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Bye bye proofreading...
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Nov 18, 2006

Recently I decided not to offer a proofreading service to my clients anymore due to the abysmal quality of the texts received (including MT!). I'm also tired of having to justify myself for the ample corrections I'm forced to implement and the endless bickering with agencies and colleagues alike who stubbornly refuse to acknoledge their lack of skills. I'm therefore concentrating esclusively on translation. My mental health will benefit enormously.... Any colleagues in the same boat?

Giovanni


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Angela&Claudio
Italy
Local time: 21:43
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Same boat! Nov 18, 2006

I have only done proofreading a couple of times, for clients that really insisted on it; but I find it extremely stressing.
Good for you!!!
By the way, I like your picture


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 14:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Same here! Nov 18, 2006

Line from my CV:

Proofreading/editing - N/A

Reasons are numerous, including but not limited to what you've mentioned.

I was and am exceptionally lucky to watch and work under superb professional Editors. A pretty humbling experience, if you wish, it really puts things in perspective... I'm proud that they accept my work for editing. It took time to get there.

On a different note, I'm truly astonished by the number of translators who believe that editing is nothing but another natural component of translation skills.


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Mireille K  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
French to English
+ ...
Mixed experience Nov 18, 2006

I have had work that I had to edit and it was a total nightmare, it would have been easier to redo. Not only that, but having to justify the edits and wasting more time answering the comments of the translator, all this for an edit rate(.
On the other hand some of the work I had to edit was superbly done and it was a breeze. What I do now is request to see the work first before I accept an edit job.

Mireille


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 22:43
Turkish to English
+ ...
I agree Nov 18, 2006

I have refused as a matter of principle for quite some time to accept proofreading assignments . My experience of proofreading has been that I have had to virtually re-translate the whole text. Am I just a perfectionist? I hope not.

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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:43
English to German
+ ...
Absolutely! Nov 18, 2006

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Recently I decided not to offer a proofreading service to my clients anymore due to the abysmal quality of the texts received (including MT!). I'm also tired of having to justify myself for the ample corrections I'm forced to implement and the endless bickering with agencies and colleagues alike who stubbornly refuse to acknoledge their lack of skills. I'm therefore concentrating esclusively on translation. My mental health will benefit enormously.... Any colleagues in the same boat?

Giovanni


During 2005, I did a number of proofreading jobs. And the quality of 80% (if not more) of the material provided for "review" was such that it would have to be retranslated.

In 2006, I was more involved in consulting assignments with nearly no space left for translation jobs. But I think the situation will not have improved since.

In 10% of the cases, I even returned projects already accepted for inacceptable quality.

Why should I do 70-90 % of the work for getting 20-30% of the price?

I am trying now to avoid proofreading jobs, and I accept them only if the outsourcer agrees to pay per hour, not per word.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:43
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not worth it Nov 18, 2006

I've only done it a few times but it is a headache and it doesn't pay.

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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 21:43
German to Romanian
+ ...
welcome to the club Nov 18, 2006

I stopped doing proofreading a couple of years ago.
I never regretted it.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:43
French to English
Charge more! Nov 18, 2006

I don't like PR much, but recently a couple of long-standing clients have each asked me to do a couple of jobs for them, and I agreed. Others have already indicated similar figures - my impression is that maybe only 25% of the stuff only requires minor PR changes (the occasional typo, a bit of punctuation here and there, maybe some technical vocab to alter), and the other 75% needs major re-work.

Like many who have already posted, I too was initially left with the impression that I was getting 'underpaid' in some way for this work.

It goes without saying that you should always make sure you see the translation before agreeing to PR it. Once you've seen it, you should be able to judge a fair rate (hourly or per word) for turning the sow's ear into a silk purse, so to speak If time allows, I sometimes work on it for half an hour, and show the client the results of that 30 mins work so they can see for themselves how long it's going to take and how "bad" (if it is bad) the original is. So far, this has never proved to be a waste of time, in the sense that the client then says "thanks, goodbye"; they have always said "ok, fair enough, carry on". Obviously, this approach may not work with all clients (but then, you should ask yourself, what sort of client am I working for?). If this results in the cost of the translation being doubled, I'm afraid that is not my problem - the client has to address that issue with the original translator, or absorb the cost and never use that translator again, or whatever.

