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What do you do when you discover an error in your translation after you delivered
Thread poster: Carmen Grabs

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
Feb 8, 2014

I did a Translation yesterday and was happy with it, so I delivered it to my Client.
Today I am doing additional work for him, plus meanwhile I have actually come across the device I was translating, and I suddenly realised I made an error in the Translation of specific Terms.

Has that ever happened to you and if yes, how did you tell your customer? How did they react. I think nobody is perfect, but than again, it does not add to a positive Reputation ...


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:05
Romanian to English
+ ...
Inform them ASAP Feb 8, 2014

Tell them that after learning more about the device with the second job, you discovered it would be better to use different terms in the first job too.
I would do this ASAP. If it is an agency client, perhaps they haven't delivered to the end client yet.

Even if it is an end customer, if they sent you more of the same material, perhaps they are still working on the project, so it is even more advisable to inform them promptly.


 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's going to be hard Feb 8, 2014

Thank you, Annamaria,

yes, I will probably have to do that. Not easy, though. I can't reach the agency during the Weekend, so I will have to deliver the changed Version on Monday.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, definitely tell them. Feb 8, 2014

It would not be professional not to tell them. It should not be a big problem. Yes, something like that happened to me before, especially once when I was tired and the automatic spell checker changed some words. (This was more of a few typos problem, than a wrongly translated terms problem), but don't worry--it may happen sometimes, especially when more context is added.

 

BHASHNA GUPTA  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:35
Member
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Don't care about reputation, be honest Feb 8, 2014

In this situation, I inform my client as soon as possible. I know it can make negative impact on my reputataion but Quality is my first priority.

Most clients appreciate it and they understand that it can happen when working.

Also, they appreciate the sense that I care about the project even after delivering it.


 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I guess it's better if I tell them than their proofreader Feb 8, 2014

Thank you for your Input. Yes, honesty and Quality are priority. It will be ok. I hopeicon_smile.gif

 

Noura Tawil  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 19:05
Member (2013)
English to Arabic
+ ...
It happened Feb 8, 2014

Although I felt quite embarrassed, I sent the client a note and a corrected version as soon as I discovered the error. "Thank you very much. Don't worry, these mistakes are normal in such highly detailed projects."
I received more work from him a few days later, and a positive WWA feedback on my profileicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2014-02-08 11:42 GMT]


 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Noura, Feb 8, 2014

that's really encouraging!

 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 11:05
German to English
+ ...
Inform them Feb 8, 2014

There is often a misconception that professionals don't make mistakes. The truth is that professionals are ultra aware of human fallibility and act on their mistakes when they make them, while novices try to appear perfect. Clients appreciate honesty, because it means you are trustworthy - that is true reliability. The few times this has happened, clients have always expressed their appreciation for being told.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:05
English to Polish
+ ...
It happens Feb 8, 2014

It happens, tell them. It's not the end of the world. Don't make it sound like it is, either, or the client might pick up on your self-inculpatory mood and overestimate the importance of the problem. Just tell them what it is, where it is, and send a version that includes the correction. You don't need to explain what the cause was, as in was it ignorance or oversight or honest mistake or whatever else. Just communicate the correction and perhaps apologise for the inconvenience.

Carmen Grabs wrote:

Thank you, Annamaria,

yes, I will probably have to do that. Not easy, though. I can't reach the agency during the Weekend, so I will have to deliver the changed Version on Monday.


Sounds like there's a lot of rush and pressure. Remember that proofreaders and revisers exist for a reason and haste naturally leads to an increased risk of errors and mistakes. It's not your fault that you aren't a cyborg.

[Edited at 2014-02-08 13:54 GMT]


 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:05
Polish to English
+ ...
Exactly. Feb 8, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

It would NOT be professional NOT to tell them.


 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 18:05
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
A convenient solution. Feb 8, 2014

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

It's not the end of the world. Don't make it sound like it is, either, or the client might pick up on your self-inculpatory mood and overestimate the importance of the problem. Just tell them what it is, where it is, and send a version that includes the correction. You don't need to explain what the cause was, as in was it ignorance or oversight or honest mistake or whatever else. Just communicate the correction and perhaps apologise for the inconvenience.


I totally agree with Lukasz. Some of us I believe have experienced this embarrassing situation before. AFTER ALL, YOU ARE NOT ALONE icon_smile.gif

So, go ahead, send your new corrected version & apologize for your unintended mistake.

Best regards.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Email Feb 8, 2014

I would email them right away (sometimes PMs are there over the weekend) and say that you will send a revision by Monday morning (their time). My guess is that the agency will appreciate it.


Carmen Grabs wrote:

Thank you, Annamaria,

yes, I will probably have to do that. Not easy, though. I can't reach the agency during the Weekend, so I will have to deliver the changed Version on Monday.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:05
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
reputation Feb 8, 2014

Not telling them may save your face for now, but later, if the translation gets printed up in 20,000 copies or plastered all over the net, and the client then hears from their client that there's a mistake, your reputation will be well and truly ruined.

I would let them know asap. I might mention that there was insufficient context in the first instalment.

When doing staggered translations on the same subject like this I always reserve the right to change any terms at any point, even if I've already delivered.
(Not sure whether you knew there would be more or not, but just saying for future reference)


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:05
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
The man who never made a mistake... Feb 8, 2014

We all make mistakes! Nothing to be ashamed of. To err is human and all that. But having the guts to own up shows that you are honest and that you care about your client.

 
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