Track changes/ 'Error' Ratio
Thread poster: Paula Borges

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:28
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
May 18, 2010

I'm just wondering if this is normal. This agency I've been working with for a few months now just started sending me texts with changes made by proofreaders and the following ratios:

0,1234567% error for this text
0,1345638% for this one

They ask me to comment and 'note' these 'mistakes' and 'errors', which they are mostly minor changes the proofreader made based on style and preferences. I think I've seen one 'error' that was actually a typo.

I have lots of work to do and simply do not have the time to comment and argue with proofreaders about their style and favorite words regarding small texts delivered months ago.

Is this common? How can I politely say that I simply don't have the time for this?

Also, they've asked me to send them texts with 'track changes'. That means, they want to know every single word I decide to change and every typo before spell-check. Why? Do you guys do that?

Thank you in advance for your insight.






[Edited at 2010-05-18 16:26 GMT]


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 01:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Keeping other peoples' noses out of your business... May 18, 2010

If you don’t want the agency to see your own editing, you can copy-paste the entire translation into a new document just before sending it. That way there will nothing to show in ‘track changes’ – it will look as though you translated it perfectly in one fell swoop from start to finish.

I do this as a matter of course, because there is lots of other embedded data in the translation which might ‘be used in evidence against you’, such as the time it took you to complete the job, the date/time when you started and finished it, perhaps even the names of people who might have collaborated with you in doing the translation. By copy-pasting the final text the embedded data shows you did the entire job in 0 minutes – that’s obviously not true, but it avoids sharing information that is no-one else’s business.

MediaMatrix


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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
Spelling/grammar only May 18, 2010

I comment only on changes based on mistakes in spelling/grammar that can be backed up with linguistic evidence (dictionaries, grammar compendiums, et cetera). Those should be very, very few. Everything else is style and therefore a value judgment. I do not comment on value judgments. Never, ever. Give a text to ten translators and you will get ten different translations in ten different styles - there is no right or wrong. Sure, some may be a lot better than others, but you simply can't argue as there are no mathematical rules. So argueing, providing feedback etc. simply does not. Make. Any. Sense.

We have better things to do. The client doesn't like it? Let him find another victim. Please, the sooner the better.

For Dutch we have the so-called Dutch Language Union at www.taaladvies.net They are the organization that is *officially* responsible for deciding what is right or wrong in our language (i.e. not just some club of linguists that happen to know a lot about Dutch). They also define the grey areas. So basically, they are God. We may not always agree with them, but they are still God.

So whenever some "proofreader" says that I suck because I do not adhere to his whimsical personal rules, I simply look up the issue at said site and refer my client to it. I got at least 3 proofreaders fired this way.

I'd try and find a similar site for your language.

And of course, it goes without saying that this only works if you play by the official rules of your language

Anyway, look at the list they send. You should easily be able to track at least 3 style issues at first glance. Don't even look further, throw the document in your trash bin and tell them the current feedback cannot be processed. Your contract only states to look at errors, not empirical value judgments. This will make them shut up very quickly.

Also, they've asked me to send them texts with 'track changes'. That means, they want to know every single word I decide to change and every typo before spell-check. Why? Do you guys do that?


That is absolute nonsense. Tell them you proofread your text at least twice after export from your CAT tool. Which changes do they want? The ones made after the 1st proofreading? The 2nd proofreading? Both of them? And what about the changes you made during the translation in the CAT tool itself? Those can't be tracked, but they're made nonetheless. Aren't you allowed to edit your translation in the CAT tool? Once you have typed teh, is it too late and are you only allowed to correct your typo in Word after export?

Totally ridiculous. Simply refuse. If they don't accept, give them the finger and tell them they should have majored in Statistics instead of Translation if they like fiddling with numbers so much.

[Edited at 2010-05-18 19:51 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Chase your tail May 18, 2010

Paula Borges wrote:
This agency I've been working with for a few months now just started sending me texts with changes made by proofreaders and the following ratios:

0,1234567% error for this text
0,1345638% for this one

That could be very useful for beginners and interesting and potentially useful to us all. I've always longed for some feedback on my translations but I have rarely had any, except repeat business, of course

They ask me to comment and 'note' these 'mistakes' and 'errors', which they are mostly minor changes the proofreader made based on style and preferences.

Ah, that's the catch! A "chase your tail" sort of feedback that could take longer than the translation. Will the proofreader comment on your comments regarding his/her changes?

Also, they've asked me to send them texts with 'track changes'.

That doesn't make any sense to me, and I don't seem to be alone there


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:28
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 18, 2010

Exellent ideas! I ended up saying that I do appreciate the feedback and respect the proofreader's style and choices, but I'd rather be contacted when there is a real error that I can actually learn something from.

I suspect the whole fuss is another strategy to end up demanding discounts. I suppose I should offer a 0.17687686% discount?

As for the 'track changes', I work with a CAT Tool most of the time, so they won't get any. I've noticed certain agencies operate by constanting belittling and terrifying the translator in order to claim discounts.

I haven't started translating that long ago, but there are certain patterns one can realise quickly.

Thanks again.

[Edited at 2010-05-18 20:07 GMT]


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imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Disgusting May 19, 2010

Many agencies do that. And many proofreaders seem to take pleasure in discredit tranlators work.

I don't mind they point my mistakes and typos. I learn with my own errors. Sometimes we really do them, specially in long and boring repetitive translations. I did one with more than 100,000 medical words and the proofreader found 3 mistakes and 2 typos... Two mistakes found I proved were not mistakes, using dictionnaires and references. This is more than acceptable for both of us.

