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You translated, they edited
Thread poster: Annette Granat

Annette Granat  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 13:20
English to Spanish
Sep 11, 2018

Hi,

I am gathering opinions on the following...say you translate a book and upon receiving the printed version, you notice mistakes that you didn´t make. You discover typos, punctuation mistakes, mistranslations, and other errors in practically every page. Do you get in touch with the publisher and ask them to fix them in the second printing or do you let it go?

Thanks.


 

Taufik Afdal
Indonesia
Local time: 01:20
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Editing Sep 11, 2018

I would let the publisher know and fix the errors since your name as a translator listed on the book and people might think that you are the one who makes the mistakes, thus gives your reputation a bad credit.
That is my opinion.


Yolanda Broad
 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Assuming.. Sep 11, 2018

I assume the translator's name will be somewhere in the first pages of the book so I would not let it pass. I hope there will also be the editor's name as he is finally responsible for errors, typos, etc. I would definitely, first of all, get in touch with the publisher to ask him to fix errors, typos etc. Then, if he refuses, I'll put a notice in the main newspapers to say this has been edited and that I did not submit it with such errors, typos. I think you can even go further and ask your law... See more
I assume the translator's name will be somewhere in the first pages of the book so I would not let it pass. I hope there will also be the editor's name as he is finally responsible for errors, typos, etc. I would definitely, first of all, get in touch with the publisher to ask him to fix errors, typos etc. Then, if he refuses, I'll put a notice in the main newspapers to say this has been edited and that I did not submit it with such errors, typos. I think you can even go further and ask your lawyer to send him a note saying that you did not make such typos, etc and that you are not responsible for them. These will reflect on your reputation, so less clients for you. Why didn't the publisher show it to you before sending it to print? I would stipulate in my emails next time that I would like to see the edited version before it goes to print as my name will be in the book.

[Edited at 2018-09-11 11:42 GMT]
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Yolanda Broad
Ester Vidal
neilmac
Lydie Parisot
 

William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:20
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
Have your name removed Sep 11, 2018

If none of Josephine's suggestions work, have them remove your name.

Yolanda Broad
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:20
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Older thread about the same topic Sep 11, 2018

https://www.proz.com/forum/literature_poetry/315509-when_they_change_your_translation.html

IrinaN
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 13:20
English to Russian
+ ...
A few questions to consider Sep 11, 2018

Did you get paid already? Have you been in any contact with the editor after submitting the job? At any point in time before publishing, did they attempt to claim any quality issues? Have you tried to address any initial questions directly to your client before the publisher if there was one between you and the publisher? Is second print expected at all?

One silly question - is your name listed in the book? It is not entirely impossible these days to have it missing altogether.
... See more
Did you get paid already? Have you been in any contact with the editor after submitting the job? At any point in time before publishing, did they attempt to claim any quality issues? Have you tried to address any initial questions directly to your client before the publisher if there was one between you and the publisher? Is second print expected at all?

One silly question - is your name listed in the book? It is not entirely impossible these days to have it missing altogether.

Otherwise, I fully agree with William. This is the case I wouldn't just close and forget, the scale of harmful exposure may be too high and you do not deserve it. Something must be done. I like the idea of a lawyer's note but I would hold it until the first reaction to a simple question from your client.
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Josephine Cassar
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
French to English
Yes Sep 12, 2018

You must contact your client. It is always important to keep a copy of the work you actually sent your client, a PDF form that remains untouched so that you can demonstrate what you did actually provide. This has happened to me, in slightly different circumstances though.

A client received my translation and the secretary decided to make alterations, essentially "frenchifying" the whole text. She then sent it through to the printers for it to be produced in some fancy glossy format
... See more
You must contact your client. It is always important to keep a copy of the work you actually sent your client, a PDF form that remains untouched so that you can demonstrate what you did actually provide. This has happened to me, in slightly different circumstances though.

A client received my translation and the secretary decided to make alterations, essentially "frenchifying" the whole text. She then sent it through to the printers for it to be produced in some fancy glossy format and distributed to clients. A native speaker client asked who did their translations explaining that the quality was bad. The client was right. However, my client contacted me to ask what was going on. We eventually sorted it out, but in terms of damage to my reputation, I actually found myself having to call a couple of clients up to inform them that the brochure in question was not, in fact, my work. My name appeared nowhere, but people in the same field knew I did the work of the company concerned and having a native speaker say "your translator does rotten work" could have been enough to have other clients doubt. One did say they wondered what on earth had happened to my work. So yes, it is extremely important.

