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What do you do if you find a ready-made translation of your text on the internet?
Thread poster: Natalia Lis

Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:44
English to French
+ ...
Sep 16, 2006

It happened to me several times that I was looking for a translation of a term in my text and found what basically was a ready translation of the entire text or at least big chunks of it. This happens especially with warranties, but also with descriptions of products. BTW, I find it strange that a company doesn't know that the description of its product is already translated...

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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
What do you mean? Sep 16, 2006

Are you asking whether to tell the client that a translation already exists? If so, the first thing that comes to mind is that the translation may not be very good. Now, if in my opinion it was well translated, you've got an ethical dilemma.

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Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:44
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The translations are perfectly ok Sep 16, 2006

teju wrote:

Are you asking whether to tell the client that a translation already exists? If so, the first thing that comes to mind is that the translation may not be very good. Now, if in my opinion it was well translated, you've got an ethical dilemma.


The translation is good. It's not a 100% identical text though, but it contains sentences/paragraphs which are identical to the text you are translating. I'm not sure that telling the agency would solve the problem - do they have a right to use this other person's translation? Probably no more than me. (or maybe they do, or at least the company that paid for the first translation...)

I have such a problem right now. I have seen this other translation and it's impossible to get it out of my head. If I copy it, I'm stealing somebody else's work, if I try to form my sentences some other way it seems to me that they do not sound so good...



[Edited at 2006-09-16 17:30]


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craigs
Local time: 14:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Compare notes Sep 16, 2006

Maybe you can use it as a guide or compare your own version with someone else's, which happens to be done already.

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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 20:44
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Lucky you Sep 16, 2006

If the translation is good, don't waste your time on rephrasing. It clearly comes from the company, has been approved, this is the terminology to be used and you are not stealing it (it has been already paid for - hopefully - and, as you say, there are some differences in the text - not a copy&paste issue). So please feel free to use the existing translation.

If your client is the company itself, don't worry at all about that, it is even better so, at least there will be no discrepancies with previous papers. If your client is an agency, it's a bit more complicated: on the one hand, you found out what the expectation of the final client really is and you'll deliver a translation that will suit the client. On the other hand, the agency might feel that you deserve less money (and charge still the same amount to the client), so don't be an enemy of yourself. You might mention that you, on your own initiative, have found a previous version of this paper and you used it, to suit the terminology, but that's about the size of it. It was not your task to do web searches, was it?

I say "lucky you" because I am just suffering with a completely different problem: the client told the agency that a valuable help for the translator would be a previous version of the report to be translated, already available on the web in several languages - and that one is incredibly poor...


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:44
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
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Ready-made translaiton already on the Net Sep 16, 2006

I would not use it and hand it in as part of my translation.

I would let the client know about it (refer them to the site or so) and tell them that not all of it is verbatim but enough for sections to be used. I would come to an agreement with the client to put it together and charge per hour for this instead of my usual per word fee.

This has happened to me a couple of times in the years that I have been translating - the part of the Web only once though, and the others being that I had already translated parts for the client and they resent them in another document.

To me it is much more important to keep a client and maintain my trust relationship with them than to be finished in an easy way with a translation.

Well, anyway my 2-cents.

Lucinda


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:44
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
If you work for a multinational Sep 16, 2006

If you translate for a multinational: copy, paste and don't change anything that's not really wrong.

Multinationals are smart enough to instruct an agency to instruct the freelancer to take a fresh approach if they want exactly that. Most of the time such translations you find on the Internet have been validated by the same department that will validate your work.

In most other cases: copy, paste and edit if necessary. Google is available to everyone with a computer and a modem.

Lawyers and notaries don't charge less for copying and pasting.

Think about ethics when it's 'natural'. "Dear Mr Jones, I attach the translation of your high school diploma (driving-licence etc.) at no charge, because I discovered the translation has been published on the Internet."

Regards,
Gerard


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 14:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Copy it, take money for it. Sep 16, 2006

I can see no difference between the scenario you have described and the result of using a software such as this: http://www.lingotek.com/ which was recently promoted here on Proz.com.

Except that you are asking questions about ethics - whereas Lingotek doesn't bother.

MediaMatrix


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:44
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
International companies Sep 16, 2006

often don't know what local business units / separate divisions do.
I used to work for a large company with semi-independent national organizations, and believe me, they had no idea what was being translated into the local languages at the national level.
There was a corporate translation department, but
a) it took ages to get a translation, and
b) the translations weren't particularly good.

If I find texts on the Web that I can use, and I don't feel happy about 'cheating' my client, I give 10 or 15% off for use of existing material.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:44
German to English
+ ...
I don't see what the problem is Sep 16, 2006

To Natalia: Your client didn't ask you to check on the Internet to see if a translation already existed, did he? I don't think it's unethical to use the pieces that are well translated in your translation.

To Eva: I don't see your problem, either. The client said the existing translation would be "a help." If he wanted to use this translation, he wouldn't ask to have it translated again. He's obviously looking for a better translation.


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Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:44
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the replies Sep 16, 2006

I feel a little bit better now. I confess I was using those sources, but usually I would copy the straightforward sentences (i.e. those that could hardly be translated in any other way) and make some cosmetic changes in the others. In any case it was never more than some 5% of the overall text (ex. half of the warranty in a long user manual), and even now I have to search through several documents for those bits of sentences and phrases. I'm not even sure I gain time, it just makes me feel more secure

[Edited at 2006-09-16 19:43]


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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 15:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Cross edit Sep 16, 2006

I would cross edit it with my own version.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:44
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lingotek Sep 16, 2006

Thanks,

I did not know about this software.

If I were Trados, I would be afraid, very afraid!!


mediamatrix wrote:

I can see no difference between the scenario you have described and the result of using a software such as this: http://www.lingotek.com/ which was recently promoted here on Proz.com.

Except that you are asking questions about ethics - whereas Lingotek doesn't bother.

MediaMatrix


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:44
Russian to English
+ ...
I would ignore the fact that it already exists and do my own translation entirely. Sep 17, 2006

Happens with book translations all the time. I think it's wrong to copy and paste when you've been hired to translate.

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xxxmeriatra
German to English
+ ...
plagiarism Sep 17, 2006

Natalia Lis wrote:

If I copy it, I'm stealing somebody else's work



I'm no expert, but I'd be careful as this may be considered plagiarism.


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