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Poll: Have you ever complained to the manufacturer for a badly translated instruction manual?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:01
SITE STAFF
May 26, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever complained to the manufacturer for a badly translated instruction manual?".

This poll was originally submitted by Joan Berglund

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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LinguaLab.net
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:01
English to Norwegian
+ ...
No - but... May 26, 2008

No - but I have occasionally had to tell my clients that the manual they have sent me for translation is not actually the original source text, but a poor translation from another language.

Nina
www.lingualab.net


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
No because May 26, 2008

1. I only look at a manual when all else fails anyway. It’s way more fun to just start pressing the buttons and see what happens.

2. I have 3 kids and they were all born around the advent of modern technology with its plethora of remote controls and other gadgets. If I have a question, I don’t look at the manual; I just ask one of them. Kids these days are practically born knowing how DVD recorders, computers, etc, work.

3. Manuals are often multilingual here in Europe, so if the translation of one language is poor, I can probably understand one of the other Romance languages if its well translated.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
No May 26, 2008

The only time I was tempted to do so, was after reading an obviously machine translated manual for a very simple gadget.
I did not do it - I figured my comments would probably be machine translated as well and the corrections would be lost anyway.

Just to give an idea how bad it was: the original probably read something like 'the system gets its power from a battery'. The Dutch manual (back translated) read something like: 'the grid gets its authority from a cannon.'

In the end, we just laughed about it. The device did not survive for long; apparently, the quality of the machine equaled that of its manual.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 05:01
English to French
+ ...
No May 26, 2008

The advantage of understanding several languages...

Besides, one of those horrible booklets turned me into the lucky winner of a "worst translation contest" at a seminar some years ago


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No?? But, how.... May 26, 2008

...do you think manufacturers with no or little local people in the target country will know that their manuals or websites contain mistakes? They most probably don't speak the language and they should know that their translation service is not delivering the quality expected by the consumer.

On the other hand, here in Proz we keep expressing our concerns about low rates. If we don't complain, many manufacturers will think that we are just greedy, because NOBODY COMPLAINED about the quality of the manuals they translate for peanuts!

We should definitely report all problems systematically, and I do so every time I encounter a problem. So... please start complaining. Let's make publications managers and cheap translators feel nervous!


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:01
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Thank you for funny question May 26, 2008



P.S. If seriously, how the manufacturer can be sensitive to translation quality or criticism ? It should be the problem of reseller / distributor, but actually, it is the problem of general public.

E.g. (lucky Europeans!):
http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/publications/factsheet-ECC-Net_en.pdf

The European Consumer Centres Network: ECC-Net (although with as low yearly budget as 8.5 mln)

According to their statistics, only one third of consumers are willing to make a purchase in another European language. (!)
Among their services is:
When required, the network provides citizens with access to translation services.

Good partner for ProZ.com, aren't they?


[Edited at 2008-05-26 21:45]

[Edited at 2008-05-27 17:50]

[Edited at 2008-05-27 20:10]


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Marianela Melleda  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 23:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
I am one of those who complain May 26, 2008

I have complained a few times, contacting them through the owners' web page.

I agree with Tomas that if nobody complains, they will keep thinking that their manuals are very clear in many languages. My second reason to do so is to offer myself to do a better translation.

Well... I must confess that I have not received any answers, but I feel that I have done something to promote translators work.

Marianela


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No May 26, 2008

I read it in another language.

But should I?

[Edited at 2008-05-26 21:25]


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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:01
Member (2008)
French to English
this is why I asked May 27, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

...do you think manufacturers with no or little local people in the target country will know that their manuals or websites contain mistakes? They most probably don't speak the language and they should know that their translation service is not delivering the quality expected by the consumer.

On the other hand, here in Proz we keep expressing our concerns about low rates. If we don't complain, many manufacturers will think that we are just greedy, because NOBODY COMPLAINED about the quality of the manuals they translate for peanuts!

We should definitely report all problems systematically, and I do so every time I encounter a problem. So... please start complaining. Let's make publications managers and cheap translators feel nervous!


I have never complained either. It started with thinking about tomatoes. In the US, conventional tomatoes have become worse and worse every year and now they are completely inedible. One has to buy organic or heirloom tomatoes or have a friend with a garden. Everyone knows this but I don't think anyone has ever saved their little bits of spat out tomato to return to the store, so there was no motivation for growers to change their practice. If only we had done this from the beginning, tomatoes might still be edible. Then I started to think about all the agencies and all the end users who did not understand the target language they were contracting for. If the translation was bad, when would it be discovered? When consumers in the target country complained? But what if no one ever complained? What if it just keeps getting worse and worse and cheaper and cheaper?

[Edited at 2008-05-27 01:39]

[Edited at 2008-05-27 01:40]


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vicksy nurhayati  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 10:01
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Not really.. May 27, 2008

complaining them, but I do telling them that I've found some typos, unusual phrases etc.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just good for the community and for translations May 27, 2008

Marianela Melleda wrote:
I agree with Tomas that if nobody complains, they will keep thinking that their manuals are very clear in many languages. My second reason to do so is to offer myself to do a better translation.


It is quite OK that you offer your services, but in my opinion the goal of reporting bad translations is in fact to increase awareness about translation quality among producers and manufacturers. They care a lot about the quality of their product, implement ISO quality management systems, have internal QA departments... but accept and use cheap translations because they rarely get complaints about them. This should definitely change.

Let's make an effort guys! It's for our own good in the long run! It is critical if we want to make customers understand that they need better-paid translators and better translations.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Bad tomatoes May 27, 2008

Joan Berglund wrote:
I have never complained either. It started with thinking about tomatoes.


BTW: Same situation in Spain: the tomatoes you get in big stores are just plastic. I grow my own tomatoes, but with this year's cold weather I only have 1 tomato so far! :-/

I completely agree with your statement: if we don't express or concerns about a product, the producer will think that it's just OK and will keep making it worse. I always think that the produce has a "right" to be informed when a consumer stops buying their product and for what reasons.

And I extend this to political parties. I recently changed my traditional vote to a Spanish party to another party. And emailed the first party to tell them why I did it, and what they did wrong to force me to choose and support another option. I think this did not help correct their course (in fact in recent weeks they are making it worse every day), but I feel I have done my bit.


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Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 10:01
English to Indonesian
+ ...
No May 27, 2008

I just kept the disappointment with me

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Αlban SHPΑTΑ  Identity Verified
Albania
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Other May 27, 2008

No, but I think I should start doing it.

Maybe this is the reason why I read all over ProZ that rates for certain language pairs are going down. The BIDDING system does NOT apply well to Translation Industry. Some can do it much cheaper than others and the outcome is an unreadable disaster. If real translators do not report this, then many will find themselves struggling to survive with thin USD rates from European agencies.



[Edited at 2008-05-27 08:26]


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