apr 6, 2012

I have a dilemma: I translated a text for publication in an academic journal, and they routinely credit the translators. However, my text has been edited by the guest editor of this edition, so that the title and very first sentence of the paper are now quite poor English. There are other "incorrections" throughout the paper, but these two are particularly obvious, by virtue of their position.

I would be mortified to see my name attached to these sentences - but a published credit is worth something, from a marketing perspective. As it stands, I've told the publisher that I don't want the credit, but there's time to change that decision.

Am I being too precious? Quite likely, prospective clients won't look any further than the credit itself, right? Or do bad texts follow you? Should I make a request for a change to the editor (not a happy prospect, as I would have to give some reason for the request, and "your English puts me to shame" never goes down well)?


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I don't think you're being too precious.... Apr 6, 2012

I think the text will reflect directly on you. I don't have a solution; it's a difficult situation. But I would want anything with my name on it to reflect my true ability and quality of work. I think I would forego the credit in this case, rather than have someone think I made those errors.

[Edited at 2012-04-06 16:50 GMT]


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Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:10
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
I would warn them Apr 6, 2012

What did the publisher reply when you told them you did not want your name associated with the translation?

What would be the purpose of the publisher returning the edited version to you (if this is indeed the case. Otherwise, how did you come by this 'new' version?), if not for you to check it again?

For the sake of quality, wouldn't it be better that both the publisher and the editor know there are glitches in the text? I would warn them. and provide an edited version of the editor's own revisions. I think both he and the publisher would be grateful, and if they agree to your new edits, then you may change your mind and be credited for your effort.


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Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps Apr 6, 2012

the fact that your work has been mangled by a "guest" editor gives you an escape route from the "your English puts me to shame" scenario, by going over his/her head and contacting the usual editor.

I agree with both the other comments, that you're not being precious at all (poor translations are not a very good advertisement for anybody) , and that any editor worth his/her salt would prefer to publish quality rather than rubbish translations. Sadly, not all are capable of telling the difference.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:10
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all very much Apr 7, 2012

And one other colleague who emailed me. Your support and suggestions have been a big help. If I have time, I'll suggest corrections for the grammatical errors; if the editor/journal doesn't accept my corrections, I'll ask them to ensure that my name is not attached to the published article.

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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 20:10
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Risky business Apr 7, 2012


Phil Hand wrote:

I have a dilemma: I translated a text for publication in an academic journal, and they routinely credit the translators. However, my text has been edited by the guest editor of this edition, so that the title and very first sentence of the paper are now quite poor English. There are other "incorrections" throughout the paper, but these two are particularly obvious, by virtue of their position.



This has happened to me a few times with academic papers I've revised prior to publishing, mostly by the authors themselves who may decide to tweak the final drafts, occasionally simply by copying and pasting from other works which might happen to use a variant spelling. It is less common from editors or peer-reviewers, but in some journals it is obvious that some of the editors and/or referees are not native speakers, or else semi-illiterates, judging from the mistakes and inconsistencies in their comments.

It doesn't only happen in academic papers. I once spent a few months translating a large regional government website project, also recruiting 2 colleagues to help out, and in the end was dismayed to find that owing to budget constraints they only used it for a printed brochure handed out at a conference, while the online version was left as a badly cobbled-together MT dogs' breakfast...


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Texte Style
Local time: 20:10
French to English
Don't be dismayed Neilmac! Apr 7, 2012


neilmac wrote:

It doesn't only happen in academic papers. I once spent a few months translating a large regional government website project, also recruiting 2 colleagues to help out, and in the end was dismayed to find that owing to budget constraints they only used it for a printed brochure handed out at a conference, while the online version was left as a badly cobbled-together MT dogs' breakfast...


What better way to prove the superior quality of your translation?

I personally would be delighted to be able to show clients a pristine brochure I produced compared to a heap of gobbledegook on the web!


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:10
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Results: all sorted Apr 15, 2012

I spent a sleepless night doing a rough proofread, and sent the proofread file in to the publisher with an explanation. Turns out I was worrying unnecessarily: the journal had at least one more round of proofreading built in before publication, so the problems would likely have been caught. In fact, as Denise suggested, the editor of the journal was glad to get a reasonably polished version, and the guest editor agreed to most of my changes, so as far as I know, everyone is happy, and I've asked for my translator's credit to be reinstated.

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Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Glad Apr 15, 2012

to hear it worked out well.

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Translation credit vs. badly edited text







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