Poor existing translations found during research
Thread poster: matt robinson

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Oct 6, 2011

I would welcome any feedback regarding the situation I have encountered.
I have agreed to do a short translation of some manufacturing equipment publicity material through a translation agency. On researching the product on the web I have found several texts translated into my target language which are frankly awful.
I could simply say nothing and do the job I have been contracted to do, or I could point out my discovery to the agency.
However, I do not know who did the translation. It could be the same agency, in which case I could offend someone ( a potential provider of my work?). It could be someone within the end client company who did their best but was not a professional translator.

What would you do?


 

Laura Bissio CT  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 18:44
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
already been there Oct 6, 2011

Hi Matt,

the same happened to me a couple of times.
I contacted the agency, told them that I found this material on the web, asked if they wanted me to reuse this material or match the terminology, and politely pointed out that I could improve the quality of the translation...
Both times I was told to disregard the translations I found.

I hope this helped.

Best regards and good luck!

Laura


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tell them Oct 6, 2011

I make a point of telling direct clients about this, as well as the more receptive/proactive agencies. Sometimes they are thankful, others embarrassed, and others they couldn't care less. At least I've done my bit.

The problem is that they might mistake your altrusism as angling for more work from them, revising the dodgy texts...


 

Ana Malovrh  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 23:44
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
suggestion Oct 6, 2011

Hi Matt,

you can write something like this:

During my research concerning the project XXX I encountered texts about the product, that I consider inappropriate/unsuitable for the target language. I found several errors/inconsistencies/ for example ....

Please advise whether I should consider this terminology/these texts as reference despite my doubts.

In this way nobody can feel attacked since you only state the facts you observed.


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 7, 2011

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm leaning towards telling the PM.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Tell them! Oct 7, 2011

Always report poor translations in the customer's material in the web. Feedback from an expert is something that will help them improve the situation.

If it happens that the translations you found were done by your same agency customer, then... well, they should have chosen a better translator for the previous jobs. In this scenario, it is possible that they do not convey this information to the end customer, but in any case it will be useful information in the long run.

Just so that your negative comments are not considered "professional jelousy", may I suggest that you choose the most relevant mistakes and clearly document them with links to reputable resources where the agency and the end customer can check themselves and thus confirm your good faith in this matter?


 

sailingshoes
Local time: 23:44
Spanish to English
don't worry Oct 7, 2011

I've been translating for 30 years and am always very frank if reference material is rubbish. I've never had any trouble back.

If anything it brings more work my way on the basis that 'nobody ever told us that before'. Agencies will always put good standard work before trodden toes (even their own). If they're worth working with at all.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:44
German to Serbian
+ ...
Do they care? Oct 7, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Feedback from an expert is something that will help them improve the situation.


Yes, but do they really care?

I personally wouldn't devote a second of my free time to educate them. For a certain fee, I surely would.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A matter of service Oct 7, 2011

Lingua 5B wrote:
I personally wouldn't devote a second of my free time to educate them. For a certain fee, I surely would.

Well, even if they are not interested, I feel that reporting this kind of things shows that you care about providing a good, comprehensive service. Of course, I would not keep reporting things time and time again unless they said that they appreciated the first batch.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:44
French to English
What are you trying to achieve? Oct 7, 2011

matt robinson wrote:
I could simply say nothing and do the job I have been contracted to do, or I could point out my discovery to the agency.

What would you do?


I would decide the purpose of reporting my findings.

Which in turn would depend what I found and where (you merely say you "found several texts"), and my relationship with the client.
Is this stuff on the company website or elsewhere? Do you have reason to believe your agency was involved? (Maybe this agency is involved now precisely because previous work was substandard?)

But the main thing is to decide what it is you are trying to achieve, and how best to go about it.

I should point out that many threads on here tell various tales of people flagging up rubbish translations to various parties. It rarely goes well.


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 23:44
English to German
+ ...
I have done both Nov 5, 2011

In the past, I have written to companies when I discovered a mistake in an advertisement (that obviously was a translation) and I have written to agencies when in the research for a translation for one of their end clients in found bad texts in my target language, but mostly got no feedback and certainly no additional work. I still think this to be good adventisement for me.
By no means I would ask whether I should une the wrong expressions I found on the Website of the end client.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:44
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I rather pretend I didn't find it. Nov 6, 2011

Imagine yourself to be your contact person, you will feel that you are putting him in a hard position.

There are many awful translations on the websites, and it is simply not our job to point it out to the site owners. This is how the world is and you cannot change the world.

There are many rediculous translations on the popular translation sites and no one seems to care about it.


 


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