But style questions with the worsening of having a Brazilian proofreading a Portuguese and vice-versa, are to make me really mad.

And if the company dislikes my style, patience. There are many other that love it.

When I do proofreading/editing I try to be elegant with the translator (it could be me) and tell the client exactly where I've changed because of a little msitake or because I thought that a little change in style would make the text more fluent.

About LISA QA (Quality Assurance) http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/40455-lisa_qa_model.html

O LISA QA conta com um sistema de pontos.


Durante a revisão, os números de erros são inseridos nos campos adequados de acordo com a categoria e a gravidade dos erros. À medida que os erros são inseridos no formulário, a informação APROVADA ou REPROVADA aparece automaticamente na área "Resultado", representada por verde ou vermelho, respectivamente.

Para obter mais informações, visite o site da LISA.

Projetos abaixo da métrica em uma ou mais categorias terão desconto no total a ser pago de acordo com a fórmula a seguir:

Desconto = (Desconto por cat. x Ajuste de volume) + (([Erros graves por cat.] =< Máximo de erros) x Ajuste volume)

Abaixo há os descontos aplicados por categoria e o ajuste que é feito de acordo com o tamanho (em número de palavras) do projeto.

Categoria Desconto por categoria Volume do projeto Ajuste de volume Máximo de erros
Consistência 9% < 1000 palavras 100% 10
Estilo 8% < 10.000 palavras 80% 12
Gramática 11% < 50.000 palavras 60% 16
Ortografia 11% < 100.000 palavras 40% 25
País 8% < 200.000 palavras 20% 50
Pontuação 11% < 500.000 palavras 15% 66
Precisão 10%
Semântica 8%
Terminologia 10%
Tradução errada 14%

Você pode clicar aqui para acessar uma grade de cálculo onde é inserido o número de palavras traduzidas e podem ser inseridos erros nas diferentes categorias. Se uma categoria for reprovada, será mostrado o desconto a ser aplicado.

Após ser finalizado o controle de qualidade, são considerados quatro níveis, de acordo com o resultado a seguir.

Classificação Descrição
Resultado = ou > a 99,5%
Resultado = ou > a 99%
Resultado = ou > a 98%
Resultado < a 98%

A média das classificações é calculada e exibida no perfil do fornecedor de acordo com a área de especialização e também é obtida uma média geral através da análise dos projetos avaliados no último ano.
Os fornecedores que possuírem classificação dentro da faixa verde terão prioridade absoluta no recebimento de projetos. Por sua vez, fornecedores com classificação dentro da faixa preta serão removidos de nosso banco de dados.


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Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:28
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I don't understand!!!??? May 19, 2010

Why do they need programs and statistics like that? Don't they trust their proofreaders and staff? They should be able to analyse what a good translation is.

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:28
Member
English to French
Erasing one's trails May 19, 2010

mediamatrix wrote:
...I do this as a matter of course, because there is lots of other embedded data in the translation which might ‘be used in evidence against you’, such as the time it took you to complete the job, the date/time when you started and finished it, perhaps even the names of people who might have collaborated with you in doing the translation....

There is indeed no need for agencies to know what workflow/steps we follow to be more productive on Word files.
A CAT tool is useful for this issue, because the target file can be built just before delivery. For bilingual files to deliver in Word, you can subsequently apply your own TM on the source file and do a quick check in case of multiple translations for the same source segment.
Renaming the file or an RTF conversion then back to .doc or .docx may also atomise any unwanted data.

Back to the topic, just don't let anybody bully you if you feel it that way. If you actually think it is a waste of time, pick a few examples and let them know that you won't comment more as it would take time and wouldn't add any value to the translation. Because this is what editing is about: adding value to the translation.

Once I had CAT tools' autoQA thrown back at me, an agency thinking that an automated QA would pick up missing/wrong stuff. They required me to justify why there wasn't the same numbers in source and target (like 24x7 translated as 24h/24, 7j/7, imperial converted in metric...), why semi-colon when the source segment contained a full stop and the usual QA checks included in any decent CAT tool (punctuation, termbase compliance, segment length, identical segments and such). I explained to them that they couldn't spare a human reviewer if they wanted the 80kwords reviewed. I just didn't want to waste my time and state the obvious to non-French speakers who anyway wouldn't know if I tell the truth or not.
Agencies are usually experienced enough to know what a translator's job is like. They have procedures they use by default, but if you tell them these procedures are silly in your context (and nobody did before you because they didn't dare), they usually trust your judgment. If they don't, then the relationship is unbalanced (or they're too large to remain connected to reality) and you need them more than they need you.

Philippe


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tell them to find another monkey May 19, 2010

This is busybody nitpicking of the worst kind. If you are confident that the work you have delivered is up to scratch, I'd give this client short shrift.
For me, the "Track changes" option is no more than a hindrance - I am physically and mentally unable to revise or edit a text with this option activated - the blur of coloured lines ends up creating a trance like state and fuzzy eyeballs.
This is why I always send a list (in Spanish) of my working preferences to potential clients, the second of which is this:
2) Se ruega a los clientes entregar los documentos en formato no protegido, con la opción “Control de cambios” desactivada, a fin de agilizar nuestro proceso.
(Clients are requested to deliver the documents in unprotected format, with the Track Changes option disabled, to expedite our (translation) process.


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