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Proofreading or translating all over again?
Thread poster: Melina Ruiz Arias

Melina Ruiz Arias  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 15, 2008

Hello everybody!
I have been asked to proofread a technical manual (EN/SPA) which is about 1000 pages long. Unfortunately the translation did not turn out the way they expected, so they are looking for a complete correction. I am taking a look at the original manual and the translation and I've found a lot of mistakes (the translation is way too literal and there are grammar and translation mistakes) I believe I will have to correct almost 60% of the manual. Isn't it better to suggest my making the translation again? The point I'm trying to make here is that there are a lot of things to be changed and a lot of technical terms that are not accurate.
I will appreciate your valuable ideas!


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Mariam Osmann
Egypt
Local time: 13:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Message to your client May 15, 2008

First thing to do when you get a proofreading job, do not let the client assess the document,
do it yourself.
If he/she thinks that you can proofread x pages /hour and the document shows that it's only y pages/hour, make your calculations, tell the client and he/she takes it or leaves it.
I believe he/she didn't pay yet to the translator, help him/her redistribute fairly the estimated costs of the whole project according to the quality and effort.

Best,
Mariam


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
agree... retranslate May 16, 2008

Melina Ruiz Arias wrote:

Hello everybody!
I have been asked to proofread a technical manual (EN/SPA) which is about 1000 pages long. Unfortunately the translation did not turn out the way they expected, so they are looking for a complete correction. I am taking a look at the original manual and the translation and I've found a lot of mistakes (the translation is way too literal and there are grammar and translation mistakes) I believe I will have to correct almost 60% of the manual. Isn't it better to suggest my making the translation again? The point I'm trying to make here is that there are a lot of things to be changed and a lot of technical terms that are not accurate.
I will appreciate your valuable ideas!




working with a bad translation is soul destroying, you also end up juggling: a) source, b) bad target and c) ideal target (three ways, rather than two ways, meaning more work).


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Long ago, similar problem May 16, 2008

I'm still working with this client. Almost 10 years ago, he brought me a book that he had sent to be translated. And it was, not all that badly, but there were "insensitivies" (this is not a technical text, but persuasive one), and it was written for a British audience when the main audience was in the United States. There were also terminology mistakes and just --as always, for anyone-- some just plain "goofs."

But I charged a (US penny) under my regular rate (which was somewhat lower than it is now, due to lack of experience). And I labored like a slave. It is not easy work. You have to read EVERY word, and you have to think about EVERY word.

So, in short, I believe that while you might not charge your full, regular rate, do not underestimate (1) the value of what you are adding to this project and (2) the actual hours you will need to put into it.

GOOD LUCK!


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Melina Ruiz Arias  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all May 16, 2008

You have been of great help, really !!!! Thanks for taking some time to share your experience.

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Evangelia Mouma  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 12:56
English to Greek
+ ...
There are three kinds of mistakes May 16, 2008

I think that there are three kinds of mistakes: the grammatical mistakes, which are obvious, and here are also included omissions, mistranslations - when one has translated fork as spoon, let's say- etc., the technical jargon mistakes, which again are obvious for an experienced translator, and the way a sentence has been translated, which are the most difficult ones and are the decisive factor of what to do - proofread or re-translate: and this because with the first two you can finish rather quickly but the last kind can be a torture, as the other colleagues have said. You have to make sure that the way something has been translated is not acceptable at all and, most important, you should not think how YOU would have translated it. Every sentence can be translated in many ways, at least more than one, and still convey the same meaning. So, you will have to make sure that the sentence you are reading does not convey the meaning at all, or does not convey the whole meaning, or that it sounds strange to your native ears, before you decide to change it. NOT how YOU would have translated it. You have to somehow forget that you are a translator, because in this case you are not, you are the proofreader. This is a very difficult job. Now if you see that this third kind of mistakes requires lots of work, ask to re-translate instead of thinking of every sentence and every word.

HTH
E.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Borrón y cuenta nueva May 16, 2008

That's what it is called. It would be as much effort to correct it as to do it over, perhaps even more effort after wading though a bunch of garbage.

That is, if the client wants to pay to do it over. 1,000 pages is a lot... forget your vacations for a while.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 18:56
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Quick retranslation on TM May 16, 2008

If you proofread on the unclean file (e.g. Trados TagEditor or other CAT), I suggest you edit the TM directly.
Reason: Bad translators repeat same mistake of grammar, terminology etc.
I edited a big TM of 1,627 pages for a software manual and restanslate the document automatically by saving much time. (most segments are already matched and need no recheck.). I also use filters of Trados or SDLX to revise bad/wrong translation very quickly by using find/replace functions.

regards,
SL


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Melina Ruiz Arias  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Unfortunately, no TM here May 16, 2008

SL, I forgot to mention no translation tool has been used on the original translation. So guess what, more work then. Having a TM on this would fit perfectly well, but no luck.
You are making great contributions on this issue. I have a meeting with the client on monday and I am gathering very interesting data here as a good resource to make an action plan for this project and get the best of it (we all know, the hard part lies in making the other person understand the art of translating .. it's not all about knowing a language and having a dictionary at hand)
Thanks a lot to all of you!

Melina.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:56
French to English
Sample May 17, 2008

Melina Ruiz Arias wrote:
I believe I will have to correct almost 60% of the manual. Isn't it better to suggest my making the translation again?

If this is the approach you are going to adopt, and with the info that you are meeting the client on Monday, then I suggest that you show the client a page or two, before and after your changes, to show them the seriousness of the situation and exactly why you think it might be best to re-do it.

Or, at least, if they do not agree to a completely new translation, they will be able to see the effort needed.

This approach does not always apply but if you are actually seeing them in person, I see no reason not to take as much 'ammunition' with you as you can, to support your position.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 13:56
English to German
+ ...
quote 150% on your standard translation rate May 18, 2008

Call it revision and undergo the right to retranslate if necessary and charge accordingly or even at hourly rate. Brandis

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xxxGloria-123
English to Chinese
My answer is yes. Jun 20, 2008

In this case, the mistakes have been too much. You can translate it again and take the original one to be a reference, after all, it has given the rough meanings.

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Sylvain Meyrous  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:56
English to French
Re-translate Jul 22, 2008

I would say suggest to the client that you re-translate everything. You can explain that due to the vastness of the proofreading job, you would spend so much time that in the end, they would spend more than if you translated it again.

The only problem is that sometimes clients got this translation from someone that was highly recommended or whom they like for whatever reason. They may not believe what you are saying. I have had this problem before, and it is a very delicate position to be in. Your client's reaction will depend on whether they have been working with you for a long time and therefore trust you or not.

In any case, it sounds as if your "proofreading" the text would imply re-translating half of it anyway.

Hope this helps.

Regards,


-Sylvain


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Alexander Shust  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:56
Member (2011)
English to Russian
Drop it Jul 25, 2008

Lia Fail wrote:
working with a bad translation is soul destroying

Yep, I believe I'd have my soul destroyed by bad translators if I had one. While I know there ARE people who can stand working with half-rotten text, I strongly suggest NOT to meddle with it. It is mind-boggling, soul-destroying, and after all, it is unreasonable.

I can see there ARE scenarios where you can't say no to your customer, but you better can.


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Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:26
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
alignment tools Jul 25, 2008

You might be able to create a TM by aligning translation and original.

This can be help with re-translating, if there are enough usable bits - could otherwise also be a huge waste of time, given the size of the job.


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