Proofreading a translation from your native language to a foreign language
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:41
English to Indonesian
+ ...
May 12, 2006

Hi my fellow translators.
What will you do if you are assigned as proofreader to a translation from your native language to a foreign language?
Indeed, we are usually assigned as proofreader to a translation from a foreign language to our native language.
Could it be categorised as a proofreading job? or back translation? or what should it be called?


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
IMHO, it should be called a bad idea May 12, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
Could it be categorised as a proofreading job? or back translation? or what should it be called?


It is a proofreading job indeed, as back translation entails re-translating into the source language based on the translated document. It is a widely accepted standard in the profession (and I am aware it is a challenged notion) that a translator should only translate into their native language, and in my opinion that would apply even more so to proofreading jobs. Is there a specific reason, other than monetary, why you are considering accepting this assignment?

Hope my two cents are useful

Susana


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:41
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Proofreading May 12, 2006

This is proofreading. You should inform your client that you are not a native speaker of the target language and seriously consider how adept you are at doing this. But it's not back translation.

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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:41
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's a real challenging work. May 13, 2006

Actually, the agency is completely aware of my langauge combination. I have sent them my complete CV and references. I am native speaker of Indonesian and used to translating/proofreading a translation from English to Indonesian.
It's really a new and challenging work. Fortunately, after previewing the translation I am sure I am able to handle it.
Don't you think the agency is rather strange in this case?
Or may they have certain resons?


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E.LA
Spanish to German
+ ...
little agency? May 13, 2006

I suppose they have no English native speaker in their team, that's all.

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 21:41
time... May 13, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
Don't you think the agency is rather strange in this case?
Or may they have certain resons?


perhaps they cannot find an Indonesian>En proofreader and haven't got the time or inclination to start looking for one.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:41
Agree with Susana... May 13, 2006

It sounds like a bad idea. If the agency cannot find an Indonesian-English revisor, it is THEIR problem. If you do the revision, and then it turns out it is not perfect, it will be YOUR problem, unless you think you are perfectly capable of tackling the job but, if you were, I do not think you would be writing in this forum...

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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
agencies are not fail-proof May 13, 2006

Rosa Maria Duenas Rios wrote:
If the agency cannot find an Indonesian-English revisor, it is THEIR problem. If you do the revision, and then it turns out it is not perfect, it will be YOUR problem


Words to live by

As far as the agency being aware of your qualifications because your CV is on file, you would be amazed at how many times I have been contacted by an agency PM offering me an interpreting assignment or translation into English (none of which I do, and none of which appear in my resume, online profile or website). I am not saying this is the case in your situation, but agencies are busy places and this type of confusion is not unusual in times of stress or with a rookie PM just getting to know the agency's roster of suppliers.

Why the agency made such an offer is really not the point here. The thing to ask yourself is whether you are qualified to do this job --and if not, the most prudent course of action would be to decline the offer and courteously remind the agency of your working language combinations. If they are a serious agency, they will thank you for it.

All best,

Susana

[Edited at 2006-05-13 21:52]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It can work... depending on how good you are May 13, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
What will you do if you are assigned as proofreader to a translation from your native language to a foreign language?


I wouldn't accept the job, but it depends on you. How well do you know your second language? Are you well versed in the typical pitfalls that second-language speakers of that language experience?

Ultimately the question is not whether the proofreader is native, but whether he is sure of himself and willing to give the client his money's worth.

I have had native proofreaders who preferred to use their red pens very little, because they preferred to give the author the benefit of the doubt. Such proofreaders, even if native, are of little use to me.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
why the agency made the offer - a possible answer May 13, 2006

Susana

In reply to your doubt as to why an agency may make such an offer, I think it may be that they may have difficulty obtaining someone with that combination who is a native speaker of EN and/or the cost of a native spekaer with that combination is prohibitive.


Pricing for language combinations is obviously affected by the relative degree of economic advancement of the native speaker country....native EN speakers are almost invariably located in rich countries, as also native DE speakers...whereas native ES speakers (like you) may be located in a relatively rich or relatively poor country (i.e. Spanish represents both ends of the spectrum).


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
absolutely May 13, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:
Susana
In reply to your doubt as to why an agency may make such an offer, I think it may be that they may have difficulty obtaining someone with that combination who is a native speaker of EN and/or the cost of a native spekaer with that combination is prohibitive.

Pricing for language combinations is obviously affected by the relative degree of economic advancement of the native speaker country....native EN speakers are almost invariably located in rich countries, as also native DE speakers...whereas native ES speakers (like you) may be located in a relatively rich or relatively poor country (i.e. Spanish represents both ends of the spectrum).


I entirely agree with your assessment, Lia. It was not my intention to assert that the agency would necessarily be making a mistake in this case. My point was that the agency's reasons need not/should not impact a translator's decision to accept or not an assignment. I would assume if our colleague Hipyan was entirely at ease performing a proofreading in a language not his own, he would not have posted to express his hesitation in the first place. In his second entry he states he is sure he is able to handle it, so I may be entirely mistaken. Either way, his own standards and assessment of his qualifications are what matters, not the agency's reasons (which can be just about anything, after all they're a business taking care of their own needs --as well they should).

All best,

Susana


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 22:41
French to Dutch
+ ...
Intermediate position May 13, 2006

You can tell the agency that you can only check if the Indonesian text matches the English one, if it is complete and if all the ideas are represented. For mistakes in English, typical English idioms and style they should hire an English native speaker.
I do it sometimes in this way. If they accept, it means that there is a lack of people in your langage pair.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
proofing it for 'mistranslations' should be possible May 14, 2006

I think that it is feasible for a non-native to proofread a translation from his/her native language into one of his/her source languages in order to check it for 'mistranslations'.
However, actually "correcting" the way someone writes in their own language should be left to other natives of that language.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 13:41
English to French
+ ...
Back translation May 14, 2006

writeaway wrote:

I think that it is feasible for a non-native to proofread a translation from his/her native language into one of his/her source languages in order to check it for 'mistranslations'.


Yes, writeaway, a number of agencies are now asking SL natives to provide a back translation just to make sure the meaning was rendered. They don't expect perfection in the target language, they need someone who is on top of the source.

That's the explanation I got from one of my clients a couple days ago when he asked me to provide a back translation from French and I pointed out English is not my native language.


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:41
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sharing ideas May 15, 2006

My entry in this forum in connection with the topic does not suggest my hesitation altogether. Because this is my first experience I want to share ideas with my fellow translators.
What I do with the offer is first ask the agency to send me the translated documents, then I previewed them. They are scientific, technical documents.
After previewing, I am pretty sure that I can handle the job. Actually, it can be said that our task is relatively easy. We just make sure if the translation is correct or not. As for technical terms, we have many paper and online specific dictionaries to support our task. Here, we just matching whether the translations are correct or not. In this case, we are faced with something that has been existent.
It will be completely different if we are asked to translate a document from our native language to a foreign language. We must produce correct translations. In this case, we are faced with something that has not been existent.


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