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Please no, no more review work for me!
Thread poster: Vadim Poguliaev
Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:31
English to Russian
Aug 20, 2007

Hi all

Some time ago, being in a bad skin after fruitless review job, I have sent the following message to one of my customers. It was a response to LL position offer. I perfectly understand, that it's bad for business, but...
Have anyone had the same thoughts or even made the same decisions? Please share.
Am I being inadequate?

(some conversation skipped)
Recently I decided not to accept large review tasks at all. It has nothing to do with your company, I have simply accumulated too much bad experience with review and QA. Clarification is as follows.

1. Income: I noticed, that my average per hour income from review is less than a half of the income from translation. So I am literally loosing money by accepting review.
2. Frustration: Probably the worst experience in the profession comes from editing someone else's poor translation. I don't know how to explain is better, but trust me, it's terrible. And I know for sure, that no russian agency can provide consistently good translation on largescale project.
3. Fingerpointing: If smth goes wrong during acceptance, reviewer is the one to blame and penalize. Not the translator, regardless of source translation quality and/or review deadline.
4. Low value: The only way to improve poor translation is to translate the file again. 1000 words-per-hour review won't help. Not at all. Besides, speed almost never reaches 1000 words/hour. Translation must be nearly perfect for this throughoutput.

I don't mind smaller standalone review tasks, like 1000 or even 10000 words. But review on large project with tight deadlines... I'm just not the man for the job. I can provide much more value to your and any other company by deliving assured final quality translation.


UPD:
After all they convinced me - 1.5X rate + positive guarantees, that quality will be acceptable. But...

[Edited at 2007-08-20 09:40]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-08-20 10:35]


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John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
French to English
Learn from experience Aug 20, 2007

Hi Vadim,
I recently did a proofreading job that took me a lot longer than I expected. It turns out the original translator was not a native speaker and probably not even a professional.

What I've learned is to tell clients beforehand that the rate for proofreading varies from 0.03 to 0.09 depending on the quality of the translation.
I've also quoted an hourly rate and a per word rate and told them that it will be the lesser of the two, though I'm not sure that's the best way to approach it.

Sounds like your letter worked. It's important to be assertive, good for you!

John


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Similar experience Aug 20, 2007

I sent a similar note last month to clients who have sent me editing jobs where the original translation was clearly not done by a native speaker or professional translator. I simply informed them that I am no longer available for editing work, and am focusing my business on translation.

That's true, though on slow weeks I still very rarely accept editing jobs from other clients, who are pickier about their translators.


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aruna yallapragada  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:01
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
a comment Aug 20, 2007

I have never done any review work, but I was thinking about it only the other day. I think review work should be paid the same amount of money as the translation work. The transaltor looks only at the text to be translated, but a reviwer has to go through the translated text as well.- or do I have the whole thing wrong?

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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:31
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Nope Aug 20, 2007

aruna yallapragada wrote:

I have never done any review work, but I was thinking about it only the other day. I think review work should be paid the same amount of money as the translation work. The transaltor looks only at the text to be translated, but a reviwer has to go through the translated text as well.- or do I have the whole thing wrong?



In the ideal world perhaps, but not in reality.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do it right the first time Aug 20, 2007

Do it right the first time and every time.

You cannot inspect quality into a product.

These are as true in translation as they are in industry.


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xxxsalwyn
Local time: 16:31
English to French
+ ...
review work? Aug 20, 2007

the problem is that an increasing number of companies are using cheap translators and getting a cheap translation. Then they ask professonal translators to review (and hopefully correct) what has been done at a very low rate.
It may be a good way to save money for companies.
I lost a client recently for sending him the following message:
« Sorry, but the translation that you provided is unacceptable and I haven't got the time to re-do it or correct it.»


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:31
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The translator needs to call the shots in review work Aug 20, 2007

I have written on this topic before. I have gotten so many horrendous translations to correct (mostly done by non-natives or written directly by them in English) that I have made a deal with the company I work with the most to have them send me the file first, let me look it over, and then I set the price, which can sometimes be the same as what I charge for translating if the document is really awful.


