Final translation out-put format responsibility
Thread poster: Thanh Thoa Le Thi

Thanh Thoa Le Thi  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 05:21
Member
Vietnamese to English
+ ...
Oct 1, 2018

Good morning everyone,

Could you please let me know if the translator is the person whom responsible for the translation format after converting the translation out of Trados? (the formatting of the extracted translation output is messy as the text length of the target translation is longer than the source text.)

Kindly advise and wait for your replies.

Thanks and regards,
Thoa


 

Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:21
Member (2002)
English to German
Agree in advance – or work out a compromise afterward Oct 1, 2018

Increased length is a potential problem that is best dealt with in advance. Both project managers and translators can acquire the experience to recognise jobs where it is likely to happen, working out how to deal with it before a PO is even issued.

If this hasn't been done, you and your client have to sort it out after the fact, at which point it comes down to negotiating a solution.

Indications that the agency should take the bulk of the responsibility would be if:
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Increased length is a potential problem that is best dealt with in advance. Both project managers and translators can acquire the experience to recognise jobs where it is likely to happen, working out how to deal with it before a PO is even issued.

If this hasn't been done, you and your client have to sort it out after the fact, at which point it comes down to negotiating a solution.

Indications that the agency should take the bulk of the responsibility would be if:
- the translator received a CAT project rather than the raw source file, the import and export process being performed by the agency
- the translator didn't receive a layouted version of the text (eg. a PDF), making it more difficult for them to recognise space problems
- the translator received no indication from the agency that it was important to keep length in check
- the length problems are caused by amateurish formatting rather than actual lack of space on the page

Indications that the translator should take (at least partial) responsibility:
- they received a layouted source document and were expected to deliver the translation in the same format
- the job came from an end client rather than a professional translation agency
- the agency made clear that they had to deliver the document immediately upon receipt by the translator, making clear that no further adjustment/editing of the received translation were planned

As in most negotiations, a compromise might be the best way forward, e.g. the translator agreeing to shorten the translation following the client's instructions (possibly omitting content in the process), with the client dealing with any further formatting accommodations that are necessary (and viable).

And annoying as the problem may be, it is an opportunity for both sides to learn and to address the problem upfront the next time.

Endre

[Bearbeitet am 2018-10-01 08:00 GMT]
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Kay Denney
Josephine Cassar
Sheila Wilson
Gloria Teixeira
Kevin Fulton
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:21
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Only if it's simple to do Oct 1, 2018

The translator is not responsible for anything more than minor formatting that takes next to no time at all, unless formatting work has been explicitly agreed with the client and will be paid for. Nonetheless, I do think the translator should take responsibility for minor formatting changes, e.g. changing the size of text boxes to fit the translated text. It doesn't take much time, is simple to do and provides the client with a better result.

If the translator has been provided wit
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The translator is not responsible for anything more than minor formatting that takes next to no time at all, unless formatting work has been explicitly agreed with the client and will be paid for. Nonetheless, I do think the translator should take responsibility for minor formatting changes, e.g. changing the size of text boxes to fit the translated text. It doesn't take much time, is simple to do and provides the client with a better result.

If the translator has been provided with a source document that shows the formatting, then it's easy to see line endings and ensure that the line end tags coincide with line length and reasonable to expect the translator to do this. However, if the client hasn't bothered to provide that resource, then forget it.

This is a particular problem if the source and target languages vary wildly in how much space they take up. So, discuss any potential difficulties in page layout in advance. Translation does not include précis or other editing.

[Edited at 2018-10-01 11:42 GMT]
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Gloria Teixeira
Sandra & Kenneth Grossman
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Always agree with the client, especially as you are working with different scripts! Oct 1, 2018

In the language pairs you work with, I would guess there is no standard answer other than ask the client. Even with closely related European languages, some take up more space than others, and for straight texts, an accurate translation is absolute top priority, while formatting is far less important. (Legal documents, contracts…)

With marketing texts the visual impression may be vital, but if you begin to fiddle with it, you may upset codes and tags that take hours to sort
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In the language pairs you work with, I would guess there is no standard answer other than ask the client. Even with closely related European languages, some take up more space than others, and for straight texts, an accurate translation is absolute top priority, while formatting is far less important. (Legal documents, contracts…)

With marketing texts the visual impression may be vital, but if you begin to fiddle with it, you may upset codes and tags that take hours to sort out again in the DTP department. On the other hand, there may be more scope for adjusting the translation.

