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Poll: What has been the most common cause of the incorrect, unfair revision of your translations?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:49
SITE STAFF
Dec 14, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What has been the most common cause of the incorrect, unfair revision of your translations?".

This poll was originally submitted by Todd Field

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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Laurence Bourel
Local time: 01:49
English to French
+ ...
bad faith Dec 14, 2007

one of the most unfair revision was with bad-faith proofreaders, who told my translation was poor quality just to make the price go down. It happened only twice (enough anyway !), but I had to justify every single litigious point with the sources, so in the end they just shut up...

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 16:49
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Hasn't happened so far... Dec 14, 2007

(knock on wood?)

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
End clients who think they "know better" Dec 14, 2007

This is a great question. My biggest problem has been with clients (who are never native speakers) thinking their English is better than mine. I have wasted a lot of time having to explain to them exactly why they're wrong.

The second biggest problem for me has been overzealous editors - not just in translation, but I also had the same situation from time to time when I was a journalist. I sometimes used to cringe when my byline appeared on a piece that was completely (and badly) rewritten by an overzealous (and often inexperienced) editor.

Amy


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
English to German
+ ...
Exactly the same with German Dec 14, 2007

Amy Duncan wrote:

My biggest problem has been with clients (who are never native speakers) thinking their English is better than mine. I have wasted a lot of time having to explain to them exactly why they're wrong.

The second biggest problem for me has been overzealous editors
Amy


Sometimes even the editors at agencies seem not fully aware of the target language (not native speakers), and their editing sounds as if done by picking dictionaries rather than based on their prof. experience with the subject.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
Italian to English
+ ...
N/A Dec 14, 2007

It's only happened once (to my knowledge), in a test translation a few years ago, which was revised by someone who flagged up "organisation" as a spelling mistake, among other questionable "corrections". (And no, I hadn't been instructed to complete the test in US English.)

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Mohamed Gaafar  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:49
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
mmmm most common probelm is some one trying to show off Dec 14, 2007

Yes sure I have gone through this using of synonyms or just replacing words for no obvious reason it is the worst practice ever which means that a reviewer is not originally a reviewer he is some one who is looking to lay on jobs on his own lap in the most wrong possible way they regret usually a professional linguistic reply which show their true quality

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Mohamed Gaafar  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:49
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
i totaly agree showing off for no reason Dec 14, 2007

Mohamed Gaafar wrote: (who are never native speakers) thinking their English is better than mine. I have wasted a lot of time having to explain to them exactly why they're wrong.


Yes sure I have gone through this using of synonyms or just replacing words for no obvious reason it is the worst practice ever which means that a reviewer is not originally a reviewer he is some one who is looking to lay on jobs on his own lap in the most wrong possible way they regret usually a professional linguistic reply which show their true quality


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 16:49
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Really bad jugement Dec 14, 2007

A client once used a Spanish-speaking proofreader to review my Brazilian Portuguese translation... Need I say more?

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:49
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is "unfair" a synonym of "unjustified"? Dec 14, 2007

I voted N/A. In my opinion, "unfair" editing is just a synonym of "unjustified editing". I.e., when someone (a customer, an end user or an editor) changes things without explaining the reasons and providing reference material and links to solidly justify the change.

As far as a change is made with a clear explanation and links to reputable sources of information to justify the decision and elliminate any shadow of doubt, no change can be considered "unfair".


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:49
French to English
+ ...
Snap! Dec 14, 2007

Amy Duncan wrote:

This is a great question. My biggest problem has been with clients (who are never native speakers) thinking their English is better than mine. I have wasted a lot of time having to explain to them exactly why they're wrong.

Amy


My biggest problems have been with Swiss/Austrian clients who think they speak English better than a native speaker. So many people think they speak English fluently, but speaking it and writing it are two entirely different matters. As Amy so rightly says, I've spent hours writing (seething all the time!) to justify my choices, and it's not easy explaining English grammatical nuances in German, only to never hear anything more! The agencies in question come back time and time again, so I'm not unduly concerned, but it is so frustrating.... and unnecessary.

