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How to deal with a customer who claims my translation is in error but won't provide examples? JA>EN
Thread poster: LarisaS

LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
Mar 3, 2012

I'm doing a translation for a turn-key type translation website at the moment (I won't name names at this stage), and the client has rejected the translation. I asked to be advised why and given an opportunity to address his concerns, but he simply said that he didn't have the time to go over all the mistakes. I asked for at least one example, and he responded that I had translated 業務委 as "business entrustment" when, according to the client, I should have translated this as "outsourcing work" (which is incorrect anyway: at the best, it would be "business outsourcing").

I then provided a comprehensive list of examples on the Internet (both in JA>EN and in English in general) where the term "business entrustment" was used, and his response was "i've never had this problem with (agency) before, please stop".

I replied asking him to provide more examples so I could have a chance in good faith to demonstrate that my work was of high quality, and he never responded.

He doesn't seem to have any interest in resolving the problem in good faith at all, and won't provide concrete examples of my work being insufficient.

JA>EN translators: please comment on this thread to confirm that my translation was reasonable and that this is at best a stylistic difference of opinions.

Translators in general: how would you recommend that I proceed?

Regards,

Lara

[Edited at 2012-03-03 10:54 GMT]


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Disputable Mar 3, 2012

It is clunky, but it is an accurate translation of the meaning of the term; whereas "outsourcing" is really a bit of a leap as that isn't the meaning of the original at all... Also you'll see quite a few examples of "business entrustment" being used on English websites, so it really does strike me that I've maintained the meaning of the original and using the term "outsourcing", which is not used in the original, is merely a stylistic preference on the part of the client.

To give you an idea of the complicated nature of translating that particular term, I'd refer any non-JA translators to this Kudoz entry, in which 5 different translations were suggested:

http://www.proz.com/kudoz/japanese_to_english/law_patents/303655-業務委託契約.html


[Edited at 2012-03-03 10:33 GMT]


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xxxValerie35
Local time: 14:08
German to English
Agree ... Mar 3, 2012

I agree with Neilmac.

It's a translation that is too literal and word-for-word.

You should think this way: You are being presented with a gift of improvement if you recognize it.


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hmm Mar 3, 2012

I suppose that's true. I'm usually a bit reluctant to go too far away from the original meaning (as you can see from the Kudoz link I've mentioned, 5 different translators will translate a Japanese term 5 different ways!), but I'll certainly consider the feedback as room for improvement (although I don't know if that justifies the client refusing to pay for a rather lengthy translation project).

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Rod Anderson  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:08
Japanese to English
業務委託 Outsourcing/business entrustment Mar 3, 2012

>Translators in general: how would you recommend that I proceed?

What does your contract state in terms of the grounds for payment refusal?

>JA>EN translators: please comment on this thread to confirm that my translation was reasonable and >that this is at best a stylistic difference of opinions.

Do you have an example of the text?


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rod Mar 3, 2012

It's done through one of those turn-key type of agencies. I've put a support request through to them, hopefully they'll try to be on the fair side about it...

Here's an example from the top of the document:

業務委託契約書


(XXX等)(以下「委託者」という。)とOOO(以下「受託者」という。)とは、次の通り業務委託契約を締結する。


第1条(業務委託の内容)

My translation:

Business Entrustment Contract

(XXX, etc.) (hereafter, “the entrusting party”) and OOO. (hereafter, "the entrusted party”) hereby enter into a business entrustment contract as per the below.

Article 1: The Content of the Entrusted Business


Not unreasonable in light of the original, I think! Oh well.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Proofreader? Mar 3, 2012

Generally speaking, the translator should have the right to correct any errors. At least you must have the right to view them. Then, if you can't either justify your own version or provide what the client wants in the way of corrections, then perhaps the client would be justified in withholding some or all of your payment. But by refusing to pay anything without saying exactly what's wrong, the client is trampling all over your right to be paid for your labour. He's asking you to accept his word that your translation is totally unfit from start to finish and must be done again. I doubt you will be ready to agree.

I don't speak a word of Japanese but it does sound as though maybe you've been translating a little too literally. That could call for changes to be made if the end client is unhappy. But not zero payment, surely.

Do you think your client would accept an impartial review of the text? End clients are often not the best people to tell whether a translation is good or bad, but it's a proofreader's job to know. Perhaps that would be the way to go. Of course, you'd have to accept any criticisms then.

