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Applying the Woodstock Principle “Tsk Tsk”
Thread poster: Marina Steinbach

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Not always, Mikhail Nov 19, 2011

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:
The client still has to find a translator and pay them, don't they? The fact they don't hire *you* to do the translation doesn't reduce their costs - it only reduces the amount of business you stand to gain from them through this particular transaction.


Last week a good translation agency, a relatively recent, yet good client of mine contacted me with a proofreading job. The PM said a prospective new client was not too happy with the translation they had received from another vendor, and would like to have it checked.

I spotted the trick right away. In one of the originals there was a typo, (caps for readability here) "TWETNY thousand" instead of "TWENTY thousand". The translation (into PT) read "TWETNY mil" instead of "VINTE mil". No human translator - no matter how unskilled - would have left TWETNY untranslated, only machine translation would do it.

As a reference, my proofreading rate is 1/4 of my translation rate. So this smart-aleck end-client shot it through Google Translate for free, and then tried to hire a translation agency to fix it at a fraction of the translation price, as "proofreading". To make it stick, they printed out their original, and scanned it into JPEG files, to make it look like docs received on paper. The PM was furious at the attempted scam on her.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pull the other one Nov 19, 2011

Marina Steinbach wrote:

... I was told that the translation for this weekend was placed otherwise, but that they would need a proofreader on Monday.

Is this a new method for clients trying to reduce translation costs?


I might be an old cynic, but I'd say almost definitely, yes. It looks to me like they have looked at your rates, found someone much cheaper (probably more desperate and thus less discerning) and have worked out that they can maybe skim, say, a cent per word off the top if they can get you to "proof" the ensuing botched "translation" for a pittance.

A situation increasingly common nowadays, up with which I for one will no longer put.

PS: As José Henrique notes, it may not be the actual agency but a third party, but the fact remains that someone, somewhere along them line is trying to take advantage and the bottom line is that the "real" translator loses out.

[Edited at 2011-11-19 10:55 GMT]

PPS: The arithmetic is simple. The agency approaches you. You quote them, say, 10 cents a word. They then find someone who will do it for 4 or 5 cents, and offer you (or someone else) 2 or 3 cents a word to "proof" it and they keep the difference. AFAIK it goes on all the time...

[Edited at 2011-11-19 11:00 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Hebrew to English
Another homage Nov 19, 2011

Woodstock wrote:

Ty Kendall wrote:

On topic:

Woodstock Principle : What an homage!


No kidding! It made my day, and will keep me chuckling for days, to be sure. Bwahahaha! I wonder how many people will stumble over the title and click on it, just to find out what it means. The number of visitors to my profile has had an astonishing increase this morning* - I'm just tickled to pieces.

*Not that that will ...ahem.."translate" into new business, however.

On edit: added asterisk





[Edited at 2011-11-19 10:31 GMT]



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Principle

It's now enshrined in cyberspace. Therefore it's official. Now let's try getting it in the OED or the Encyclopedia Britannica


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:41
Chinese to English
Sounds like what they do in my pair Nov 19, 2011

I get this all the time: how much for translation? What?! Well how much for proofreading, then.

Sorry to hear it's happening in German-English as well. This is why I very rarely proofread, as prompted by many who give valuable advice on this very forum. Thank you, Prozians.

If something is in Wikipedia, it must be true. Hence...


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:41
German to English
+ ...
Wow Nov 19, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Principle

It's now enshrined in cyberspace. Therefore it's official. Now let's try getting it in the OED or the Encyclopedia Britannica


That's really impressive, Ty. Thanks... I guess.

But back on topic: The later comments are quite enlightening. I just hope more translators become aware of these exploitation tricks and refuse to play along. Awareness is the first step, and I wouldn't have thought it was quite so wide-spread. Very disappointing.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Italian to English
"Silly Neologism" Nov 19, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Principle

It's now enshrined in cyberspace. Therefore it's official. Now let's try getting it in the OED or the Encyclopedia Britannica


Fortunately, it has been classified as a Silly Neologism with removal reccomended.
It is also wrong: "The Woodstock Principle originates from a translators' discussion on Proz.com on 18th November 2011"

The "Woodstock" principle: far more people claim to have been at Woodstock than were actually there. http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=14011.150;wap2

[Edited at 2011-11-19 18:44 GMT]


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:41
German to English
+ ...
Good grief Nov 19, 2011

Russell Jones wrote:

The "Woodstock" principle: far more people claim to have been at Woodstock than were actually there. http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=14011.150;wap2


Where's your sense of humor? And did you actually read how this "originated"? and is there something wrong with silly neologisms? I wonder what Shakespeare would have thought. Language is constantly evolving, and I hope it never stops. And by the way, I was at Woodstock...


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Hebrew to English
Lighten up! Nov 19, 2011

Russell Jones wrote:

Ty Kendall wrote:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Principle

It's now enshrined in cyberspace. Therefore it's official. Now let's try getting it in the OED or the Encyclopedia Britannica


Fortunately, it has been classified as a Silly Neoligism with removal reccomended.
It is also wrong: "The Woodstock Principle originates from a translators' discussion on Proz.com on 18th November 2011"

The "Woodstock" principle: far more people claim to have been at Woodstock than were actually there. http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=14011.150;wap2


It's called fun. Embrace it.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Italian to English
Me too Nov 19, 2011

Woodstock wrote:

And by the way, I was at Woodstock...

