Getting credit where it's due
Thread poster: John Rawlins

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 16, 2008

I have often wondered why translators do not receive credits.

For example, websites always include the name of the web designer. Buildings under construction always have large signs announcing the name of the architect, plumbing contractor, etc. Television advertisements often have a discreet logo indicating the name of the ad agency. Corporate accounts always give the name of the auditors. Film studios even give a credit to the person helping the technician who holds the sound boom.

Needless to say, book translators receive a credit but most translations are not for books.

I recently asked a Spanish client to give me a credit and a link on his excellent commercial website - and he immediately agreed.

Perhaps we don't ask enough - and it may even be worth offering a discount for the right credit.



[Edited at 2008-09-16 17:28]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:58
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Be careful what you ask for Sep 16, 2008

Some clients have an unfortunate tendency to "improve" translations almost to the point of incomprehensibility. We see this every week when we walk into retail stores and see the remnants of a translation we did, which has been garbled. Every time I think "thank God nobody will associate me with THAT mess!"

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:58
Italian to English
Why do you want the credit? Sep 16, 2008

John Rawlins wrote:

I have often wondered why translators do not receive credits.



Perhaps they're not that fussed



Needless to say, book translators receive a credit but most translations are not for books.



I don't know about your market but here in Italy most book translations aren't terribly lucrative. A publisher's credit is to some extent ego preening in lieu of a decent rate.



Perhaps we don't ask enough - and it may even be worth offering a discount for the right credit.



Why on earth should we offer a discount if we can't quantify the value of the credit? Some of my online work is credited, as are my book translations, but I have rarely obtained jobs as a direct result. Word of mouth recommendation from satisfied clients is much more effective.

And Kevin's point is also worth bearing in mind.

FWIW

Giles


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some comments Sep 16, 2008

John Rawlins wrote:
1. For example, websites always include the name of the web designer.
2. Buildings under construction always have large signs announcing the name of the architect, plumbing contractor, etc.
3. Television advertisements often have a discreet logo indicating the name of the ad agency.
4. Corporate accounts always give the name of the auditors.
5. Film studios even give a credit to the person helping the technician who holds the sound boom.


1. Often not the name of the web designer, but of the design firm. And if you designed a site, then leave the design firm, they won't change the attribution.
2. I believe this is a legal requirement.
3. Not in my country.
4. Again, this is a legal requirement.
5. Yes, but only at the very end of the film, when most people have walked out already and the ushers are already cleaning between the aisles.

I recently asked a Spanish client to give me a credit and a link on his excellent commercial website - and he immediately agreed.


Nice to hear it. Yes, we need to be more free to ask.


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Mirella Soffio  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:58
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Not if you work for agencies Sep 16, 2008

Since agencies are supposed to add value to your translation, and to have the last word on it, the credit is theirs - and at times this is a blessing in disguise because, as Kevin aptly remarked, you can never be sure of what happens to your translations once they leave your desk.
I have been credited once in a videogame localization. After basking in the warm glow of glory (!!!) for five whole minutes, I noticed that the manual on which my name and those of my colleagues appeared included a few pages that had apparently been copied & pasted from another, similar booklet - one we had NOT translated.
Well, those few pages were simply AWFUL - there were typos and grammar mistakes galore even in the headings. And the headings were set in such a huge font that you couldn't avoid seeing them. Heck, who am I kidding? They were THE ONLY thing that stood out in that darned manual!
A very humbling experience...

Mirella


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 20:58
English to German
+ ...
some ideas here.. Sep 16, 2008

Hi! I dress maker needs a retainer just as a shoe maker and or a printer or even a publisher. it is all in a credit business, why should a translator not ask for a retainer, while rest being ... BR BRandis

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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:58
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
most corporate texts don't credit the author either Sep 16, 2008

Is the original copy- or technical writer credited anywhere in the text? Chances are, no.

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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
just ask ... Sep 16, 2008

John,

First, unlike a lot of the folks who have responded to your posting, I think you are right that we ought to be given credit.

I work only for direct clients, and I've found that when I do a translation of something smaller than book -- usually, a chapter in a book or journal articles -- the person commissioning the translation often offers to add a footnote or line that says "translated by ..." If he or she doesn't suggest it, when I've bothered to ask, I've only been turned down once that I can clearly remember, and it was because the author had to largely rewrite her book following the peer-review process at the university press.

I have on occasion had that nasty experience of finding a few words of my translation tweaked by the author (dadblastit) but it hasn't been frequent, and as much as I hate to admit it, when I read books I've translated, I always find one or two typos or "infelicities" of language. As I see it, it would take a keen reader to notice, so I'd rather get credit, and I'll assume that, on balance, my translation will recommend me...

