Agencies/clients changing your translation for websites-how much power do they have?
Thread poster: Amy Williams

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:49
Italian to English
+ ...
Jun 6, 2003

Hi there.
I have recently been working with an agency on a number of website translations. I have since revisited those sites and found changes and typos (e.g. 'CLIENTS ACCES' (?!?) for 'CLIENT ACCESS') which were not in my translated (FR>EN) text.

I appreciate that the text would have been handed from myself to the agency to the client to the web designer, and so the margin for error is huge, especially when a site designer who might not know any English is pasting the English text on the client's site, but the result is a scrappy mess which I would not wish to be associated with at all.

Without knowing whether the agency/client/web designer has tampered with the text it's hard to know what to do - I'm speaking generally here - do you just let it go, or chase it up? I guess you could argue that in any other non-internet document situation the client simply takes the document and does whatever with it, but then the work isn't published on the web... Does responsibility fall solely with the agency? Once the text has passed into their hands can you no longer claim the right to it?

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say.

Have a good weekend,
Amy


[Edited at 2003-06-06 12:35]

[Edited at 2003-06-06 12:48]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:19
English to Tamil
+ ...
Why worry? Jun 6, 2003

What was your original understanding with the agency? Usually once the translator has passed on his work to the client, in this case the agency, he has no right over that work. It will however be advisable to keep in your hard disk the translation as rendered by you. This should come in useful when afterwards somebody critizes you for the mistakes in the website. You will be in a position to prove that you had nothing to do with the subsequent mess experienced by the translation. You can do one more thing. Write to the agency concerned that it alone is solely responsible for eventual problems arising out of bad translation. By the way, have you been paid?

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Sherey Gould  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:49
German to English
Let them know Jun 6, 2003

This has happened to me, too - several times. I usually contact the client (in my case, though, it's usually a direct client) and let them know. I indicate a few errors I came across and if there are more, let them know that, too. In most cases, I actually end up with another "job" to go through the whole site and note the errors for them!
Usually they are very happy to hear this because, like you say, with that many people involved, mistakes become almost a given. I've only had one case where the client never responded (but this was just a one-time-only client) and their website still remains riddled with errors; I simply don't mention it among my list of references.


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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:49
French to English
Give it a shot Jun 6, 2003

The same thing has happened to me. I wasn't sure whether it was my client (an agency) who changed it or the end client. I wrote to my client and said I noticed a few mistakes in my translation and gave specific examples. I found out it was the end client (a Francophone who "thought" they knew English well) changing it. My client convinced them to stop doing that.

Pointing it out sometimes works, but sometimes doesn't. You could give it a try, but make sure you approach it in a professional way (don't take on an accusing tone or anything like that). Some clients are incorrigible, though. They think that their knowledge of English is perfect and they'll keep changing things that don't sound right to them. In this case, just make sure your name is NOT on the site.

Good luck,

Erika


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:49
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Have them send the final proof to for checking Jun 6, 2003

With most of my clients I have the understanding that they send the final proof (that is when the designer and everyone have made the stuff absolutely ready for publication) to me and I do a final check.

Up front when I take the translation I set up an agreement whether I will do this free of charge as part of the original translation (eg I did it free of charge for the management book I translated because I considered the wide audience it will reach after publication due to a well-kown publishing house) or I would charge a reasonable proofing fee agreed upon up front.

Your choice! I usually do fuzz about getting them back for checking because even if you have the original translation in your hard drive for safekeeping, how many people are going to take the time to write to YOU to have things verified.

The translation just stays out there with mistakes in it and your name somehow associated with it. Not good professionally, in my humble opinion.

I hope that this helps! Bon chance!
Lucinda


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ttagir  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:49
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...
An addition Jun 7, 2003

Hi,
1. Read again contract and NDA. If there is a prohibition to contact their client directly, then you can do nothing but contact the entity ordered this job.
2. If NDA and your contract do not restrict your contacts with the client, then you could contact them directly and explain the situation.
I was several times under item 2 and once under item 1. As for item 1, in case of a violation, they may refuse to pay you or say that you should receive a reduced remuneration in view of a breach of your duties. As for me (I mean case 2), in one case my direct contact vrought me a new client (fankly, it even may increase your income and bring you new clients:)).
Have a nive weekend!
T.

[Edited at 2003-06-07 07:41]


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:49
Italian to English
+ ...
I would let them know. Jun 7, 2003

If your only contact was with the agency, then let them know so that they can pass it on to the end client. In any case your agreement was with the agency and not the end client.

No responsibility should fall back onto you for the mistakes made by the webmaster, but since you have spotted the mistakes what does it cost you to tell them (or rather the agency)? I wouldn't suggest in future checking up on all you clients work to see that they have processed you translations correctly (unless you have a LOT of time on your hands), but in this case, or in other cases where you happen to come accross such errors, then why not do them the favour of passing on your observations.

If nothing else, it's good for the soul.

Cheers.

Sandy


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xxxIanW
Local time: 08:49
German to English
+ ...
My two cents Jun 7, 2003

Hi Amy,

I would point it out to them and offer to check this and future published work for them (at a fee, naturally). This will show your unwillingness to be associated with shoddy work, it will cover your back in case of any repercussions and it might just show them the folly of enlisting the expertise of a professional translator and then botching it all up by getting a monkey to typeset it.

And certainly don't let them feature your name until everything is as it should be.

Hope this helps,

Ian


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Dyran Altenburg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Forget about it and move on Jun 7, 2003

Since they bought the translation, it belongs to them to do whatever they want with it.

Yes, even render it unusable.

My suggestion is to never use websites as translation samples for potential clients (unless, of course you retain full control of what gets published/updated, which is extremely rare).

[Edited at 2003-06-07 14:41]


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:49
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 7, 2003

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
I guess it just depends on the individual project in question.
Have a good w/e,

Amy


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