Amy


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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:31
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
review cycle necessary in large project Aug 20, 2007

A review cycle is always necessary, and especially so in case of large projects split among different translators.

Another necessary task is a DTP check, or check of final files after formatting/DTP/building final help/whatever processing the documentation go through after being delivered by the transator(s), where a misplaced tag or wrong heading or index style, difficult to spot when working for instance in TagEditor or other translation format, suddenly jumps out of the page.

The fee should be proportionate to the time required/productivity rate.

On the few occasions that a review project took longer than expected, I informed the client while still in the early stages of the review, explained the extent of editing that I deemed necessary, and requested both more time and extra pay. In all such cases the clients were grateful for the information and happy to both extend my delivery deadline and add the necessary hours to the PO.

I actually like to be involved in revision and final checks in long projects, as it gives you the chance to see the whole context, to see details gaining meaning and to better understand what happens after a translation is handed in. You also get to see what can be done at translation stage in order to avoid problems cropping up at layout/final format, which as a translator you may never be aware of otherwise - and not due to any fault on the translator's side, but simply because of the workflow.

When delivering a large review project, I often give the client some guidelines or feedback to pass on to the translators, to use as reference for further parts of the same large project or future updates, so that the overall translation quality can improve with each hand off.

Roberta


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 22:31
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
My experience ... Aug 20, 2007

... I can provide much more value to your and any other company by delivering assured final quality translation

That sounds pretty much like "... and proofreading sucks...".

The fact however is, that proofreading is essential and that it can provide "much more value to your and any other company by delivering assured final quality translation". And that you cant be a good translator and at the same time shirk proofreading.

Proofreading has so far been a real humble-pie experience for me (and yes, it always takes longer, and yes, the translation is miserable, and yes, they should darn well pay more): I realized I know much too little (or not as much as necessary) of my own mother language. But, its never too late - and whats better than learn the language you love and cherish.

But I'm digressing, I guess
[EDIT] btw, its one of the effective ways to start thinking of your own stuff less personally and with much less mercy - because of all those moments when you say: "Jeese, I just hope Ive never produced a hairball like this one" - and somewhere deep inside a doubt keeps nagging.

[Edited at 2007-08-20 19:02]


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:31
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Review work Aug 20, 2007


1. Income: I noticed, that my average per hour income from review is less than a half of the income from translation. So I am literally loosing money by accepting review.


That seems to indicate that your rate for review is much too low: it should be set so that at the end of a day in which you only did translation editing you have earned as much as in a day in which you only translated: as a rule of thumb, I would say that the per-word rate for editing should be between 1/3 and 1/4 of the per-word translation rate.


2. Frustration: Probably the worst experience in the profession comes from editing someone else's poor translation. I don't know how to explain is better, but trust me, it's terrible. And I know for sure, that no russian agency can provide consistently good translation on largescale project.


Always reserve the right to refuse an editing project until you have actually seen the translation to be reviewed. If it looks reasonable, accept it, otherwise answer something like "this translation appears too poor to be salvaged by editing, for instance [insert three or four examples here]. I would be willing to re-translate the document from scratch at my usual translation rate, if that is not possible, I'm sorry, but I have to decline the assignment."


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:31
English to Russian
+ ...
that's what's happening to me Aug 20, 2007

... and i can understand the company: they get translation for the rate lower then they pay me for proofreading/editing; so after paying my norml proofreading/editing rats (usually 1/2 of my translation rate) they rock anyway...

I can only complain about poor quality of those translations... sooo many people apparently have no shame and no self-esteem to supply crappy translations..

salwyn wrote:

the problem is that an increasing number of companies are using cheap translators and getting a cheap translation. Then they ask professonal translators to review (and hopefully correct) what has been done at a very low rate.
It may be a good way to save money for companies.
I lost a client recently for sending him the following message:
« Sorry, but the translation that you provided is unacceptable and I haven't got the time to re-do it or correct it.»


