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what to do when you need/want to change the original?
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Jul 26, 2006

Here's my latest screw-up and a question at the end.

The translation was close to 20k words, Word file, formatted in a more or less professional manner, except that now and then (NO, wherever possible...) the writer/editor used hard breaks (!) to format the text.

Now, as we all well know is a hard break one of the characters delimiting segments in any CAT tool (in this case TRADOS). Now faced with a sentence like:

Pizza
bestellen

and the translation

order
a pizza

one will end with two splendid entries for what I can only describe as Mad Hatter's TM:

pizza > order
bestellen > pizza

Well, there's several ways out of this problem: the one I took was replacing all unneccessary hard breaks with manual breaks. The alternatives - expanding the segments or even changing the TM's setup - were too suspicious to me. And in any case they would lead to the same question.

After delivering what I thought was a perfect translation, I got 5 (five!)mails (last one 10PM) with lists of missed/untranslated source segments. I thought I would die....

Next morning it just slowly dawned on me: the agent actually did the right thing:

i) created a TM from scratch by importing the bilingual version
ii) pretranslated the original file, that the customer sent in for translation

Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.

My plan for the next time:

i) ask first before doing it - this way you avoid future misunderstandings. And you may still end up with a NO.

i) do not send just the target and bilingual, add the changed source as well to the delivery

ii) make sure the agency realizes that the source is different, even if does not show (maybe, as the ultimate, a melded version, with the new insertions as corrections to show what's been done)

What is your experience? Any suggestions?

TiA

Vito

PS: the agent got flowers next morning. Unexpected but well deserved for all that stress with missing translations...

[Edited at 2006-07-26 08:55]


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:12
English to Spanish
tricky business Jul 26, 2006

Hi Vito,

Your postings are always very interesting and informative. Not much to add except that the only occassions where I've faced the same dilema is when the original document was a PDF and was sent to me converted to Word.

I amended the original text, then the proofreaders gave the go ahead to the PDF adding the missing bits. Lengthy process though... I'd rather have that than having a memory with loads of matches that do not correspond.

I hope they give you the opportunity of amending future texts.

Kind regards,

Marta

[Edited at 2006-07-26 09:07]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
I would have done exactly the same Jul 26, 2006

And please explain me why they should translate the customer file again?
In case you did not deliver a monolingual file the easiest way to obtain it was to ask you!

If an agency/outsourcer fails to understand your argumentation with the pizza ordering (which is exactly the same, as hexagon (br) screw - very oftne found in technical manuals, which I get for translation in Transit Satellite), than they do not deserve a good translation. This is a bit provocative here, but we cannot deliver a translation for "hexagon" which gives "screw" and "screew" as hexagon", because they will use this for the pretranslation again - but with "hexagon (br) nut", and what then?

You are a very kind person, sending flowers - what I have done would be sending the monoligual translated file.


Regards
Jerzy


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reaction to reactions Jul 26, 2006

... why they should translate the customer file again?
... "hexagon (br) nut"
... sending flowers ...


Why they should translate the file again? Because that's what probably the customer himself would do, and then the problem would propagate up the food chain.

"hexagon (br) nut": what can I say: context switching between different meanings of the good old CrLf. This is for sure THE royal way to end in a big laugh - what else is humor but a fight between two or more contexts. So let's laugh over it. And stay on heels.

.... sending flowers .... it's a cheap and effective way of getting out of a conflict. Plus there's so many cases where we take things for granted. The agent worked (unnecessarily, but still full throttle) one whole afternoon, to make HER client happy. Kudos for her.

Re PDF to Word: there's no conflict, backpropagating toward the original client in this case, because you are in control of the situation, In the case described above (not the only one, but soooo typical) it was a question of several sources to the translation delivered.

Regards

Vito

[Edited at 2006-07-26 11:54]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The client is wrong Jul 26, 2006

Vito Smolej wrote:
Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.


The client is wrong (and possibly stupid too). Don't change the whole way you work just because one client did not think before he leapt.

Samuel


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The customer's always right Jul 26, 2006

... at least when the customer's me (g). Now, seriously, I did not do anything extra. But there's been some extra work, possibly bad blood, involved and that was unnecessary. Practical question was how to avoid it in the future: probably impossible, very probably prohibitive in effort. But ... one can sense it coming - and of course avoid it - earlier than prior to such an experience.

[Edited at 2006-07-26 11:53]


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 00:12
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
Actually, it is an interesting problem I have been trying to resolve for myself Jul 26, 2006

In many cases, it is just carelessness on the client's side - if this is the case, I simply do amend the original, glue together segments in Transit, etc., and I wash my hands on all problems that may be caused by this approach of mine.

