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Having your work proofread when working in-house
Thread poster: Gerard Barry

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Unreasonable Oct 2

Gerard Barry wrote:
I'm a little bit disappointed though how some of you exhibit the same attitude my colleague has regarding (repeated) mistakes, i.e. one of impatience. I don't understand this. We're only human and are bound to make (sometimes the same) mistakes over and over again.

Your profile says you’ve been working as a translator for 13 years, yet you’re expecting to be treated like you’ve been translating for 13 weeks.

You shouldn’t be making mistakes once at this stage, let alone repeatedly.

And isn't it the proofreader's job to spot these mistakes anyway? Otherwise, what would be the point of proofreading at all?

Now that’s a good point. Best keep on producing substandard work then so they can feed their families.


expressisverbis
Zibow Retailleau
Kay Denney
P.L.F.Persio
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 23:33
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A Translation Style Guide, Oct 2

to keep everyone on the same page?
Do you have one?
Most part of translation companies have their own style guide or manual of style. Even (wise) freelance translators have it!
I wonder this could help to settle these proofreading conflicts between you and your colleague.
Following the same standards, and using the same guidelines help to ensure that everyone in the company uses a consistent approach, style, tone, and terminology.
On the other hand, you can also se
... See more
to keep everyone on the same page?
Do you have one?
Most part of translation companies have their own style guide or manual of style. Even (wise) freelance translators have it!
I wonder this could help to settle these proofreading conflicts between you and your colleague.
Following the same standards, and using the same guidelines help to ensure that everyone in the company uses a consistent approach, style, tone, and terminology.
On the other hand, you can also select other style guides to serve as a backup any time issues arise that are not covered in yours.
If everyone in the company follows the same writing guidelines, translations are more likely to maintain consistency, and so translators and proofreaders.
This can be a solution. Who knows?!
Should your company has already one, please disregard my suggestion, and good luck!
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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
... Oct 2

I worked in house in a number of settings (law offices or health care agencies) and I found most translators were bound to have errors which they didn't even recognize.

If their supervisor corrects their errors, they would feel fine but if their supervisor assigns a peer to edit their work, they would turn into a roar, even though that peer is in fact way better in his translation ability.

That's human nature.

This is just my experiences.


[Ed
... See more
I worked in house in a number of settings (law offices or health care agencies) and I found most translators were bound to have errors which they didn't even recognize.

If their supervisor corrects their errors, they would feel fine but if their supervisor assigns a peer to edit their work, they would turn into a roar, even though that peer is in fact way better in his translation ability.

That's human nature.

This is just my experiences.


[Edited at 2020-10-02 22:16 GMT]
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Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:33
English to Arabic
+ ...
Help goes both ways Oct 2

After you have agreed with said proofreader on the mistake, it will be helpful to list it in a simple Word or Notepad file so you can double-check against it when done with a project and before delivering to the proofreader.

The 7 pointers I gave can make detection of mistakes a crystal-clear job, both in translator's and proofreader's work.

(1) If source text says: An organization is like a family, with management as parents; parents aren't supposed to sit idly by watc
... See more
After you have agreed with said proofreader on the mistake, it will be helpful to list it in a simple Word or Notepad file so you can double-check against it when done with a project and before delivering to the proofreader.

The 7 pointers I gave can make detection of mistakes a crystal-clear job, both in translator's and proofreader's work.

(1) If source text says: An organization is like a family, with management as parents; parents aren't supposed to sit idly by watching their kids (employees) trying to poke each other's eyes out.

And, target text says: An organization is like a family, with management as parents.

Or: An organization is like a family, with management watching their kids (employees) trying to poke each other's eyes out.

Then, there is no argument this isn't a mistake.

(2) If source says: An organization is ... eyes out (same sentence as above).

And, target says: An organization is like parents, with management as a family; kids aren't supposed to sit idly by watching their parents (employees) trying to poke each other's eyes out.

Again, no argument.

(3) Source says: An organization is ... eyes out.

Target says: An organization is like a family, with management as parents; parents aren't supposed to seek watching their kids (employees) trying to stare at each other's eyes.

Translator didn't have "sit idly by" nor "poke eyes out" in their vocabulary, nor did they do the research, so they improvised.

Mistake!

(4) Source: (same as above).

Target: The organization is a family, with parents in management who don't sit idly by watching their kids (employees) poking each other's eyes out.

?!

(5) Source: them; airplane
Target: ’em; aircraft
Proofreader: objection, your honor
Management: overruled.
- Of course, if a style guide exists, you must be equally read into it. That said, style guides are a "translation talent killers".


(6) Source: all-terrain vehicle
Target: land vehicle
Proofreader: that's not what it means, fix it
Management: you fix it, so the translator can know it for next time and doesn't repeat it

(7) Source: a car that looks like a rocket
Target: a car that looks like a rocket
Proofreader: a car that is as fast as a rocket
Management: it doesn't say that in the source text
Proofreader: Oh, well, I was actually having...ehm...another commitment, and wasn't really...ehm...paying attention to the source because I needed to finish quickly.

Enforcing those 7 pointers has the potential to make roles of all 3 players (management, translator and proofreader) much easier. And, they are a good start for any organization that is faithfully interested in defusing that translator/proofreader ticking bomb.

***I should be getting paid for this***
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:33
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 3

Gerard Barry wrote:

@Kay, David, Molly: Thanks for your responses. I have actually already done some of the things you suggested, such as talking to the colleague in question, talking to my boss

What did your boss say then? Does he defend the colleague, has he looked at your colleague's productivity?


 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 00:33
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Boss's response Oct 3

Kay Denney wrote:

What did your boss say then? Does he defend the colleague, has he looked at your colleague's productivity?


