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Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Sep 14, 2008

Quite a situation:

1) 3 weeks ago I did a translation not into my native language (a really technical) - this was a legal+technical text into English.
2) With the PM we had a clear agreement before I accepted the job (she also recognized that the text is really difficult) that the translation SHOULD be revised by a native speaker. I provided two options - my own English native-speaker reviser for some extra charge or they revise this piece themselves (as the agency was from the UK). They agreed to the 2nd option and I thought they really understood that they will need to revise.
3) job delivered on time, did all my best - they confirmed the receipt and I was wondering why their reviser is silent - not a single question or anything about the translation (there should have been quite a dozen of questions, at least).
4) after 3 weeks (when it is time to issue an invoice for them for this job and other smaller previously done jobs), I get a copy of the "negative feedback" from their client - many things are related to linguistic issues - some prepositions, some terminology issues, and so on.

Reading the file with the clients remarks, I just compared it to my own "raw" translation and it was 1:1. In other words, no one ever read or revised the text at the agency - they simply re-attached it and sent it to the client. What to do now as not to get into a complicated situation? I can recognize some mistakes (I will never know English better than any linguist native-speaker of English), but these mistakes are not critical and not very numerous. But we had an agreement with them that the text WILL be revised by a native speaker.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:57
English to French
+ ...
You should ask for the actual text sent to customer Sep 14, 2008

Instead of simply guessing that no editing was done on your document, you should ask the agency to provide the text that was actually sent to the customer, as this customer is (supposedly) complaining on the editor's text, not on yours.
I do not know if your agreement was just verbal, or in writing, but anyway the agency is supposed to have the text proofread by a native speaker before sending it to the customer.
Once you get the document, you will easily find out.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
one more question Sep 14, 2008

bohy wrote:

Instead of simply guessing that no editing was done on your document, you should ask the agency to provide the text that was actually sent to the customer, as this customer is (supposedly) complaining on the editor's text, not on yours.
I do not know if your agreement was just verbal, or in writing, but anyway the agency is supposed to have the text proofread by a native speaker before sending it to the customer.
Once you get the document, you will easily find out.


Thanks - your advice is great. One more question - about the agreement - is it verbal or written if I have all email correspondence about that (where I clearly stated the need of revision and where the agency clearly stated OK)?


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
If I understood you correctly.... Sep 14, 2008

you are saying that you have the agreement on review/revision by the agency's editor fully documented in e-mail, right? If that is the case, then you have nothing to worry about in theory. Do ask for a copy of the exact text which was delivered to the client and compare it to what you delivered. If the agency tried to cut corners here and save money by skipping the review, you certainly cannot be held responsible for that. If you have clearly documented your offer to have a reviewer familiar with your work do the revisions and they opted not to accept this, then they are fully responsible for the consequences.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 14:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, Kevin Sep 14, 2008

Kevin - thanks a lot. Here are some excerpts from our email correspondence with the PM. Before the job was accepted. And in the PO they clearly mentioned "Translation" only.

PM: Will this include revision by an English native speaker on your end?
ME: No, revision goes on a separate basis - it is around ... EUR. But, maybe, you can take a look yourself just to improve some minor things? I promise there won't be a lot of those. Please let me know which option is better for you.
PM: Without revision I could accept ... EUR for 1000 words. Would this be okay for you? I know that it isn't an easy text but we don't have a huge budget for this translation.
ME: ... EUR for 1000 words is OK for me. But please do have someone to take look into the text, at least. I am not a native speaker of the target language.
PM: OK, we will revise. Here comes the PO. Please confirm the job, and the deadline.

Do you think such email correspondence can be enough for a non-verbal (i.e. written) agreement proof? Esp. in case the issue becomes hard for a compromise with the PM and the agency? From the text which they sent to me with the end-client remarks, it is 1:1 what I sent to them as "translation". Not a single place edited by them...

[Edited at 2008-09-14 22:10]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Well.... Sep 14, 2008

As I see it you are basically covered. However, I'd like to slap your fingers a bit for "I promise there won't be a lot of those". Do yourself a favor and don't say that. Promise to do the best you can, to document any uncertainty on your part and to answer any and all questions a reviewer might have. Don't make quality promises for a target language which is not your native language if you don't have to. I assume there aren't lots of native English speakers who can deal with your source language (the only ones I know of have parents from your country), so this is one of those situations where the agency will have to be prepared to accept the quality measures that are almost inevitably necessary when someone translates into his/her second language.

You made it very clear that revision would be necessary and you did so BEFORE accepting the job. The PM clearly accepted that and promised that the text would be revised. End of story. Even if you screwed up completely (no reason to think you did), you are off the hook as I see it if the reviewer (who may not exist) never asked any questions. Do get a copy of the actual text delivered and run a comparison (if this is MS Word use the comparison function - that'll give you a fast overview that misses nothing). I am very curious what really happened. But don't let anyone guilt trip you here - you have done the right thing as I see it.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with Kevin completely Sep 15, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:


As I see it you are basically covered. However, I'd like to slap your fingers a bit for "I promise there won't be a lot of those". Do yourself a favor and don't say that. Promise to do the best you can, to document any uncertainty on your part and to answer any and all questions a reviewer might have. Don't make quality promises for a target language which is not your native language if you don't have to. I assume there aren't lots of native English speakers who can deal with your source language (the only ones I know of have parents from your country), so this is one of those situations where the agency will have to be prepared to accept the quality measures that are almost inevitably necessary when someone translates into his/her second language.

You made it very clear that revision would be necessary and you did so BEFORE accepting the job. The PM clearly accepted that and promised that the text would be revised. End of story. Even if you screwed up completely (no reason to think you did), you are off the hook as I see it if the reviewer (who may not exist) never asked any questions. Do get a copy of the actual text delivered and run a comparison (if this is MS Word use the comparison function - that'll give you a fast overview that misses nothing). I am very curious what really happened. But don't let anyone guilt trip you here - you have done the right thing as I see it.


I would also like to add that from your own e-mail message any PM with half a brain would have realised that a revision was paramount (no disrespect to yourself).


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Quite predictable really Sep 15, 2008

While I agree with everything that has been said above, it has to be said that arrangements like these will never work out very well. Even with a review it probably would have been a dodgy text; the PM was a little too optimistic in my view.

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