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From freelance translator to proofreader... to PM ?
Thread poster: Fabio Descalzi

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 21, 2007

I was just chatting with a friend and we happened to briefly discuss: what is better, to translate, to proofread or to manage?

Some days ago, another person posted about "proofreading tasks that must be actually re-translated". So, I am asking to myself: isn't the task of the PM even harder than that?

And further: to be a good PM, then you must be an excellent proofreader as well! Or sort of!


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:53
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...
Hm... Oct 21, 2007

Fabio Descalzi Sgarbi wrote:
...to be a good PM, then you must be an excellent proofreader as well!


Hi Fabio,

I am not sure this statement is true. Of course, it is fine when a PM knows the language him/herself. However (at least in case of many translation agencies with whom I work) quite often it is not the case. (For example, one of my best clients, representing a translation agency, even asked me once, if Russian is written from left to right or vice versa ) In case of PMs the most important thing is to find reliable translators and editors/proofreaders, and to get rid of bad translators as soon as it becomes evident that they are bad.

Natalia


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Ioana Bostan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
English to Romanian
+ ...
Agree with Natalie Oct 21, 2007

Hello! I don't know if we should say that proofreading or translating or managing project is better or easier... It is just a matter of different activities and each of them involves lots of work and dedication. I think natalie is right, a good PM is not obliged (thanks God:)) to know all languages he/she works with. It would be impossible, they have sometimes huge projects to be translated into tens of languages. And the PM is good when he/she makes the good choice of translators and proofreaders. They must organize things in a project very well and keep a very close track of the jobs and everything basically. Translators/proofreaders may have inquiries while doing their job, even the client may have comments upon the translation/proofreading jobs. So they have to properly manage all these activities, to be the LINK between translator/proofreader/client and viceversa.
All jobs are difficult on their turn, but choosing what is better to do is only a matter of personal preference in my opinion OR a matter of chances that occur for us and we may take it or leave it.
Of course it could help a lot if a PM is by chance a translator himself/herself just in terms of being closer to the business, but not necessarily. My opinion !

Have a great Sunday!!
Ioana


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Didn't mean to "know all the languages" Oct 21, 2007

Ioana Bostan wrote:
I think natalie is right, a good PM is not obliged (thanks God:)) to know all languages he/she works with. It would be impossible, they have sometimes huge projects to be translated into tens of languages. And the PM is good when he/she makes the good choice of translators and proofreaders. They must organize things in a project very well and keep a very close track of the jobs and everything basically. Translators/proofreaders may have inquiries while doing their job, even the client may have comments upon the translation/proofreading jobs. So they have to properly manage all these activities, to be the LINK between translator/proofreader/client and viceversa.

Thanks Ioana - and thanks Natalie. Very qualified opinions

To be true: what I stated was sort of "you'd better follow the whole career to be a good PM". I consider that a PM is on top of all that... and if he/she doesn't know the details of the art and business of translation, his/her work will be of, say, questionable quality.

Of course, no need to learn all the languages. But at least, be able to "smell" what's right and what's wrong.
Let me give you three concrete examples:
1) Once upon a time, I had a bad experience with a German PM who was proficient in Spanish. My translation was Ger>Spa... and that man couldn't understand at all that "a German original with 1,000 words transforms into a Spanish target text of 1,500 words"
2) Another PM, this time a great lady, didn't know a word of Spanish, but at least tried to involve herself in the project - and really understood how the Spanish target text must be formatted, adapted, edited, etc. - with my very own instructions. The result: the same client asked for several jobs more
3) Myself, editing a translation into an "exotic" language (don't wanna give details...) I happened to understand just 5 words of it... enough to know that "the translation might be reasonable, but the proofreader had done a bad job". I looked for yet another proofreader, who... "demolished" the task of the first proofreader, with heavyweight level of detail. And confirmed what I felt: a workable original translation, but better forget about the proofreader.


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Ioana Bostan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
English to Romanian
+ ...
True! Oct 21, 2007

You are perfectly right, Fabio. And I also just gave an example with "all languages", of course a PM is not supposed to. A good PM is indeed a "good manager" of the whole translation-proofreading-revision process and he/she is the "friendly interface" between translator/proofreader/reviser/client. And yes, having a good "smeling" upon this and also having good knowledge in the business is a sum up of all the above.
I do appreciate a PM's job very much and I am happy to have worked with a couple of them who supported my work and it helped me a lot.


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Oct 21, 2007

Natalie wrote:
For example, one of my best clients, representing a translation agency, even asked me once, if Russian is written from left to right or vice versa

With PM I mean Project Manager, not Probably Malfunctioning


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:53
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...
Me too Oct 21, 2007

Fabio Descalzi Sgarbi wrote:
With PM I mean Project Manager, not Probably Malfunctioning




I must add here that the mentioned agency is one of my best clients - reliable and punctual, and what about the quality of their work - it is excellent as they managed to knock up a team of highly qualified translators and editors.

[Edited at 2007-10-21 12:40]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Flemish to English
+ ...
Market Value... Oct 21, 2007

Keeping in mind a link with the real, non-translation world : What has the highest market value: a translator, a proofreader or a manager?
Managers are the one's who rule this world.


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A question of abilities Oct 21, 2007

Williamson wrote:
Keeping in mind a link with the real, non-translation world : What has the highest market value: a translator, a proofreader or a manager?
Managers are the one's who rule this world.

Hi Williamson
No doubt, to know the "business" counts to become a good PM.
But in this thread we are rather discussing the ability of a PM "inside" the translation process. And how the activity as a proofreader helps... or not.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
PM Oct 22, 2007

When I first saw the topic, I wondered how many freelance translators and proofreaders really have the ambition to become Prime Minister...

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Nadja Balogh  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:53
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
Working Hours Oct 22, 2007

Speaking of PMs, I've noticed that - at least in case of those Japanese agencies that I'm mainly working with - PMs seem to have cruel working hours... I'm not sure whether this is because of the general Japanese tendency to put in over hours, or because their job is really so demanding, or they have to stay in their office as long as possible in order to keep in touch with those translators residing in a different time zone.

I'm sorry if this leads a bit off track, but it just came to my mind... and considering it, I'm much much more happy being a translator!


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Barnaby Capel-Dunn  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
French to English
You're all right Jack Oct 22, 2007

Jack Doughty wrote:

When I first saw the topic, I wondered how many freelance translators and proofreaders really have the ambition to become Prime Minister...


Ambition? Perhaps not. But ability? Certainly!


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:53
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Talking about ability... Oct 22, 2007

If some of us have enough ambition and ability to become a PM, whatever its meaning - then, has our ability to proofread/review/edit other people's work any incidence in our suitability to be the general manager of the tasks...?

[Edited at 2007-10-22 11:12]


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Laurie Price  Identity Verified
Mexico
Spanish to English
+ ...
educating job posters re:proofreading Nov 12, 2007

I wonder when a job that was posted as a proofreading job will actually be that?

I've quoted for jobs called "proofreading" that were translation, copyediting, editing, rewriting, invention, etc., but rarely have I encountered actual proofreading jobs. Why do jobposters confuse proofreading/editing with translation? Even proofreading and editing are a few countries apart ...

I don't want to complain -- but ... I've received work from clients who truly think that proofreading entails taking a substandard document or translation and rewriting it.

I beg to differ! I used to teach Proofreading skills and they have LITTLE to do with grammar or rewording ... I spent MANY hours training the eyes of my students to catch formatting, spacing and punctuation errors.

[Edited at 2007-11-12 21:21]


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