But there are other instances - e.g. it is a title, inscription etc. that has to remain broken for DTP reasons - now it becomes a real pain in the neck.

Either I translate and do not confirm for the TM (and it recurs as "incomplete work" all the time until I finish the translation); or I have to write down a note and delete from the TM after completing the translation - I prefer not leaving such nonsense in TMs I send out.

It would require a segment status that would say something like "translated, but only good for this particular pair of segments"

Antonin


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 00:12
German
+ ...
Darn straight! Jul 26, 2006

Samuel Murray wrote:

Vito Smolej wrote:
Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.


The client is wrong (and possibly stupid too). Don't change the whole way you work just because one client did not think before he leapt.

Samuel

Seconded.

Benjamin


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:12
French to English
+ ...
Thirded Jul 26, 2006

tectranslate wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

Vito Smolej wrote:
Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.


The client is wrong (and possibly stupid too). Don't change the whole way you work just because one client did not think before he leapt.

Samuel

Seconded.

Benjamin


They wanted a translation and they got it. If they failed to give you precise instructions about the TM management, then you were not at fault. It would seem perfectly logical to me that without instructions to the contrary, a translator will remove any seemingly useless carriage returns in order to translate and deliver a well-formatted document.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Exactly Jul 26, 2006

Jeremy Smith wrote:

tectranslate wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

Vito Smolej wrote:
Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.


The client is wrong (and possibly stupid too). Don't change the whole way you work just because one client did not think before he leapt.

Samuel

Seconded.

Benjamin


They wanted a translation and they got it. If they failed to give you precise instructions about the TM management, then you were not at fault. It would seem perfectly logical to me that without instructions to the contrary, a translator will remove any seemingly useless carriage returns in order to translate and deliver a well-formatted document.


That´s what I always meant with my "provocative" segments. If the text is Word (or other Software I can use and have here), it will be reformatted to fit for translation needs. If it is a tagged file, I cut and paste segments together - in this way I get segments I need and the customer gets a translated file. What he than needs, is to reformat it, removing unnecessary breaks (which are now empty). You can also say, that if the customer has not learned apriori, he must learn aposteriori.

Regards
Jerzy


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
this is not a court of justice Jul 26, 2006

Jerzy Czopik wrote:
Jeremy Smith wrote:
tectranslate wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Vito Smolej wrote:
Of course the two segments [pizza] and [bestellen] - to start with the two examples - were misssing. And so on for all the sentences, where I replaced the hard breaks with manual breaks.

The client is wrong (and possibly stupid too). Don't change the whole way you work just because one client did not think before he leapt.

Samuel

Seconded.
Benjamin

They wanted a translation and they got it. I



I asked a specific question: how to avoid this in the future. Please note that it was that stupid client of mine, who worked extra hours and not me - not that it would matter from the point of view of the question I asked.

Looking at the above contributions, I just see a couple of thumbs down.

Wrong and possibly stupid too.

[Edited at 2006-07-26 20:04]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Sorry, but this is a misunderstanding Jul 26, 2006

Regardles if it was your customer or would be mine, the problem remains - your source was badly prepared.
You did extra work to get it translatable - not your customer. OK, it was not agreed how you should work.
But please don´t tell me, that getting such segments as you described in the TM has any sense. It hasn´t. So what the customer did was unnecessary work - and playing the ball to you now to get you responsible for that is not the fine english art. Using words like "stupid" isn´t it either - sorry for that.
But once again - they only needed to ask you for the monolingual translated file, nothing more.
To be honest - when someone uses hard returns in that way, he will NEVER notice, if you change that in a way you did. When looking on the file everything will be in place as it was - only that you was able to translate the text.

How to avoid such problems in the future? I´m afraid such problems will grow, as more and more people are using computers and producing files without spending a single thought about how they should format them.
From my praxis - 70-80% of my Word files comming from customers are very badly formatted. Even DTP files are that.
IMO this is the job of a good PM to reformat the text so, that it is translatable. If he fails to do so, I´ll do that. Usually even at no additional cost - but then I will await understanding from him and not making me guilty for some (unnecessary) additional work. He could do this before giving the translation to you - this would be the right way.

Please look what Benjamin says - and he is a PM. When I would get such textes from him, I would speak with him, but I´m sure he understands very well, that changes of this kind MUST be made.
This is something we could call "educating the customer".

Kind regards
Jerzy


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