Do you inform agencies/colleagues about mistakes on their website?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 23, 2010

While browsing the Internet, I found an agency that operates in the area where I live. I thought about contacting them, but then I saw the copy on their website. There are thousands of mistakes. In fact, almost every sentence contains at least one mistake:

Examples:
"Effective language communication is the key to open the doors to

Getting the translation of legal documents incorrectly can lead to confusion...

...for your peace of mind - we only work with translators who are suitably qualified translation of legal documents.

So many companies are using free translations services…

You are letting go your POTENTIAL CLIENTS…

...the only limit to increase your sales is your imagination!!!

...help us to help you ramp your business"

When you notice these kinds of things, do you contact the agency, let them know, and perhaps get the opportunity to work with them or just ignore them because they are probably not serious? Or do you let the errors stand so people will know who to avoid? It really is embarrassing. If they cannot proofread their own site, then...

I have also seen this happen with fellow translators (mistakes in copy written in their native language or a language they claim to translate into). Do you inform them or not? I am not talking about minor mistakes or typos. We are all human and we all make mistakes or overlook something. What I am talking about are cases where there are so many errors, the entire site needs to be entirely rewritten or it is obvious that they should not be translating into that language at all.



[Edited at 2010-07-23 17:34 GMT]


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Human Nature Jul 23, 2010

You know how human nature is. If you point out people's mistakes, some will never reply. Then there are some who will be nice and thank you for helping them, but you never know whether or not they will actually correct the mistakes. Then there are others who will come out like a raging bull and attack you, accusing you of attacking them, and they can get really nasty. Of course you can also see all the above happening right here on this site.

Just remember that a positive respose is not guaranteed. It would be hard to say how many translators, for instance, could contact a company whose website, literature, etc. has been poorly translated, offer to do it right and actually land the job. I'm sure people have tried it, but as a strategy I would doubt that it provides much if any results.


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:47
English
+ ...
Yes, or at least I used to.... Jul 23, 2010

thinking, as you said, it might lead to an opportunity to work with them. But the majority never reply. So I figure they don't care and I let it go.

By nature, I feel compelled to correct other people's texts. I just can't help myself. I have come across some ProZ profiles with errors, and I have emailed the person. Again, only one has taken the trouble to reply; I think perhaps it may rub some people the wrong way.

[Edited at 2010-07-23 18:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-07-23 20:58 GMT]


 

M. Vučković  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 08:47
English to Serbian
+ ...
just let go Jul 23, 2010

Dear Jeff,
I know exactly what are you talking about, I see it every day on the web sites of state institutions and prominent organizations or news agencies here in Serbia but also worldwide. You cannot change the general trend which is "inferior people in superior positions" and at the end of the day exposing is most likely to be counterproductive, even with the colleagues, a modern version of The king's new clothes...


Regards,
M.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Forget them! Jul 23, 2010

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
When you notice these kinds of things, do you contact the agency, let them know, and perhaps get the opportunity to work with them or just ignore them because they are probably not serious? Or do you let the errors stand so people will know who to avoid? It really is embarrassing.

If they cannot proofread their own site, then...


Please, do us all a favour by letting the errors stay there so we are all warned! The errors you report are NOT typos - they are typical errors made by non-native speakers and as such have been made by so-called language professionals who are anything but professional.


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fruits Jul 23, 2010

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:16. King James Bible.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Website Mistakes Jul 23, 2010

Thank you for the responses. It is just hard when the company/person is located in your own neighborhood. I would hate for potential clients to make a judgment about me and other local translators based on sites like these.

I once posted an ad on Craig's List using the mistakes contained in another local translator's ad. It went something like: "Would you trust the translation of your documents to someone who writes: xxxx?" But I quickly removed it because I thought it was too mean.



[Edited at 2010-07-23 19:25 GMT]


 

xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Haha, human nature! Jul 23, 2010

I wonder if one's motives are very apparent...

Quite a while ago a colleague here on Proz pointed out that I had a typo on my profile page... actually it was quite funny because it was precisely where the text was about my work as a proofreader. So I had a good laugh and I corrected it and said thank you. Recently, this same colleague also pointed out a mistake on our website and we really appreciated that... it's a bit like having a guardian angel!icon_biggrin.gif

In a small grocery store close to my home I sometimes get smacked in the face by spelling mistakes, for example, ‘arbejas de oferta’. So a couple of times I've approached an assistant and said in a low voice something like "Thank you for this recipe that you've printed out for us to take... I hope you don't mind if I suggest that it might look nicer if it said...". They've always taken it very well... and I've never checked to see if they changed that sign to ‘arvejas’.

As for agencies, I only once commented to an agency with which I have an excellent relationship that there was a mistake in the Spanish version of their web page; it was very obviously because the person who did the layout didn't speak the language. I don't think I would write to an agency with which I didn't already have a working relationship to say as much, but I do know a (very polite) colleague who got a client that way.

Have a good weekend!


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:47
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Sheila Jul 24, 2010

Sheila's remarks about typos and non-native speakers reflect exactly what was clear to me while I was reading your examples - and I laughed out loud when I saw them.
It's usually fairly clear to me whether errors in English texts that I read on Web sites are just typos or real "they don't know English well enough although they think they do" errors.
When I see such texts I sometimes try to guess what language is the native one of the writer. If it's German, it is often obvious to me (when they confuse adjectives and adverbs, or use a German word order). I would guess in the case of your examples it is Spanish.
Oliver


[Edited at 2010-07-24 11:06 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
An agency should know better Jul 24, 2010

Oliver Walter wrote:
It's usually fairly clear to me whether errors in English texts that I read on Web sites are just typos or real "they don't know English well enough although they think they do" errors.


As Oliver says, it's normally clear (especially to an English teachericon_smile.gif) and often I just sigh and wish the (non-language professional) website owner had thought it important enough to have it proofread, if not translated by a professional.

If it's a ProZ freelancer writing in a source language then I'll have a quiet word with them - my own French profile page has benefitted from this type of help. If they are writing in their target language I don't say anything but I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to use their services.

But when it's a translating agency that is either uncaring or incredibly penny-pinching, what's the point of telling them they should have it done professionally? Aren't they supposed to know that? Isn't that what they spend all day telling their clients?


 

Romeo Mlinar  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:47
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
I did it once Jul 25, 2010

I did that just once. It was an agency where they insisted on details and meticulous checks - so I told them they have a mistake on their website. Nothing mean, it was done in a friendly manner (anyway, I saw it by chance).

Never heard of them again icon_smile.gif


 

Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 08:47
Member (2009)
Italian to English
Welcome at... Jul 26, 2010

A couple of years ago, I came across an agency website whose English homepage said "Welcome at XXX Translations!". I sent a polite email pointing out the mistake but I never heard anything back from the agency. I've just checked their website. The mistake is still there...

 


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