Extra charge to review your proofread translation?
Thread poster: XXXphxxx
XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:11
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jun 18, 2012

Sometimes my translations will get proofread by someone else using track changes and then returned for me to accept/reject each individual change. This can be pretty time-consuming work and I invariably find that clients spring this on me without any notice and expect the finished file back the same day or even within a matter of a couple of hours. It can be very aggravating when you’re dealing with an overeager proof-reader who has gone a bit mad with the red pen, making dubious stylistic changes rather than focusing on errors/omissions. It doesn’t happen often enough to be a problem but I’m just curious to know how others deal with this. Do you charge extra/demand more notice or refuse altogether?

[Edited at 2012-06-18 11:18 GMT]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:11
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Depends Jun 18, 2012

I have charged for this type of work only once. The proofreader decided to present his own translation with so many mistakes that I demanded an additional fee to put it all right again. But that was a 20k document.

Normally, I like receiving the final translation with tracked changes as it allows me to see what can be improved. However, if the changes are unreasonable or introduce mistakes, I think an additional fee for changing it all back should be charged.

As to the clients deadlines - if I am informed in advance that they will require this service, I fit them in. If this comes out of the blue and the client has already got on my nerves with their demands, I usually explain that they will have to join the queue and it can be a very long one.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:11
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
it might cost more time than translating the file Jun 18, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

Sometimes my translations will get proofread by someone else using track changes and then returned for me to accept/reject each individual change. This can be pretty time-consuming work and I invariably find that clients spring this on me without any notice and expect the finished file back the same day or even within a matter of a couple of hours. It can be very aggravating when you’re dealing with an overeager proof-reader who has gone a bit mad with the red pen, making dubious stylistic changes rather than focusing on errors/omissions. It doesn’t happen often enough to be a problem but I’m just curious to know how others deal with this. Do you charge extra/demand more notice or refuse altogether?

[Edited at 2012-06-18 11:18 GMT]


It might lead to a lot of back-and-forth discussions if you reject any of the changes.

I have 2 types of clients:

Type 1: those who pay me by hour for reviewing the proofreader's changes;

Type 2: those who want me to review the proofreader's changes with a rationale in their mind that I must do this for them without any further charge, no matter how many rounds are needed.

I deal with the Type-2s in one of the 3 ways:

1) Patiently do whatever they want without making a complaint.
2) Just quickly look through the changes and accept all of them, unless I see an apparent error.
3) say to the PM that if they accept my translation, my job is over, and they should trust the proofreader of their own choice.

Those who I deal with using the 3rd way would stop working with me soon. And right, that is the way I want.

[Edited at 2012-06-18 12:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-06-18 12:18 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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I usually assume it is included Jun 18, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:
This can be pretty time-consuming work and I invariably find that clients spring this on me without any notice and expect the finished file back the same day or even within a matter of a couple of hours.


Yes, but I have learnt to be strict about it -- clients can't expect short notice availability for time-consuming tasks.

It doesn’t happen often enough to be a problem but I’m just curious to know how others deal with this.


I usually just assume that it is part of the job. My approach is often that I accept all changes that do not introduce errors. This makes it easy since I only have to highlight or reject a small number of changes and say to the client "most of the editor's changes are preferential, but I have no objection to them, except the highlighted ones". If an editor had spotted a grave error that I made, I don't apologise for it unless the client queries it specifically -- after all, that is what the editor is there for.

When I get such translations back, I usually make my changes using Track Changes as well, so that the client can see which changes I rejected by seeing my edits (since MS Word does not seem to have the facility to display rejected changes). I often write comments to my changes as well. I then deliver the commented/tracked file along with a cleaned, fully accepted file.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normally, no extra charge Jun 18, 2012

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Luckily my customers do not follow that process in all cases, only occasionally. Normally, I do not charge for this extra work.