I appear to have rambled on All I wanted to say really was: if you find PR dull, boring, frustrating, then by all means don't do it. If your beef is that it's underpaid, then charge more! As the brothers used to say back in the day, "a fair day's work for a fair day's pay". Or was it the other way round...?

[Edited at 2006-11-18 16:43]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Not a matter of charging more... Nov 18, 2006

I charge by the hour, so it's not my problem if the client ends up with a big bill (I usually tell them in advance if the translation needs quite a lot of work).

Charlie Bavington wrote:

if you find PR dull, boring, frustrating, then by all means don't do it.


Exactly that...


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Chunyi Chen
United States
Local time: 12:43
English to Chinese
charging by hour? Nov 18, 2006

Isn't it true that these days most agencies have a way of counting hours when you charge by the hour? Usually they expect you to edit 1000 words per hour. As it turns out, it's not the hours you actually spent, but the number of hours that they expect you to complete for a certain job. Whatever it is, editing/proofreading is not easy, IMO.

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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:43
English to Italian
+ ...
editing and proofreading are not the same thing Nov 18, 2006

editing and proofreading are not the same thing - I think there is a very good article by Gianfranco (and several forum posts) somewhere in Proz on the topic.

I do not accept proofreading jobs; on editing jobs I have mixed feelings - ideally, I'd like to know who the original translator was before deciding if I want to accept....


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 22:43
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
I agree ... but ... (my usual "buts") Nov 18, 2006

It was a nightmare for me on several occasions proofing and editing some translators' texts (some times you think it's really strange that they can get work in the first place with similar quality), but I don't think that answering the client's and the translator's comments is that bad after all.

Being a translator, I have agencies prpoofing my translated work all the time, but my condition was always: "to review the job done by the proofreader before submitting it to DTP services or to the end client" ... simply because I've been into a couple of situations where the editor/proofreader changed what is CORRECT in ABSOLUTE INCORRECT!! Not to mention the extent to which some profreaders may go in terms of changing the style used and/or specific terminology!!

By time, I got my clients to accept the fact that if the job is to be done by ME, then it's MY reputation on the stick here, and so ...

1. Either they accept my review (acceptance/rejection) for the editor's work, or they just don't deal with me again.

2. I also insist ALWAYS that my style is to be preserved, because an editor work should deal either with typos or totally wrong translations ONLY. But it's MY work, MY style, and MY output in the end. If they want the editor's style, then why didn't they assign him/her the job in the first place?

Believe it or not, my clients not only accepted it, they even loved it! It was as if they're having the job proofread twice in some way or another in order to come up with the PERFECT reults. And I don't mind the time spent on it, because I'm a human being after all and needs to be corrected all the time!

In terms of rate, I'm always clear about that too. Some texts I get for proofreading are great, and they hardly require any amends except for some typos or something here or there. Some texts on the other hands are nightmares, and as some of my collegues pointed out, it would be easier to redo them in full. In that case, I contact the client telling him/her that I can't take the job, and that they better assign it to be redone in full.

[Edited at 2006-11-18 18:33]


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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
French to English
Good for you! Nov 18, 2006

It sounds like you made a good decision. I decided 2 years ago to no longer offer editing services after one client who always sent me abysmally written texts in English to edit. It was such a painful experience that I vowed to only stick to translation and the occasional proofreading (very rare).

Recently a new client sent me a text to edit that they translated, and I flat out told him that I do not revise texts translated by others. I gave him a quote for translation and he accepted it and was very happy with the work.

Happy translating!


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
I don't do it anymore Nov 18, 2006

and even before, I never liked it and did it only a couple of times.

Everytime I felt guilty because it took me a lot of time (I used to charge per hour) because of the bad quality of the translation.

Anyway, you'll never be paid for he headache it causes you!


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