Thanks for bringing this up, and do start requesting that you get an acknowledgment as translator!
Patricia


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Getting some of the credit Sep 17, 2008

Patricia Rosas wrote:

John,

First, unlike a lot of the folks who have responded to your posting, I think you are right that we ought to be given credit.



Thanks Patricia!

The other responders have raised some excellent points - many of which I had not considered.

However, I believe it is usually better to seek credit where it is due. Surely, any artisan takes more pride in his work if his name is somewhere to be seen. Being credited must generally help raise the status of translators, increase our personal sense of achievement, and bring in a few useful contacts.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
Italian to English
+ ...
Specialist articles Sep 17, 2008

One area (which may not be relevant for John, but probably will be for others - especially native English translators) where it's definitely worth asking to be credited is for translations of articles for direct clients which will be submitted for publication in specialist journals. In this case, you can be fairly sure that the client won't try to change anything after you've translated it (it has happened to me a couple of times, but I shouted at them enough that it shouldn't happen again) and it's actually beneficial for the client. In the experience of my Italian university clients, most peer reviewers automatically write "needs revision by a native English speaker" on any paper submitted by non US/UK/etc. universities - so they now thank me in the acknowledgements, which is good publicity for me and (usually) helps avoid the "native speaker" comment.

Otherwise, I'd agree with Kevin & co that you should be cautious, as you will very rarely have control of the final product. Only recently I asked to receive the revision of a translation I'd done for an agency, as I wasn't sure about a couple of terms - and discovered that the reviser had introduced a typing error, three missingspaces, missing words and some very dubious terminology changes. And it had already been sent to the customer...

[Edited at 2008-09-17 13:24]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:58
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Depends on the fields you work in Sep 17, 2008

In video game localisation, for example, translators are often included in the credits. Very often, though, it's down to whether you made this part of your negotiated proposal, i.e. whether you insisted on having your name in the credits when agreeing the price and other terms of your agreement with the client.

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Melzie
Local time: 20:58
French to English
+ ...
I'll second Kevin to a certain extent Sep 17, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:


Some clients have an unfortunate tendency to "improve" translations almost to the point of incomprehensibility. We see this every week when we walk into retail stores and see the remnants of a translation we did, which has been garbled. Every time I think "thank God nobody will associate me with THAT mess!"


I did a cd rom once where, in addition to changing tenses and word order for me, the person also changed the spelling of my name...
It's a bit too late to do any shouting when the finished product is on the shelves.
It was one of my first big projects and I just ended up crying. - and making sure that certain people knew that the mistakes weren't my doing.

I do hope he's learnt to copy and paste since then, as have the majority of my other customers.

Though, on a brighter note, people do seem to be "trusting" me more today and I would be pleased to, and have, put my name to a number of interesting projects.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:58
English to French
+ ...
I like to get the credit - but not necessarily as an artist Sep 17, 2008

I would appreciate some credit for my work, but not the same way a literary translator would. I don't need and I don't want my name printed on the title page, or even in small print. However, I would appreciate to get permission to display online and in my resume that I translated documentation for such and such company. I don't want all my references to be agencies - that is totally useless as it doesn't prove anything about my abilities as a translator (we all know that the majority of those who like to call themselves agencies have a rather bad reputation, mostly as it pertains to quality).

What I would like is to have permission to name my agency clients' clients. For example, if I translated a series of documents for a major software editor, I would like to be allowed to say that I did so. That would have much more impact. What would impress you more? A translator who says they have translated IT material for Such & Such Translations, Inc., or one that says they translated the manual for the latest Photoshop software? (This is just an example - I didn't translate the manual for the latest Photoshop software - or maybe I did but I am not allowed to say so...) Sadly, agencies systematically remind us that we have signed NDAs and that we therefore aren't allowed to name their clients.

I find this unfair. I feel that I am stripped out of the credit that is due to me. How do you want to get a direct client's attention when the only references you have are agencies?

[Edited at 2008-09-17 18:57]


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Naming without naming Sep 17, 2008

If your agreement prevents you naming names then surely you can be a bit artful.

'I translated the software manual for the world's leading photographic and graphics editing package.'

'I translated the corporate website for Quebec's leading manufacturer of aircraft and transport vehicles.'

And so on...


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Hmmm.... Sep 19, 2008

John Rawlins wrote:
Buildings under construction always have large signs announcing the name of the architect, plumbing contractor, etc.


Well, yes, so everybody knows whom to blame when they want to complain.

Joking apart, the names are nearly always companies, not individuals; - do you want the agency's name on your translation?
And how many buildings have this kind of information displayed when they are finished?

I am not ridiculing the notion, and it would be beneficial to the individual and the translation industry to be more amenable to the idea, but some of your examples are not quite appropriate.


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