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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:11
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
P.S. Jun 18, 2012

I suppose my assumption is that the proof-reader should be someone with as much or more experience than the translator so I do wonder about the logic of this three-stage process. That aside, would you agree it is reasonable to request at least 24 hours notice to perform any such reviews? I got one of these this morning and was told that I had to return it by the end of the day as that was their deadline to the client. Not really my problem I felt as they should have given me notice. What if I hadn't been in the office? I squeezed it in, but with 2 other deadlines today I can't say I was overjoyed.

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Make sure you know if an agency works this way and, if so, set limits on your own availability Jun 18, 2012

jyuan_us wrote:

[3) say to the PM that if they accept my translation, my job is over, and they should trust the proofreader of their own choice.



This is what seems to make sense. Unless the questions/issues/concerns can be dealt with quickly (and by "quickly," I mean less than 20 minutes) I do not think unpaid reviews of the kind Lisa describes reasonable.

The problem with a lot of such "proofing" is that it is done by persons who don't know (or who barely know) the source language. Thus, one gets comments along the lines of "there seems a word missing here" when a certain phrase has been deliberately left untranslated or radically condensed.

In general, I would say that, if you agree to work with an agency that requires such reviews, it is important to make clear when you will be available to review in the days following delivery of the translation. Otherwise, you could end up having other work or personal plans disrupted by e-mails requiring immediate attention.

I make this recommendation on the basis of an unfortunate personal experience in which, rather than disrupt a vacation day to deal with an urgent and unexpected request for review, I simply forfeited the fee of the project (a day's work; something like $350). A painful lesson learned.


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Vikki Pendleton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:11
Member
German to English
+ ...
how the process works Jun 18, 2012

I'm not really sure how it works out in freelancing. I used to work as an in-house checker at a translation agency. The translators there were mostly people with a science background and knowledge of a language; it was the checkers' job to make sure they hadn't misinterpreted the source text, missed any words etc.

In fact, as the jobs were dictated and then typed up by audio typists, it was also our job to correct some very unusual mishearings; I recall one occasion when the typist heard 'winged parrot' instead of 'wind power'

I guess the bit of this that is relevant to your post is that the checkers certainly weren't better at translating than the translators, it was just a second pair of eyes to spot anything that was a clear translation error/omission, as well as typos etc. Really, checkers shouldn't change anything stylistic unless the translation is really clunky.


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Susana González Tuya
Spain
Local time: 02:11
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends Jun 18, 2012

As Samuel said, I asume it is part of the job to reply to any queries the client might have so I do not charge for it.
One of my clients does it on a regular basis so more or less I expect to receive an email from them with queries two or three days later but it never takes more than 15 min to have a look at it and email them back with comments, as usually the changes introduced are nothing radical or mistakes.

However, in a few occasions I received from other clients proofread files with all sort of changes , just because the proofreader felt like it, and mistakes. In those occasions I had a quick look at the file and emailed them back explaining that in addition to preerential changes there were also errors, I included a couple of examples, and that if they wanted me to go through the file in detail and comment on each one I will do it within X amount of time.

Sometimes it is frustrating as it feels like they don´t trust you as a profesional or as if the proofreader is a first year student and you have to correct their homework.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:11
Chinese to English
This is where the problem arises Jun 18, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

I suppose my assumption is that the proof-reader should be someone with as much or more experience than the translator


This would be the ideal, of course; but in fact, it often doesn't happen that way.

1) Some agencies use proofreading as training/testing early on in their relationship with a freelancer, and move them on to translation if/when they are ready.

2) Think of it from a PM's point of view. If you have two tasks (translation, proofreading) and two translators, and you know one translator is better than the other one, which way round are you going to assign the tasks?

So often the proofreader is going to be less experienced/qualified than the translator. In which case, it seems like a nice courtesy (to me) and a useful check (for the agency) to let me sign off on them. But jyuan & Robert are exactly right, my job is over. So what they get is a quick look and then

a) if the proofreader seems competent, accept all;
b) if the proofreader seems incompetent, three examples from page 1, and advice to restore my original text.

Anything more than that must be paid for - I'll teach your proofreaders, but it'll cost you. And in the meantime, if you ask me to sign off on incorrect edits, the answer is simply, no.



