Translating versus copywriting
Thread poster: Marionlam

Marionlam  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
English to French
+ ...
Jul 21, 2014

Hi All,

I have recently started working with a client whose products and services are fairly technical, but I decided that the prospect of becoming reasonably knowledgeable in a very niche sector and therefore invaluable to them made up for the tons of research required to do the work in the first instance.

They are using a french scientist in their lab to proof-read my translations, and we have agreed since day one that there would probably be some errors / mistranslations to start with as, as I have warned them, I know little of their industry.

However, the proof reader knows the company and the industry well enough to suggest more than the necessary corrections. She is pretty much re-writing everything with added information, and we are moving quite a long way away from the original text. As a simple example, where I might have translated that the client offers "training sessions across Europe", she would expand by listing the countries where training might be available.

There is obviously no way i can do that since I don't work for them and I don't sit in their building, and this is quite clear between myself and the client, but the problem which I hadn't foreseen is that I spend hours updating my translation memory to ensure I "translate" more to their liking next time. It takes a lot of time, and the changes are no longer actual translations of the English copy, either....

How would you try and explain to the client that they are getting a lot more than they are paying for here.... Should I even try and charge them?! Or do I just shut up and carry on as a "draft copy provider" ?? I am generally unsure how to handle this....

Thanks!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Tricky one, IMO Jul 21, 2014

Taking your points out of order:

Marionlam wrote:
the problem which I hadn't foreseen is that I spend hours updating my translation memory to ensure I "translate" more to their liking next time. It takes a lot of time, and the changes are no longer actual translations of the English copy, either....

There's clearly time being wasted there, as additional information isn't part of the translation. I would suggest that you restrict your edits to updating your glossary to ensure that you use correct terms in future. Just because you have something in your TM that doesn't match what they ended up with doesn't make the TM invalid as such. And the QC function of the CAT tool should highlight the correct term translation.

the proof reader knows the company and the industry well enough to suggest more than the necessary corrections. She is pretty much re-writing everything with added information, and we are moving quite a long way away from the original text. As a simple example, where I might have translated that the client offers "training sessions across Europe", she would expand by listing the countries where training might be available.

It's interesting that you don't say anything about her level of English. Is she really just correcting, or adding to, everything you do? She isn't adding in errors which you then have to correct?

do I just shut up and carry on as a "draft copy provider" ?

Shut up, no; I don't think that would suit you or the client very well. But maybe you should suggest new methods of working where you will, in fact, be the draft copy provider, if you're happy to fulfil that role. OTOH, if they want to rewrite that draft copy and then pass it back to you, then you need to charge your proofreading rate on top of what you charge for the translation.

That's my take on it, anywayicon_wink.gif. It'll be interesting to see whether others have experienced similar situations.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:21
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
I'd welcome another client like that Jul 21, 2014

I have two similar direct clients and I hated it at first to translate things their way, but several years later - now that I do it their way - the flood of feedback has dried up.

They'd have a hell of a time finding a new translator who understands everything I've learned about their terminology and their correctors in the last decade.

If you and your proofreader work with the same CAT tool, updating your TMs with the final version of the text shouldn't take hours. Give "corrected" translations a new attribute, like validated, preferred etc. so you know why e.g. "bread" has to be translated with "pain et viennoiseries" for this special client.

For one of my clients I have a TU and a glossary entry to insert all address details of the Dutch subsidiary when I encounter the head office telephone number. I'm there to help.

Your best clients always get more than they're paying for. Your job is to make sure they were paying enough in the first place. The kind of service you're offering is worth money, so if you think you're being taken advantage of you should raise your rates once they've become addicted to you.

Cheers,
Gerard


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Marionlam  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Raising rates. Ah, yes, but... Jul 22, 2014

Thanks for your comments!

To quote Gerard, "The kind of service you're offering is worth money, so if you think you're being taken advantage of you should raise your rates once they've become addicted to you."

Have you ever done that? How do you approach and justify it?

Thanks!
Marion


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dropinka  Identity Verified
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
What is the nature of such texts? Jul 22, 2014

If the texts are not totally descriptive but also have a promotional/advertising element to them, then you most likely have to re-write them to keep them as punchy as the original. Obviously the proofreader's "corrections" may be very subjective -- they always are when personal taste plays such an important role. However, *if* we are talking about promotional and advertising texts, then re-writing them is possibly the only way to deal with them, and I wouldn't use a CAT tool to *adapt* promotional/advertising copy...

Claudia


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