dealing with translator and proof reader as a team
Thread poster: Harald Roald

Harald Roald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:13
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Nov 26, 2008

I recently had an issue working with a client. The project was very quite large, and with a tight deadline ( nothing new there I guess). I offered to do half the job, which was fine with the client , as he had other translators interested. A couple of hours into the project he came back to me again - he had gotten a offer from a translator/proofreader team that offered to do the whole job, as they were very "in sync" - according to their own words. As I had started, the client gave them the other half, and the whole proofreading job
Once the job was done, I got a feedback that my job was, according to proofreader/other translator, absolutely HORRID, and he/she demanded more money ( no surprise) for the proofreading part. Im quite confident in the work I do, and Im not used in any kind of "over kill" feedback. At all. But errors can occur. However, I got the clean files back - where very little had been changed.....how would you approach the client to get this solved?

[Edited at 2008-11-26 17:31 GMT]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
I would discuss it Nov 26, 2008

Harald Roald wrote:

..as they were very "in sync" - according to their own words.
.. However, I got the clean files back - where very little had been changed.....how would you approach the client to get this solved?

"In sync" means that they agreed about what they find good and nice, probably after discussing for a while. It does not mean that you (or anyone else) have to agree with their views.

I would classify the changes in your major errors, and minor errors, and point out their major errors, minor errors, irrelevant changes, minor improvements, and major improvements. Maybe you will have to discuss for a while, but if you will mostly win, you will feel quite satisfied.

BTW, was it a translation into your native language?

[Edited at 2008-11-26 18:31 GMT]


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Harald Roald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:13
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
translator/ proofreader teams Nov 26, 2008

I only translate into my native language

[Edited at 2008-11-26 18:58 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:13
English to German
+ ...
Team / in sync might be the magic word here Nov 26, 2008

Didn't you work together with them? When several people work on one job they are supposed to work together, not against each other. Did you have any contact details, email and such?

Just curious.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Looks like an easy discussion Nov 26, 2008

Harald Roald wrote:
I only translate into my native language

I asked because your profile also lists "Norwegian to English", and even if it was into Norwegian, it must be complicated with your 14 or so Norwegian standards..

[Edited at 2008-11-26 19:03 GMT]


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Make your case Nov 26, 2008

As Harry states, you definitely need to classify the changes and explain them - depending on the tone from your client so far, be prepared to do so in detail and as quickly as possible.

I would aim for "conciliatory but firm", depending on your level of confidence. You don't want to make enemies of anyone, but you do want to make your case!

If possible and as necessary, back up your claims (stylistic changes vs. actual errors) or at least examples of the changes with reference material (style guides, official terminology, native language website/media/literary examples of phrasing, educational grammar materials, etc.).

If in the end you feel that [a certain percentage of] the changes were actually due to errors or stylistic improvements, you may want to offer an appropriate discount to smooth things over.

Not an easy situation - I wish you the best of luck!


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:13
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Janet and... Nov 26, 2008

Harry Bornemann wrote:

Harald Roald wrote:
I only translate into my native language

I asked because your profile also lists "Norwegian to English", and even if it was into Norwegian, it must be complicated with your 14 or so Norwegian standards..

[Edited at 2008-11-26 19:03 GMT]


I agree with Janet and would only add that you shouldn't let it get you down too much. If you know you're work was of good quality, chances are it was. Own up to your mistakes but don't underestimate the zeal of some proofreaders. I got a document back the other day where the proofreader had changed "sincerely" to "regards!!"
Now, the real reason for my post - and please excuse my ignorance - what are these "14 or so Norwegian standards?" Dialects? I googled "Norwegian standards" but I couldn't find an acceptance answer. Sorry but I'm curious.


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Harald Roald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:13
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
dialects Nov 26, 2008

Now, the real reason for my post - and please excuse my ignorance - what are these "14 or so Norwegian standards?" Dialects? I googled "Norwegian standards" but I couldn't find an acceptance answer. Sorry but I'm curious. [/quote]

well, we only got 2 written standards, which is 1 too much for a country of a handful of people.....:-) that said, the dialectic differences are substantial. One can usually locate a persons origin within a radius of 20-50 kilometres based on the spoken dialect


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
2 ? Nov 26, 2008

Harald Roald wrote:

well, we only got 2 written standards,

I read the number 14 in a news article some years ago (while Germany got its new orthography), maybe the author dramatised it a little..

If you have really consolidated them into 2, congratulations, but I just found this article:

http://www.eeuroinclusion.org/index.php?menu=LANO

A striking feature of the language situation in Norway today is the fact that we have two official versions of the Norwegian written language that are almost similar to one another. Both versions have various accepted varieties with alternative spelling and conjugations and they are both very close to the spoken language. Because of continuous changes in the orthography, one can claim that hardly anyone in Norway knows Norwegian orthography correctly.


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Laurence Bourel
Local time: 10:13
English to French
+ ...
Give the source/explanation for every single point Nov 27, 2008

Hi,

I had the case a few years ago.
I was teaming with a colleague (I did the translation and she proofread it). Our work was done correctly and professionally. But the feedback by the client's proofreaders was horrible and of course they asked for a discount. Fisrt, we were surprised, but as we were confident, we asked to see the correction. The so-called "errors" or "mistranslations" were wrong. I sent back a table demonstrating each and every criticised point, with the source
(ex : this term is the official term used by the World Bank, etc). For minor changes, I just said it was a question of point of view.
Afterwards, everything was fine and they never upset us again. I think they wanted to "test" us, but as we assert ourselves, that was it.
Regards,


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Roberto Cavalcanti  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:13
English to Portuguese
Endless battle Nov 28, 2008

Some weeks ago I did a proofreading job for an agency, the client asked to make it sound real Brazilian Portuguese, I found out that the translation was made for another language variant. Later he wrote me that his client said that my work would not be understood by a brazilian, so I asked for his detailed comments. When the comments arrived they were really amazing, most of them said: perfect translation but coud be said that way... and their comments were full of "coulds". It was clear for me that the proofreaders were instructed to find something wrong. I had to reply every comment and show that there are some words you could use to say something but there are other you should.

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Hacene  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:13
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Tricky, but there are means to be fair Nov 29, 2008

Hi Harald,

Sometimes ago, a similar situation happened. Instead of me wasting a lot of "unpaid" time answering each comment, I simply proposed a simple solution:

find a third party proofreader and if the quality is good, the client has to pay the proofreader, else the translator (me) will.
The proofreader was to look at the following point and simply answer by yes or no, with a grade from 0 to 4 (4 being the highest)
a) the translation is an accurate reflection of the original (4 points required)
b) the terminology used is accurate (4 points required)
c) the style is fluid
d) the register used correspond to the one used in the original text
e) there are no grammatical mistakes and misspellings (4 points required)
An overall grade was to be given by the proofreader and a minimum of 16 out of 20 was required (on my suggestion) to be acceptable by the client.

Funnily enough, the client changed his mind, paid me and that was the end of it.

I know that if ever such a situation presents itself again, I will use the same mean, simply because I am proud of the quality of my work, but I might simply be too close to my work and the clients might be right from his/her perspective. Hence an impartial third party can provide the document according to the client's standards without having to waste time. It also shows that you can vouch for your work and that you are fair.

Hope my 2 cents help

Regards,

P.S. this client is still a regular client of mine


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