Then there are all those in between. It is a good principle to say you are a translator and leave formatting alone, unless you have the software and skills to work with it.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
It depends on many things Oct 1, 2018

Thanh Thoa Le Thi wrote:
Could you please let me know if the translator is the person [who is] responsible for the translation['s] format after converting the translation [from] Trados?


This depends on the arrangement that you have with the client. If this is your first job for this client, you may discover that he expects you to do the post-DTP checking (i.e. check and fix the text that was generated from the CAT tool format). It is unfortunately so that most agencies do not bother to fix a source file before converting it to CAT format, and then many of them expect the translator to consider fixing what the CAT tool broke as included in the rate.

Some CAT tools are worse than others -- for example, the fact that Wordfast Pro tries to reduce tags by omitting leading and trailing tags often mean that the formatting of the final file needs additional fixing of the formatting at the starts and ends of sentences.

The formatting of the extracted translation is messy as the target text is [much] longer than the source text.


Well, my personal opinion is that if the client is the one that mandated the use of a CAT tool, then the client should have ensured that the CAT tool can actually translate this file without creating any problems. But like I said, agencies often just assume that the CAT tool will work fine, and any problems must be fixed by the translator as part of the job.

But unfortunately the problems created by the CAT tool (or by the fact that the translator could not see the effects of his translation soon enough) are sometimes so severe that it would take very long to fix the problems, and then you should explain to the client that your translation rate is based on the time it takes to do the actual translation in the CAT tool, and not the extra activities that may actually take longer than the actual translation.


José Henrique Lamensdorf
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Translation and DTP are different jobs Oct 2, 2018

The fact that I have been doing both since day one is irrelevant; most people haven't.

Microsoft Word is a word processor, as its name should imply. Its paradigm is the typewriter. You always start on Page 1 - regardless of the number assigned to it, and the process is similar to filling a sausage; if you add anything extra halfway, everything beyond it will reflow.

If Word - in spite of the gazillion bells & whistles that were added to it over the years - were a DTP ap
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The fact that I have been doing both since day one is irrelevant; most people haven't.

Microsoft Word is a word processor, as its name should imply. Its paradigm is the typewriter. You always start on Page 1 - regardless of the number assigned to it, and the process is similar to filling a sausage; if you add anything extra halfway, everything beyond it will reflow.

If Word - in spite of the gazillion bells & whistles that were added to it over the years - were a DTP app, Microsoft would have discontinued and buried its horrible MS Publisher long ago.

Marketing clout turned Word - in spite of its extensive shortcomings - into the standard for translation work.

DTP apps are different. There are the high-end ones, like Page Maker, its son InDesign, QuarkXpress, and Frame Maker. There are the low-end ones like Serif Page Plus, MS Publisher, and Scribus (freeware). One peculiarity among these is that each one has its proprietary file format, and these are incompatible with each other. All converters I've seen to date failed to deliver barely acceptable results.

These are two separate lines of work. Like driving a car and flying an airplane or a chopper, one doesn't preclude anyone from doing the other too.

At first, a DTP operator had to export text from DTP files for translation, to later import and fit that translation in the proper places.

The problem came up when some CAT tools were developed to the point of trespassing into DTP and PDF files for text translation. However CAT tools cannot handle the layout issues caused by text shrinking/swelling in the process. While the DTP operator no longer has to export & import text, s/he will have to fix such issues after translation has been done.

So the answer here depends on you having been hired as:
a) Translator;
b) DTP Operator; or
c) both.

More recently, a new way to supply this demand (viz. translation of finished, laid-out publications) has come up, considering that all that is expected is to preserve the original publication's layout after translation, i.e. there won't be a need to create a new graphic design. Considering that final DTP files involve a lot of variables, which possibly include the same DTP app version (files often being incompatible across different versions), and font files, the safest and universal way to distribute finished publications, or to send them to a printing shop, is the PDF file.

Software has been developed to allow translation and the ensuing layout adjustments to PDF files, I use Infix, but others have come up too. The advantage here is that with one program, working on PDF files, I can offer translation AND DTP adjustment on files created by ANY DTP (or non-DTP, like Word) app, without having to buy it.

The answer to your question is...
When a prospect asks me for a cost estimate for 'translating' a PDF file, i give them TWO prices:
a) Translating the text only, and they'll have to hire a DTP operator to implement or fix it; and
b) Translating it AND doing all necessary layout adjustments on a DTP file.
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