Sheila


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Rod Anderson  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:08
Japanese to English
業務委託 Outsourcing/business entrustment Mar 3, 2012

Thanks for the sample. I would have used outsourcer/outsourcee/outsourcing contract or agreement here.

Here's a rough translation:

"Outsourcing Agreement

This outsourcing agreement is made and entered into by and between (XXX, etc.) (hereafter referred to as 'the outsourcer') and OOO. (hereafter referred to as 'the outsourcee') as follows.

Article 1: Description of the Outsourcing Work"


Your client may have a point, but I don't think it absolves them from paying you unless it's specifically written in your contract.

What does your contract state about the grounds for payment refusal?


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rod and Sheila Mar 3, 2012

Actually that's a great idea to ask for an impartial review. I will mention that to the agency.

There's not a contract as such cause it's one of those web-based outsourcers - all they said is that if a client rejects a translation, then I can lodge a support ticket to advise that I feel my translation was of high quality.

Rod, I do like the way that that sounds, it maintains the original meaning well but is also clearer to the reader. That sort of phrase comes up quite often in contracts so I think I will adopt something along that lines.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:08
Chinese to English
Doesn't sound like good contract drafting to me Mar 3, 2012

Lara:
I have to agree with my colleagues above. The example sentences you gave us from your translation doesn't look like any English contract I've ever read. And apparently it doesn't look like any contract that Google's ever read, either.

On the "outsourcing" term: I think this is a perfect example of what English native translators who work in pairs where there's a lot of non-natives working into English have to do. Don't get dragged into super-literal translations, or non-idiomatic translations. It is possible that for a detailed legal text, you might want to clarify the differences between "業務委" in the Japanese legal tradition and outsourcing in the Anglophone common law tradition. But for normal contract translation this is crazy. Your "business entrustment" is, IMO, a failed translation, because English speakers can't understand it. Without knowing any Japanese, I know for a fact that you haven't conveyed the Japanese meaning, because you haven't conveyed *any meaning*.

Other phrases in your example are just awkward wording. "As per the below" sounds very awkward to me. There's a surprising number of Google hits, but I wouldn't ever write it. And the word "content" - the same thing happens in Chinese, with the same two characters, and it's one of the key words to look out for in texts. It's almost never appropriate to translate 內容 as "content". (Just to give an example, in some contracts that I've been working on lately, 工作內容 corresponds to the English "scope of work".)

Without knowing you, I can't know if this is fair, but when Howard Goldblatt, one of the most prolific Chinese translators, was asked what young translators of Chinese should do, he said this: "Get a sense of what English ought to be." You may know Japanese well, but to be a translator is to be a professional writer. You should be able to produce professional-quality *English* texts in all the genres you create in. It's not enough to piece together words that correspond to the Japanese terms.

Sorry, having read that, I realise I sound rather patronising. But I'm still going to hit the "Post reply" button, because the two sentences you gave us were bad. Word flipping, not translation.


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Phil Mar 3, 2012

Cheers Phil, I do see where you're coming from and I will keep that in mind as room for improvement

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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:08
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just an opinion Mar 3, 2012

I don't do Japanese so I've no idea if your translation was correct or not.

However I do know that the sentence "business entrustment" (I assume you meant this to mean entrusting business to someone) makes no sense and would not be a term used in an English contract, while the term "outsourcing" would. You outsource your business activities, you don't entrust them.

I'm sorry to say the agency is probably right and your translation is probably plagued with errors, because you have "transposed" the words as opposed to "translated" the idea, this is probably due, in part, to the fact that you don't really know the correct "business terminology" in English (as proven by your use of entrustment). You need to expose yourself to "business" English and get used to the terminology that is used, that will help you avoid these problems in the future.

[Edited at 2012-03-03 15:14 GMT]


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LarisaS
Australia
Local time: 20:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Alex Mar 3, 2012

That said, there are some examples of "business entrustment" being used (googled it), as well as "entrusted party" and "entrusting party". I do think the meaning is reasonably clear (entrustment of business duties by one company to another), but certainly it may be too literal a translation and confusing for an English-speaking reader.

However, as I've said earlier, there's certainly room for improvement in terms of making the document conform better to commonly used English business terminology.

[Edited at 2012-03-03 15:19 GMT]


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:08
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never try to prove it's correct because it's in Google Mar 3, 2012

I'm sorry but saying there are a lot of examples in Google just doesn't make it correct, bear in mind just two things: many non English users try to write in English, may people use Google Translate and then post their "translation", just because people post it in Google does not mean it is correct or even that English speaking people know what it means.

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