So was I - in principle!

Ty Kendall wrote:

It's called fun. Embrace it.


About as funny as graffiti on your front wall!

[Edited at 2011-11-19 13:02 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
French to English
Quite so Nov 19, 2011

Russell Jones wrote:

The "Woodstock" principle: far more people claim to have been at Woodstock than were actually there.


I have to say, my first thoughts were exactly that, and I was a bit mystified as to how it could apply here. I suppose it depends on one's background and the associations one first makes with certain words.

Peace and love, man, and stay away from the brown acid....


 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Swedish to English
+ ...
I'm finally, almost, in Wikipedia - but for how long? Nov 19, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

Woodstock wrote:

Ty Kendall wrote:

On topic:

Woodstock Principle : What an homage!


No kidding! It made my day, and will keep me chuckling for days, to be sure. Bwahahaha! I wonder how many people will stumble over the title and click on it, just to find out what it means. The number of visitors to my profile has had an astonishing increase this morning* - I'm just tickled to pieces.

*Not that that will ...ahem.."translate" into new business, however.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock_Principle

It's now enshrined in cyberspace. Therefore it's official. Now let's try getting it in the OED or the Encyclopedia Britannica


Thanks for referencing my original thread Ty, but it looks like your article might not survive:

"It is proposed that this article be deleted because of the following concern:
Silly neologism - fails WP:NEO and of course WP:MADEUP"


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:41
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why put the worst perspective on this? Nov 19, 2011

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
So this smart-aleck end-client shot it through Google Translate for free, and then tried to hire a translation agency to fix it at a fraction of the translation price, as "proofreading". To make it stick, they printed out their original, and scanned it into JPEG files, to make it look like docs received on paper. The PM was furious at the attempted scam on her.


Why do you assume that it was the client? could it not have been the original translator that did this, there are a lot of translators who use GT and "post-edit", this would justify the client not being happy with the result.

I don't know what happened I just wanted to mention this because I don't see why you would automatically assume it was the client trying to scam the agency.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Hebrew to English
Not surprised Nov 19, 2011

Madeleine -

I never expected it to survive to be fair. Oh well.....


Russell -

About as funny as graffiti on your front wall!


I'm not sure I'd equate a Wikipedia entry with graffiti my front wall. The latter is vandalism, the former is not.

I also reject the idea that I was "wrong". Why can't "Woodstock principle" have multiple interpretations? Language changes, especially over decades. - Besides, I was joking.

[Edited at 2011-11-19 14:05 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Alex, it was ONE of the pieces of evidence Nov 19, 2011

Alex Lago wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
So this smart-aleck end-client shot it through Google Translate for free, and then tried to hire a translation agency to fix it at a fraction of the translation price, as "proofreading". To make it stick, they printed out their original, and scanned it into JPEG files, to make it look like docs received on paper. The PM was furious at the attempted scam on her.


Why do you assume that it was the client? could it not have been the original translator that did this, there are a lot of translators who use GT and "post-edit", this would justify the client not being happy with the result.

I don't know what happened I just wanted to mention this because I don't see why you would automatically assume it was the client trying to scam the agency.


Alex, this "TWETNY" was one, yet the most obvious pice of evidence of machine translation having been used. There were several other clues, among which a mix of Brazilian and European Portuguese spellings for the same word in different phrases. Even a foreigner to Portuguese wouldn't do it.

This agency is thoroughly bona fide, from my previous experiences with them. Of course, I didn't have any contact with the end-client, yet if the PM, from their interaction, smelled a rat - in spite of wearing Chanel #5 - it probably was one.

Post-editing MT by the most unskilled translator would make them translate the "TWETNY" into "vinte", and not leave it untranslated. Rest assured that nobody read that translation after some MT contrivance spat it out.

Yet granting the benefit of the doubt, maybe the client was not trying to scam the agency, but just ascertaining if MT is already reliable enough for them to stop "wasting" money on translators and agencies. Quite frankly, when I get abusively cheap job offers, I actually advise them to use free online MT, as any payment to a translator who accepts those despicable rates will be a waste of money. Now and then I get hired to redo from scratch some cheap human translation work, so I know exactly what it looks like. This case was definitely NOT cheap (nor expensive) human translation, but unedited MT.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Italian to English
Wikipedia and the Woodstock principle Nov 19, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

I never expected it to survive to be fair. Oh well.....

I'm not sure I'd equate a Wikipedia entry with graffiti my front wall. The latter is vandalism, the former is not.


Someone has to review it and make recommendations and someone presumably has to remove it - just like graffiti.

So that's used up some of the donation I've just made to Wikipedia's appeal for funds!
Perhaps others (no names) would like to contribute.

Since nothing can be proved, perhaps we should just agree with Alex that there are several possible interpretations for Marina's experience - as there appear to be for the Woodstock principle.


 
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Applying the Woodstock Principle “Tsk Tsk”

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