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None of my business?
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 19:22
Oct 29, 2008

Today I happened to come across a website I translated a few months ago. The website in Chinese is miserable: there are all kinds of errors. I noticed my translation had been proofread by someone apparently without linguistic competence, probably a Chinese employee in the company who was available for the proofreading. Then there were many embedding problems: repeated words, wrong order of words, changed punctuations...

When the PM assigned me the job, she emphasized, we don't need a literal translation, but it must be appealing to Chinese business people, ending up they contact us.

With such a site, I doubt if any educated Chinese would find them appealing. I am not happy with the site, seeing my work spoiled. On the other hand, why should I bother contacting them, if they trusted their proofreader more than me?



[Edited at 2008-10-30 08:28]


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SilviuM
Romania
Local time: 01:22
Romanian to English
+ ...
A world of... "It works just the same"... :P Oct 29, 2008

Well, I'm NO Chinese, but... rudeness is one quality that's present like... everywhere, you know.
Now, of course they've sent you this message. To twarth you harshly from your battlements of reproches concerning THEIR stylistical approach! It happened to me... numerous times. But the truth is that... people don't need any stylistical approach in a literary sense, but in a commercial one, especially when it comes to biz sites. It must be appealing to the Dumb 'n 'Bussiness-like' men and women alike. So, you'll just have to let it go; let'em wash their heads with their OWN idiocy.


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Odile Stuart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:22
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
I would not contact them Oct 29, 2008

this is an interesting topic.
I actually often go back to sites I have translated and wonder sometimes if I ever did the work at all as the text was so much reedited. At the end of the day we rarely deliver the very finished product, because the company who needs the translation has their own agenda and wish for a certain style. Sometimes there is a little something we can't possibly know because we don't live in the company and can miss the odd understanding of a sentence. But this is straying from your point.
I don't think I would contact the company who so badly handled your translation, they have their own politic and saw fit to have your text edited, as long as they haven't used your name to identify the translator who wrote the text.


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irina savescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:22
English to Romanian
It is none of your business and yet... Oct 29, 2008

What the client does with the product that you delivered is the clients business.
And at the same time, I can understand that you feel a bit frustrated that something that you obviously put a lot of hard work into gets altered and ultimately ruined.
Actually this has been discussed quite recently in another thread (though I suppose knowing that you are not the only one that went through this will not be of much help):
http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/117049-frustrating_result_due_to_layout.html
Try not to think about it too much and if after a while you feel it still bothers you, you could write a very polite email to the PM expressing your concerns about the changes.


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:22
German to English
As long as your name doesn't appear ... Oct 29, 2008

... as the translator, and as long as you were paid, forget about it. Your reputation and livelihood aren't affected by the hack job done on your translation.

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sdavidson
Local time: 18:22
French to English
+ ...
I agree Oct 30, 2008

I agree with Kevin. Forget it and move on.

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Agree with other colleagues Oct 30, 2008

Once it happened to me: My translation got slaughtered by somebody which was a "wannabe" Italian native speaker editor. The problem was that it had already been printed and there was nothing I could do, except for expressing my disappointment to the client (I don't even think that he got it).

This was one of my first jobs ever. Now, after so many years, if this happened again, I would not contact the client. After they buy your service, and especially if your name is not published, is their problem what they do with it. I understand though that it bothers you to see your job ruined like that...

[Edited at 2008-10-30 00:49]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:22
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Was it a direct client? Oct 30, 2008

If so I wouldn't mind to contact them and try in a polite way to make them understand that this product won't work for them. What do you have to lose?
If you did it via an agency you may not contact the client.
Regards
Heinrich


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Isabel Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:22
Italian to English
I think this has happened to a lot of us ... Oct 30, 2008

In the past, I have contacted the agency that gave me a job to let them know that the text published on a customer's website is not the translation I sent them.