The boss was sympathetic, I have to say. However, because I didn't want to cause any trouble, I asked her not to say anything to the colleague in question. At this stage, I had already spoken to him and had hoped that things would change. To be fair, he has eased off on some of the condescending remarks when proofreading my work, but he still basically rewrites my work. I've also been disappointed with my boss in the sense that in the year since we had this discussion she hasn't once asked me how things are going or if anything has changed. I feel she has been remiss in this regard. The problem is she seems to get on quite well with this guy herself, which puts me in a difficult situation. My yearly appraisal is coming up soon, though, and I do intend mentioning the matter again.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:33
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 3

Gerard Barry wrote:

Kay Denney wrote:

What did your boss say then? Does he defend the colleague, has he looked at your colleague's productivity?


The boss was sympathetic, I have to say. However, because I didn't want to cause any trouble, I asked her not to say anything to the colleague in question. At this stage, I had already spoken to him and had hoped that things would change. To be fair, he has eased off on some of the condescending remarks when proofreading my work, but he still basically rewrites my work. I've also been disappointed with my boss in the sense that in the year since we had this discussion she hasn't once asked me how things are going or if anything has changed. I feel she has been remiss in this regard. The problem is she seems to get on quite well with this guy herself, which puts me in a difficult situation. My yearly appraisal is coming up soon, though, and I do intend mentioning the matter again.


OK, I'm just imagining that I manage a translation department. One of my employees comes to see me, complaining that a guy who proofreads his work is very condescending. But he asks me not to say anything to the proof-reader... What am I going to do? If the proof-reader really is too much of a perfectionist and condescending to boot, if other translators have complained of the same issues for example, I'll speak to him anyway. And then I might just call the translator into my office to ask whether he's noticed any difference. But if nobody else has complained, and I think the guy is great precisely because he is a perfectionist and our clients love his work, I won't bother. Then, since I've been asked not to do anything, I don't, and I shan't bother getting back to the translator either because after all I can't update when nothing has been actioned. Although I'll certainly mention it during the annual review, because tying up loose ends like that is precisely the kind of thing annual reviews are for.


 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 00:33
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
My boss should have asked me for an update Oct 3

Sorry Kay, but my boss should have asked me for an update with regard to the problem I had with my colleague. I made it quite clear that I was unhappy with his behaviour/attitude towards me. As manager of our department, she should have followed that up.

 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Not off topic at this time Oct 3

If that particular colleague makes a lot of unnecessary changes, he is wasting the precious time paid for by your employer. In that case, it is advisable to bring the issue to your supervisor.

 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 00:33
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Perfectionism Oct 4

Chris S: So no mistakes allowed once you've been doing a job for a few years? That's unrealistic! You sound a lot like my colleague.

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
See you Monday Oct 4

Gerard Barry wrote:

Chris S: So no mistakes allowed once you've been doing a job for a few years? That's unrealistic! You sound a lot like my colleague.


Surprise! I *am* your colleague! See you Monday...

The occasional slip? Yes, we’re human. Significant mistakes? Never acceptable.

I suppose it does depend at what end of the market you operate. Are you the local GP who just hazards a guess and passes the buck, or the Harley Street specialist where the buck stops and no errors at all are acceptable because a life is at stake.

But I would not expect a translator to make significant mistakes (misunderstandings) after 13 years. Little slips, perhaps, but not, say, misspelling the product name in their sample translation on ProZ.


Irene McClure
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
... Oct 5

Removed.

[Edited at 2020-10-05 02:26 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:33
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 5

Gerard Barry wrote:

Sorry Kay, but my boss should have asked me for an update with regard to the problem I had with my colleague. I made it quite clear that I was unhappy with his behaviour/attitude towards me. As manager of our department, she should have followed that up.


But what kind of update is possible? You didn't want her to speak to your colleague, so she couldn't manage the situation. If she can't do anything about it, there's no reasonable expectation for the situation to have changed. Unless you or he had taken any initiatives, in which case it's up to the initiative-taker to update the manager on the new developments.
And as I said, she's probably planning to ask you during your review since it's coming up.
Do you think her job is to handle every slightest change to your emotions and go all touchy-feely when you're upset? It isn't, it's to make sure the company is making money and employees are producing good-quality work.


Sheila Wilson
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Aah, those fake "yearly appraisals"... brings back memories Oct 5

Gerard Barry wrote:
My yearly appraisal is coming up soon...


We had those as well. Despite being a fantastic asset to the office year after year, and having been responsible for increases in productivity etc., I was never rewarded anything at my yearly appraisals that I would not have gotten otherwise, or that my colleagues didn't also get. Neither my boss nor my boss's boss had any actual authority to reward me. The appraisals are meant to keep company auditors happy, and no more.


 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 00:33
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
She should have followed up Oct 5

Kay Denney wrote:

But what kind of update is possible? You didn't want her to speak to your colleague, so she couldn't manage the situation. If she can't do anything about it, there's no reasonable expectation for the situation to have changed. Unless you or he had taken any initiatives, in which case it's up to the initiative-taker to update the manager on the new developments.
And as I said, she's probably planning to ask you during your review since it's coming up.
Do you think her job is to handle every slightest change to your emotions and go all touchy-feely when you're upset? It isn't, it's to make sure the company is making money and employees are producing good-quality work.


Sorry Kay, but I think you're being argumentative just for the sake of it. When an employee makes a complaint about another colleague, it is the manager's duty to follow up on it. Although I didn't use them "b word" (i.e. bullying) when complaining about my colleague, as far as I'm concerned that's what his behaviour amounts to. And you're saying our manager shouldn't have asked me afterwards for an update? The problem is she just wan't the hassle and doesn't want any aggro with this guy herself. This is the problem when managers are too pally with their staff, it makes it harder for them to challenge staff members when it's required.


 
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