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Reviewing your translation after it's been proofread
Thread poster: Charlotte Farrell

Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 11, 2013

I did a translation job for a new client, despite there being some confusion with what resources had to be used and a great deal of misunderstanding, largely but not exclusively as a result of the language barrier. A few hours after submitting the clean and unclean files, I was sent the corrected file (by a proofreader who does not speak the source language) and asked to 'update' both my clean and unclean file and send them back today. I have never had to do this before and was not warned in advance that they would need me to look over the file once it's been proofread/edited/whatever. I've been asked to leave comments where I don't agree with the changes made. This represents a significant time investment on my part and is extra work that I didn't factor into my per word rate.

Do you think it's reasonable for the client to request this from me? Do you think it's reasonable for me to refuse or request extra payment? I don't feel this stage would be necessary if a bilingual editor had been used in the first place and I am losing time I need to spend on other paid projects.

Any advice/thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
I would do it Oct 11, 2013

I would do what they are asking of you and avoid them in the future. I hate agencies that waste freelancers' time. If they want to make changes, they should be able to do so in house or at least not bother the translator. If there are errors in the translation though, that is a different matter as they would need to be corrected. Translators do occasionally overlook a negative or misread a word, after all.

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Not uncommon Oct 11, 2013

It's not uncommon that I receive the reviewed files back and am asked to implement/accept the changes. In rare cases I agree with my client to get paid extra for the additional effort, but most of the time I am happy to do this as part of the job (and usually this would be agreed in advance).

Personally, I am very happy to have a say in the final changes made to my translation. It gives me the chance to accept or reject suggested changes, correct any errors which might have been introduced during the review and to update my TM and/or take note of specific preferences the reviewer might have (style/terminology).


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Oct 11, 2013

Thomas Pfann wrote:

It's not uncommon that I receive the reviewed files back and am asked to implement/accept the changes. In rare cases I agree with my client to get paid extra for the additional effort, but most of the time I am happy to do this as part of the job (and usually this would be agreed in advance).

Personally, I am very happy to have a say in the final changes made to my translation. It gives me the chance to accept or reject suggested changes, correct any errors which might have been introduced during the review and to update my TM and/or take note of specific preferences the reviewer might have (style/terminology).



... and I prefer doing it myself rather than having someone else "doing it for me"!


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 05:53
French to Dutch
+ ...
I don't like this kind of procedures Oct 11, 2013

It's always conflictual. If they have some remarks, such as "can you please next time use xx instead of yy", then I will comply, but I have bad experiences with criticisms, especially unfounded ones, and formal texts being transformed into babytalk.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Charlotte Oct 11, 2013

Charlotte Farrell wrote:
A few hours after submitting the clean and unclean files, I was sent the corrected file (by a proofreader who does not speak the source language) and asked to 'update' both my clean and unclean file and send them back today.


If you think that the amount of work that it would entail is fair, then simply do it. But if you believe that this represents a significant additional time and effort that you were not aware of from the start, then you should negotiate with the client for either more money or for less work.

I mean you should explain to the client that what he's asking you to do is really an additional task and can't be regarded as part of the original job. Perhaps you can offer to do something simpler, that will not cost the client more money. Either way, you should tell the client if you can't deliver this task on the same day.

What I usually do when clients send a reviewed translation back to me is to accept all changes except the ones that introduce real errors, and I also say that to the client. I have learnt that one can argue endlessly with an editor about things, and at the end of the day it's not worth it, so if the client is happy with his proofreader, then I'm happy too, and I only point out errors that the reviewer had introduced.

However, it sounds to me like your client had had the reviewing done in a non-bilingual file, and now expects you to update the bilingual file with all of the reviewer's edits. Normally my advice would be in such a scenario to reject as many of the edits except the ones that you believe are corrections of real errors that you have made, but... in your case the client wants a report with reasons about each edit that you do not accept. Essentially the client is forcing you to accept as many edits as possible (perhaps he does not realise that that is what his request leads to).

Yes, many clients expect the translator to look over the proofread version once more, but some agencies know that this is a separate task and they pay for it separately.

I have never had to do this before and was not warned in advance that they would need me to look over the file once it's been proofread/edited/whatever.


I agree that this is a separate task and that they should have warned you that that would be expected. If I had been warned about such a thing, I would nevertheless not include it in my translation rate but charge for it separately as a separate task.

Do you think it's reasonable for the client to request this from me?


It is not unreasonable of him to ask, but perhaps he doesn't realise how much work it would be for you to do it. Perhaps all of his other translators do it without quibble.

Do you think it's reasonable for me to refuse or request extra payment?


It would be absolutely reasonable of you. Simply be polite and explain to the client that what he's asking you is a separate task that you can't do in just a few minutes.



[Edited at 2013-10-11 17:20 GMT]


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Ian Giles  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2012)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Life's too short Oct 11, 2013

Charlotte Farrell wrote:

I did a translation job for a new client, despite there being some confusion with what resources had to be used and a great deal of misunderstanding, largely but not exclusively as a result of the language barrier. A few hours after submitting the clean and unclean files, I was sent the corrected file (by a proofreader who does not speak the source language) and asked to 'update' both my clean and unclean file and send them back today. I have never had to do this before and was not warned in advance that they would need me to look over the file once it's been proofread/edited/whatever. I've been asked to leave comments where I don't agree with the changes made. This represents a significant time investment on my part and is extra work that I didn't factor into my per word rate.