This was mainly to safeguard the agency and myself - the end customer was a very high-profile company known all over the world and a good repeat customer for the agency (and thus me).
I was quite concerned because the website pages were aimed at the public and quite frankly the published copy was frightful, much worse than MT, making the firm look inept and ridiculous.
I certainly did not want to be held responsible for such rubbish, not even for the 5 minutes it would have taken me to check out the website.

I reasoned if the translation was ruined by an agency proof-reader, the agency could take steps. If it was a member of staff of the end customer "who knows English" (it happens all the time) who decided to "correct" it, then it is in the agency's hands to decide what to do.

Anyway, 2 years later and the website still has the same "English" pages ...


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 00:22
German to English
Direct clients appreciate it Oct 30, 2008

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

If so I wouldn't mind to contact them and try in a polite way to make them understand that this product won't work for them. What do you have to lose?
If you did it via an agency you may not contact the client.
Regards
Heinrich


If you have a good business relationship with a client and you point out to them, politely and in a business-like manner, that their colleague has made some unfortunate decisions in grammar, headlines, whathaveyou, experience shows they appreciate your professionalism.

Once I offered to re-check a website at no cost when I noticed some capital letter inconsistencies, they wouldn't hear of it and assigned me the job of checking the whole website.

-sylvie



[Edited at 2008-10-30 09:32]


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Karen Picolin  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:22
Member (2005)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Clienst/Agencies normally appreciate it Oct 30, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:

On the other hand, why should I bother contacting them, if they trusted their proofreader more than me?



[Edited at 2008-10-30 08:28]


I normally try to check the Websites I translate when they are published. When I notice errors, I usually point them out to the client/Agency, and most of the time they are really happy to tell the client or if it is an end client to change it according to the suggestions.

I normally always got a good feedback and therefore have managed to keep all my clients satisfied with my work.

This has kept all my clients satisfied so far. I normally offer after a translation is done to run a QA of the final poroduct before publishing/printing.

Proofreaders can make mistakes. So I believe, as we want our clients to stick with us and we do praise quality, that it is also our job to check the end product.

You got nothing to loose.

Karen


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I would contact them Oct 30, 2008

Mistakes are easily made when a text file is converted back to whatever they use for the web pages. Those errors just occur when handling the file, no editing involved. Things may also have a different context you expected than when translating the contents - the same sentence may need to be translated in a different way depending on specific context. Then things may have to be changed because the correct translation is just too long, etc. So usually a few things go wrong before the web page is at least presentable. All that before anyone decides to edit your text of course.

I would contact them to point out those kind of errors to start with - if they reply you could then point out editing errors as well. If they don't reply, at least you told them and it is up to them.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
I empathize with you Oct 30, 2008

I've had to remove from my CV practically all of the WebPages I've ever translated. They were sent with very few, if any, mistakes and as time went by they all received additions (with blatant mistakes) by webmasters, non-native English speaking company employees who thought their English was better than mine, and just about any other Johnny-come-lately who fancied him or herself a translator.

As someone mentioned above, I'm truly happy that my name doesn't appear on any of them at this point, but I agree with you and understand your frustration.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
German to English
+ ...
Sensible attitude Oct 30, 2008

sylvie malich wrote:

If you have a good business relationship with a client and you point out to them, politely and in a business-like manner, that their colleague has made some unfortunate decisions in grammar, headlines, what have you, experience shows they appreciate your professionalism.

Once I offered to re-check a website at no cost when I noticed some capital letter inconsistencies, they wouldn't hear of it and assigned me the job of checking the whole website.

-sylvie


Sensible idea.

But if it's not a good business relationship, then disassociate yourself and never, ever, quote it as a reference for the reasons stated above. In fact, it is better to never revisit such sites.


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SilviuM
Romania
Local time: 01:22
Romanian to English
+ ...
No names! Oct 31, 2008

Yes, I agree, NO NAMES! You should urge them to delete your name from the by-line. Or maybe they don't have such a thing for their site presentation; I don't think so, no. And, of course, you should keep their E-mail messages to put pressure on them, just in case they "forget" to pay you for your job well done.

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