How do you describe quality of your translation in your agreements?
Thread poster: Akoma
Akoma
English to Russian
+ ...
Apr 14, 2007

Trying to draft an agreement between Translator and Client, I need your suggestions. What would be the appropriate terms to describe the quality level of translation? What I'm actually looking for is how to express the following idea: the translation will have the quality of being carried out by just "one set of eyes," without subsequent editing/proofreading by a "second set of eyes," so occasional errors may occur. I need a wording that, while not scaring Client away, will not give him a chance to claim the work is poorly done (and so he may pay less) if there is a couple of mistakes.

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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 05:13
French to Dutch
+ ...
Good question Apr 16, 2007

95% of my translations is going directly to the end customer, without "second eye" (I have one big direct client, the others are agencies which don't proofread). I don't make a contract, but when making quotations for big jobs or unknown clients I always state something like: "this price is valid for translation of text XX into XX (XX words) and serious proofreading by myself, in accordance with the quality guidelines of our translators' association XX". And I stress in all my papers that I don't subcontract, and that this also means confidentiality. If the client wants me to have translations proofread by another person, I quote for this as a special service.

We all know that the "second eye" is a marketing argument, and often a lie because proofreading is nearly always in the financial margin of the agency. In my language pair clients have problems in finding one translator, two for the same job is almost impossible, especially if there are deadlines. Besides it doesn't guarantee quality: it means either that the agency gives work to cheap translators, either that there is a risk that a good translation will be destroyed by someone who knows nothing about the subject. The client doesn't know this, the only thing he has to know is that it is possible that one person can deliver excellent quality. So you'll have to prove this. This means: don't accept translations which are too difficult (there are other people for this), use all available documentation, proofread several times (on the screen AND on paper). This cannot be done for discount prices, of course.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:13
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Suggestion Apr 16, 2007

"The translation will be carried out to the highest possible standard of accuracy, taking care to ensure that the text reflects the intention of the original, and proofread carefully afterwards. However, as no external proofreader is engaged, occasional typographical errors may occur. These will not affect the meaning or intention of the text as a whole."

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Akoma
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
a Apr 16, 2007

NMR, thank you for your helpful suggestions.
Actually, I do believe that translations that go to print, get done for official presentation or involve subject matters that have especially high risk of doing harm on the account of just a small mistake (say, pharmacology), etc., need "a second set of eyes." I simply don't sign up if I believe that the contractor expects me, all on my own, to provide a perfect quality. And I don't believe that a translator can proofread him/herself. And when talking with first-time customers I make sure they understand it.

Probably there are a lot of people here who think differently, believing that a solo translator can continuously provide only perfect translations. Well, this is not the point I wish to discuss here. Nor am I interested, at this particular instant, to discuss insurance issues.
What I wish to discuss is how to best lay out quality terms in the agreement. (And you and Astrid did provide a couple of good hints.)


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 05:13
French to Dutch
+ ...
... Apr 18, 2007

Akoma wrote:

I simply don't sign up if I believe that the contractor expects me, all on my own, to provide a perfect quality.

The only thing a client can reasonably expect is that the translation has been done seriously by a competent person.

And I don't believe that a translator can proofread him/herself.

One of the advantages of a full translator's training in university is that one becomes extremely critical about what one is writing. Students spend two or three years in commenting each word in test translations, so when they have to work for clients they do the same. I don't say that my work is perfect, I know that my style can be criticized, everybody makes errors, I am not a lawyer and I cannot deliver a stamp on my translation, but I do the best I can. And sometimes it happens that there is a problem or that the client doesn't like the result. If he insists, he should look for another translator, or do the translations by himself.

Probably there are a lot of people here who think differently, believing that a solo translator can continuously provide only perfect translations. Well, this is not the point I wish to discuss here. Nor am I interested, at this particular instant, to discuss insurance issues.

I know. The way I translate is for me the "normal" way, and also, probably, a character question. If clients think that this is a "weak point", let's stress the advantages: shorter deadlines, the client knows the translator in person, etc. This works particularly well for a certain type of clients: those who are looking for cooperation.

[Bijgewerkt op 2007-04-18 22:33]


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