Do you think it's reasonable for the client to request this from me? Do you think it's reasonable for me to refuse or request extra payment? I don't feel this stage would be necessary if a bilingual editor had been used in the first place and I am losing time I need to spend on other paid projects.

Any advice/thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.


There's QC and then there's QC. My best clients check the stuff and if there are genuine queries/issues I get consulted. I have one client I avoid larger jobs for, because they love nothing more than QC-ing the job to pieces, then demanding you view all the comments/changes through Studio and implement accordingly. It takes forever. Life's too short. I would just avoid them.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:53
Member (2008)
French to English
Don't realize the extra work involved Oct 11, 2013

Actually, some PMs think that sending the revised translation back to the translator for review and comments is respectful of the translator's expertise. It's not necessarily intended to add more work but to bring about a sort of collaboration between the translator and proofreader. They likely don't realize, of course, that it's adding extra workload.

[Edited at 2013-10-11 18:55 GMT]


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Anil Karambelkar  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 09:23
Member (2011)
English to Marathi
+ ...
Proofreading & Reviewing Translation Oct 12, 2013

This problem is faced by many translators. Sometimes the translation is done by some time-passiing professional and then it is sent for proofreading, Then again it is sent to someone more knowledgeable for review and he finds so many mistake which are blamed on proofreader, though these are by original translator. In some case proofreading is sought even directly after DTP, which proves quite embarrassing and leads to mis-understanding between out-sourcer and service provider. And most of the times service provider is helpless.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
A right pain Oct 12, 2013

I agree with Tatty, Thomas and Ian's comments.

I'm not at all accustomed to having my translations dissected or my vocabulary choices criticised; it rarely happens to me and I now studiously avoid one particular agency that wants this done as part of its SOP, because of the extra time involved. The first couple of times I did it for them, it took me longer, but I soon realised that you can just "stet" any proposed changes you really don't agree with.

The best policy is probably to do what they ask this time then let them know that in future you'll be charging extra for ping-pong text work.


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dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
Best practice Oct 12, 2013

While I agree that it is time consuming, I still believe that having the translator implement the amendments made by the proofreader and/or the client is a best practice. I think quality greatly benefits from this process, even though personal taste plays a HUGE role in the sector I work in (transcreation) and every single amendment could lead to an endless discussion!

Claudia


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Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your responses Oct 12, 2013

I'm glad there seem to be viewpoints on both sides.

For greater context, there were quite a few changes made by the proofreader and so the PM could have thought that this meant I had made a lot of errors. When I looked through them, however, most of these were stylistic changes (which were fine but not errors/strictly necessary) or in fact errors put in by the proofreader as a result of their not understanding the source text.

If I had been asked to simply double check their changes as a result and accept/reject changes as I saw fit, that wouldn't have been as much of a problem. The main issue I had was the fact that I was expected to implement changes made in the unclean file I delivered into the clean version of the translation as well. As well as taking a lot of time and not being warned about the need to do this in advance, I don't really feel that this is the original translator's job, especially for no extra payment.

In the end, I asked for an extra ten euros to review the unclean file alone and make comments where I didn't agree with changes and did not transfer these changes to the clean file. Ten euros represents significantly less than I would have charged in terms of hourly rate, so more of a compromise to make up for the time I was therefore unable to spend on other projects.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Biggest beef Oct 12, 2013

My biggest beef with proofreaders is that they have only read the text superficially and aren't really in a position to judge whereas the translator knows the text inside out. As a result, a proofreader is far more likely to advocate literal translations and miss the point of these often many-layered complicated documents.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Mistrust Oct 12, 2013

Tatty wrote:

My biggest beef with proofreaders is that they have only read the text superficially and aren't really in a position to judge whereas the translator knows the text inside out. As a result, a proofreader is far more likely to advocate literal translations and miss the point of these often many-layered complicated documents.


A "proofreader" always needs to justify their own position by finding things that are "wrong" with any translation, no matter how good it is.

[Edited at 2013-10-12 10:27 GMT]


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Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 05:53
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
I wonder if we were working for the same agency! Oct 12, 2013

I just had this happen to me, the EXACT same thing, word for word. The owner/PM told me she would send me "feedback" on the translation had her non-native English speaker yet "expert in English" (what is that?) review my work, who made incorrect changes as well as added tons of questions (that a native speaker would not have). The PM then sent this back to me to "correct" within the hour (it was night time) and I sent a message back saying that I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be doing extra work (I had a LOT to fix after it was slaughtered by the "reviewer"), and that I wouldn't have been able to get to it right away, but could have it for the morning. PM flipped out, said she had made it clear that there would have been correcting to be done on my part (she incorrectly used the English word "feedback" to imply "further revision"!) and then wrote me that she was canceling the project without payment, insulting me for my lack of professionalism and saying that I was arrogant in saying that her "expert in English" wasn't as good as a native English speaker (quote: "I know your type!"). Are you kidding me? The whole experience was awful. I forwarded everything to my lawyer and did get paid within my time frame (since the owner/PM also neglected to have me sign a contract).

Anyway, in the end I think you did the right thing by charging a small fee. It's always tough with new agencies, their procedures aren't always clear - or even disclosed up front. Next time you can either negotiate your rate or not accept the job, especially if the agency's policy is to have a non-native speaker review your work (which, truthfully, should be a red flag in and of itself). Ugh!


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