That said, once we have provided a client with our work, we have no control over what happens to it. If our name is on there, it can be bad news all round. Anonymity can be a good thing. Another experience includes the translation of a book for a client. It was a book recounting the history of the company, a very glossy affair with lots of snazzy images and so on. I translated the text and was paid, but when I received my courtesy copy, boy, was I smoking! The client had added a new chapter and translated it in-house. The text had been done by a non-native speaker of English and it was absolutely terrible. it looked bad on the client as the difference in quality was so obvious. Fortunately, it did not reflect upon me as my name appeared nowhere.

If you are named as the translator and your work has been significantly altered, you can find yourself in an unpleasant situation indeed. Before publication, works are normally proofread. Was there a proofreading agreement? Did your agreement not specify whether you were to re-read the proofread version and make sure that nothing had been lost in terms of meaning and flow, etc? If there are problems of the type you describe and you cannot do anything about it, make sure your name does not appear anywhere.
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neilmac
Lydie Parisot
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:20
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A lesson for future contracts Sep 13, 2018

I have just had a discussion with a publisher over changes to the translation of a chapter of a book. Fortunately, their contract with me requires me to check proofs pre-publication. (They wrote the contract, not me, but it seems like a good one.) The book is an academic one in the fields of art and history and I was aware that my translation might be amended in editing (that's also covered in the contract). While I agreed most of the changes, the above discussion was about some changes that I t... See more
I have just had a discussion with a publisher over changes to the translation of a chapter of a book. Fortunately, their contract with me requires me to check proofs pre-publication. (They wrote the contract, not me, but it seems like a good one.) The book is an academic one in the fields of art and history and I was aware that my translation might be amended in editing (that's also covered in the contract). While I agreed most of the changes, the above discussion was about some changes that I thought were wrong linguistically and/or historically. I had even considered the point at which I might ask not to be credited as the translator, but fortunately I managed to persuade the publisher that I was right on a couple of important points, so all is well.

One important thing that this did teach me was that I had under-quoted for the translation job, because I hadn't allowed for the extra time I'd have to spend checking and discussing the proofs. That is an important lesson for the future.
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Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Helen Shiner
 

Annette Granat  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 13:20
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nov 5, 2018

Thank you for all your comments. I did contact the publisher and my name will not be appearing. An important lesson for the future. Thanks!

 

Lydie Parisot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:20
French to English
+ ...
Seems to be not uncommon practise Nov 12, 2018

I have also had experience with the client "improving" my delivered translation through proofreading by client employees self-proclaimed "fluent" in the target language.

At first, I did a double-take, thinking I had fouled up and checked my own copy. LOL. I then provided feedback to the project manager on the "improvements", but did not pursue it further since my name appeared nowhere. Informing a client he's incorrect in believing he's "fluent" can be thorny.

I like t
... See more
I have also had experience with the client "improving" my delivered translation through proofreading by client employees self-proclaimed "fluent" in the target language.

At first, I did a double-take, thinking I had fouled up and checked my own copy. LOL. I then provided feedback to the project manager on the "improvements", but did not pursue it further since my name appeared nowhere. Informing a client he's incorrect in believing he's "fluent" can be thorny.

I like the idea of including the translator pre-publcation proofread paragraph in the agreement. But in the end of course, the translation's fate is in the client's hands.
Cordially
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Federica Duello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:20
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Why should I? Nov 12, 2018

Annette Granat wrote:

Hi,

I am gathering opinions on the following...say you translate a book and upon receiving the printed version, you notice mistakes that you didn´t make. You discover typos, punctuation mistakes, mistranslations, and other errors in practically every page. Do you get in touch with the publisher and ask them to fix them in the second printing or do you let it go?

Thanks.


Why should I? If I am able to create a diamond, why should I let them think I am only able to put some dirt all together? (just figuratively, but I hope you get the meaning...)
If my name figures on the book, I would flag those errors and compare them with my initial translation (which I'd have saved on my laptop somewhere, just in case) to the editor, because I wouldn't like my name to be linked to a bad job.


 

Victoria Fushchich
Ukraine
Local time: 21:20
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
it's a pity Nov 17, 2018

It's a pity your name won't be appearing in the book as a translator. You have translated the book, so, you have done the job, and now, because of the poor editing, not only your work won't be appreciated, but also it's a shame that someone reading this book will notice all those mistakes... I would definitely try to make the publisher correct all the mistakes and then indicate my name as a translator. You are right, it is a good lesson, but it's a pity....

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Proofreading Nov 19, 2018

In future you should offer to correct the proofs, free of charge, before the book goes to print. After it has gone to print, no corrections are possible. Translators of books should try to inform themselves about what is involved in the publication process.

philgoddard
 


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