My other bugbear is UK/US English differences. If you've been asked to do a job in UK English, it seems pretty futile to ask an American to proof-read it......and vice versa of course.

Moan, moan.

Have a good weekend!

Claire


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:49
French to German
+ ...
End clients who think they think... Dec 14, 2007

A really bad experience so far was the translation I made for a direct client, when it came back after 2 months 'proofreading' (!), it was bleeding with corrections.

I never received any explanation - the revisor put in their own ideas and proved to be wrong more than once - but I was paid in full.

It will remain a mystery forever... I guess what they needed was a pre-translation?

Laurent


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:49
Member (2004)
Italian to English
The other side of the coin Dec 14, 2007

I don't really enjoy proofreading but have done several jobs for a regular client agency, mixed in with translation work. There is a shortage of English native speakers in my pair and quite a lot of translation work is done by non-native speakers, some quite good and much of it perfectly acceptable for the type of job or target audience.
When I have a text that needs a fair amount of correction, however, I just can't help rewriting anything that sounds strange, even if it is grammatically and factually correct.
I take the view that as the agency (my client) has taken the trouble to employ both a translator and a reviewer, the end client should be provided with the best possible product.
The agency asks its reviewers to mark the original under about eight different headings, so I can indicate whether the original was of an acceptable standard even if I have substantially rewritten it.
This may not be regarded as best practice but isn't it understandable that agencies should employ perfectionists as reviewers?
I do feel uncomfortable giving "fail" marks to fellow translators, as I know it could affect their livelihood but I also feel under an obligation to convey to the agency that the translator in question is unsuitable for the type of project or needs further support.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:49
French to English
+ ...
Once you've started Dec 14, 2007

Russell Jones wrote:

When I have a text that needs a fair amount of correction, however, I just can't help rewriting anything that sounds strange, even if it is grammatically and factually correct.
I take the view that as the agency (my client) has taken the trouble to employ both a translator and a reviewer, the end client should be provided with the best possible product.
The agency asks its reviewers to mark the original under about eight different headings, so I can indicate whether the original was of an acceptable standard even if I have substantially rewritten it.
This may not be regarded as best practice but isn't it understandable that agencies should employ perfectionists as reviewers?
I do feel uncomfortable giving "fail" marks to fellow translators, as I know it could affect their livelihood but I also feel under an obligation to convey to the agency that the translator in question is unsuitable for the type of project or needs further support.


Yes, I agree entirely, Russell. I occasionally do proof-reading too and I find that once I've found a few errors I am much more likely to rewrite other parts, even if they are "correct". Obviously it depends on your brief, but I feel that I'm being employed to produce a finished document which sounds completely English and a literal translation just won't do in many cases.


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Christiane Bujold
Canada
Local time: 19:49
English to French
+ ...
Unjustified versus unfair Dec 14, 2007

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

I voted N/A. In my opinion, "unfair" editing is just a synonym of "unjustified editing". I.e., when someone (a customer, an end user or an editor) changes things without explaining the reasons and providing reference material and links to solidly justify the change.

As far as a change is made with a clear explanation and links to reputable sources of information to justify the decision and elliminate any shadow of doubt, no change can be considered "unfair".



I do agree with you about the fact that once a change is explained to the translator it can not be called unfair, unless it was not mandatory and it does not create a mistake or a mistranslation.

I see a lot of these changes when there are terminology issues. Espacially between Canadian French and French from France, where, in some fields, the terms used to describe something are different. One example of that is in the medical field or in the financial field.

But, as I am concern, I have been facing situations where the proofreaders and/or the editors were not even translators, were not native speakers of the language, in my case Canadian French, and were unable to justifiy there answers. I even remember a case where I received the proofread version of my text with spelling errors, mistranslations, etc. I resent my text with justifications and never heard back from the client again. I call this unfair revision.

Also, there are issues about the way to present characters, the format of a text, feminisation, etc. For exeample, English Titles always use capital letters in each and every words, except prepositions. I see so many client wanting to reproduce this in French, its is incredible to see that people thinks all languages are the same.


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