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Aliseo Japan  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:31
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
The opposite is also true Aug 21, 2007

salwyn wrote:
the problem is that an increasing number of companies are using cheap translators and getting a cheap translation. Then they ask professonal translators to review (and hopefully correct) what has been done at a very low rate.


But the opposite can also be true: there are translation agencies that use bad (not necessarily cheap) translators to review the work of professional (not necessarily good) translators. The fact is that these agencies very often are simply incapable of distinguishing between bad and good translators, hence between bad and good reviewers and tend, for a strange mechanism, to automatically heed to the reviewer without hearing what the original translator has to say.

Mario Cerutti

[Edited at 2007-08-21 01:35]

[Edited at 2007-08-21 01:39]

[Edited at 2007-08-21 03:50]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
proofing is not the same thing as retranslation! Aug 21, 2007

The other day, a valued client (a university press) sent me the English translation of a novel to edit. I was to be paid just slightly more than my normal rate for editing, which is very low. This was with the assumption that I was to "just edit the English as if it had been written in English."

But then my contact added that they would be sending me the Spanish original, and "if something seems funny in the English version, you could check it against that copy and ask the translator".

So, I looked at the file and found that the author's wife had done the translation. Her pages-long "Translator's Note" (written in her native English) hadn't even been spell checked and was not well written. Not surprisingly, after reviewing a couple of pages of the translation, I could see that every couple of sentences there was "something funny" that would require research and perhaps an argument with the translator. This was a can of worms I wasn't going to open.

Such a scenario has nothing to do with proofing a translation in order to enhance or ensure its quality. Instead, an author who was too cheap to hire a professional translator and a university press with no budget hoped that I'd ride in on a white horse and rewrite the translation for editor's wages.

In my opinion, this is abuse, but I also realize that it may be "unintentional" -- the result of the general public not being educated about the profession of translation.

The author only knows that his wife (as far as his ears can tell) speaks excellent English and understands him and his literary endeavors. So, why shouldn't she be entrusted with the project? And my friends at the press --lovely people -- are monolingual (and certainly not professional translators). They have no idea how easy it is to botch a translation. I'm not sure that my brief attempt to educate them went over all right, but I felt I had to respond and not let this pass as just a "job I didn't want to do."


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Maurizio Valente  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
100% Agree on "Always reserve the right to refuse ..." (Schiaffino) Aug 21, 2007

I've just lost a proofreading because I refused to accept it without first seeing the translation (only the source was available at that point in time). The prospect replied they simply could not wait. Nevertheless I go on sticking to this principle, Never Accepting a Proofreading Job "al buio" (Without Seeing It Before).

Actually, proofreading can mean anything in the range from a Machine-Translated text to an excellent translation.

Let me mention 2 hilarious cases on the low end (hilarious? we should cry perhaps):
Once I was offered a MT-text where Adobe Postscript had been translated as Mattone crudo Postscript

One week ago I refused to proofread a survey translation made by an human being, where the sentence 'There are no right or wrong answers' had been translated 'Non ci sono domande giuste o sbagliate.' (DOMANDE = QUESTIONS)

AND

'Please circle the number next to each item' had become 'Cerchiare il numero accanto a ogni voce'
etc.

I would also agree with salwyn (the problem is that an increasing number of companies are using cheap translators and getting a cheap translation. Then they ask professonal translators to review (and hopefully correct) what has been done at a very low rate.)




Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

Always reserve the right to refuse an editing project until you have actually seen the translation to be reviewed. If it looks reasonable, accept it, otherwise answer something like "this translation appears too poor to be salvaged by editing, for instance [insert three or four examples here]. I would be willing to re-translate the document from scratch at my usual translation rate, if that is not possible, I'm sorry, but I have to decline the assignment."


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