Edit: a clarification: I do accept that I should answer any queries. However, the scope of those queries is limited to the text and my translation of it. I'm under no obligation to answer queries about the work of another translator. If the client's question is: "Why did you choose this word?" then I'll answer. If the client's question is: "What's wrong with the proofreader's choice?" then I should be paid my teaching rates.

Hey, I don't have teaching rates! I should fix that...

[Edited at 2012-06-18 14:40 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Is it part of the agreed setup? What setup? Jun 18, 2012

Some clients want really top quality translations. So they team up two roughly equivalent translators (to the extent of no noticeable difference - nor any complaints from them - if their roles are reversed), one for translating, the other for reviewing/proofreading/editing or whatever you choose to name it.

I happen to work often in such settings, under true teamwork, usually with one translator from a relatively stable and small group. Neither of us in the team tries to outperform the other in a competitive way. We reckon that the one in the translating role is too tied up with the source text, so upon reviewing we can focus more on the style/flow/readability of the deliverables in the target language, on top of correcting anything we consider wrong. The idea is that WE can improve it. Now and then, when there is some tough nut to crack, we discuss it over Skype.

This has been going on for some years already, and one more recent incident led me to write about it at the first opportunity, which seems to be here and now.

If the translator is significantly less skilled than the reviewer, the latter will have such a hard time fixing 'mistakes' that s/he won't be able to actually improve the output quality to the same extent as otherwise. This happens when the client thinks that cheap/bad translation + first-class reviewing is a more economical way to get the same outcome than going first-class all the way. They often fail to realize that the result will not be the same.

If the translator is significantly less skilled than the reviewer, chances are that the latter will have absolutely nothing to add to or change in that translation. Yes, this has happened, and the result was that a good chance to improve the output quality beyond average was lost.

In any setting, if the reviewer is struggling to outperform the translator in order to secure preference for the higher-paid translation role in future jobs, either the reviewer will really do it (being more skilled than the translator) or s/he might ruin an otherwise good translation (the translator being more skilled than reviewer). The problem is that all too often the outsourcer won't be familiar enough with the target language to ascertain what actually took place, i.e. how good is what they have to deliver.

If both translator and reviewer are mutually rated as having comparable skills, the final outcome will be considerably better. In this case I consider it - on top of being a normal job - as an extremely valuable development opportunity (exchanging views and strategies on something concrete with an equally competent peer), so I wouldn't charge extra for participating in such endeavor. The potential mutual learning should compensate for the additional time it takes.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:11
Member
English to French
Same here Jun 18, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
...My approach is often that I accept all changes that do not introduce errors. This makes it easy since I only have to highlight or reject a small number of changes and say to the client "most of the editor's changes are preferential, but I have no objection to them, except the highlighted ones...

One agency does that and the reviewer and I are like an old couple. We review each other's work, change as little as possible and reviewing the review usually takes minutes. I don't charge for this, and I find it is a good way to make sure that both reviewer and translator are happy with the outcome. I usually have about half a day to deliver, so I can get organised even when it comes out of the blue.


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:11
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Depends on the client's policy Jun 18, 2012

Most of the time, such work is too much time-consuming. I just stopped collaborating with one agency that would constantly pass proofreader's "creative work" and I had a choice either of approval or rejection, giving my reasoning each time. At a certain point, the time spent on commenting on the proofreader's misunderstandings, errors and even grammar mistakes became unbearable. And, by the way, that agency never had told they would want me to check the proofreader's work (to review my own reviewer??).
Yet there are agencies that work differently. For example, another agency from the same country have a paragrapgh in their policiy demanding availability of the translator within two hours after the job delivery. Thus, I always reserve time for them, with extra hours just in case, and plan my day accordingly. So far, one hand's fingers are enough to count their queries to clarify one or another sentence, though both these agencies work for the same ultimate client - EU.
Honestly, never thought about charging extra for extra time on the translation, but maybe it's a good idea to implement it in the future. Or to make this point clear in the beginning of collaboration.


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