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Please get a native speaker to review your English profile
Thread poster: Daina Jauntirans

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
Mar 15, 2013

Over the last week or so when I have visited ProZ, I have glanced at the "featured translator" box and noticed a few glaring examples of why non-native English speakers should have their profiles read and corrected by natives. One translator advertised translations "in due time" in her tagline. To my US English ears, that sounds like she will get around to them eventually - not exactly the image she wanted to project. Then another translator stated that his "target translations are adequate" - again, that does not really inspire confidence.

I thought I would mention this here, since this particular forum is read by so many newbies. If you have an unreviewed profile in your non-native language, you might be shooting yourself in the foot marketing-wise. It really isn't that big an investment to pay someone for an hour of their time to improve the image you project to potential clients!


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 02:31
German to Serbian
+ ...
True, true, who are the targets of the marketing though? Mar 15, 2013

Those browsing the profiles and looking for someone to do it at the "best rate" often can't tell the difference , or they are non-native speakers themselves, or they just do not care.

 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There's more to it than that Mar 15, 2013

If you think cut-rate agencies who advertise jobs are the only ones using ProZ, you'd be wrong. Your fellow translators may be browsing profiles to find good people for a team to work on a large project or as back-up to subcontract to during vacations. And higher paying clients often skip the bidding process and browse profiles directly by keyword, etc. In general, your profile here is a part of your professional image, so it should be an image that reflects well on you as a professional.

 

Artem Vakhitov  Identity Verified
Estonia
English to Russian
+ ...
There are other ways to look at it Mar 15, 2013

Do you have a native speaker proofread/edit all your work before delivery? If yes, then fine, but otherwise your profile will create false expectations. I'm not sure it's always desirable.

 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Only translate into your native language Mar 15, 2013

For the most part, I subscribe to the theory that professional translators should only translate into their native language(s). I realize that in the real world there are exceptions - for instance, it can be hard to find native English speakers for LV>EN in some subject areas. But then there should be an editing/proofing round worked in where a native speaker checks the result if it is more than just a gist translation.

If you are translating into your non-native language, I still think your profile should be linguistically correct and polished. If you are then unable to deliver translations that are up to that standard, you should either not do it or that should be made abundantly clear to the client ahead of time! They may still want you for the job, say, if you are a technical expert or something, but at least they would know what they are getting.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
mmmmm Mar 15, 2013

It is good to have our profile here at ProZ.com also in English, because this is the lingua franca of the world BUT...
I saw many profiles written in bad Italian either..... so... where is the problem? Not only English needs proofreading.

Edited because it was not clear.

[Edited at 2013-03-16 13:06 GMT]


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Don't understand the resistance to presenting a professional image Mar 15, 2013

I translate DE>EN. If I put up my profile in German on a German translation site, I would want to have it proofread by a German native speaker. I could then indicate that I am not a native speaker, and I only translate into English. But the first impression is the most important, so I would want that to be professional.

PS In at least one of the cases above (I don't remember about the second one), the person in question did translate into English.

[Edited at 2013-03-15 15:13 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:31
Chinese to English
Nor me Mar 15, 2013

Daina Jauntirans wrote:

Don't understand the resistance to presenting a professional image


I don't understand it, either. On the other hand, I do recognise that the idea of "professionalism" is something that has to be learned. You pick it up through a certain kind of experience - either at home, or at school, or in the workplace. And if you haven't learned it, from the outside, it can be a bit of a baffling code, with the funny costume requirements and manners.

However...

Angie Garbarino wrote:

where is the problem?


This is going a bit far. Are you serious, Angie? Where is the problem with a language professional not taking the time to make sure they present a good *linguistic* impression to the world?

We're not graphic designers - I wouldn't be down on a translator for failing to have a nice logo! But if you claim to be able to offer decent language services, don't you think it looks a bit dodgy if you don't even know enough to get your own profile properly translated?


 

Nathaniel2
Local time: 02:31
Slovak to English
I'm with Daina Mar 15, 2013

Too many people underestimate the value of proofreading by a native speaker. Even if you only translate into your native language and don't claim to be a native speaker of your source language, I for one would find a very poorly written text in your non-native language to be an indicator of how well you comprehend your non-native language - perfect grammar and syntax in your native language won't help the client if you've gotten the translation all wrong.

There is no way I would target clients in my source language without having the text proofread and corrected by a native speaker of that language. Just saying.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Indeed Phil Mar 15, 2013

Phil Hand wrote:
Are you serious, Angie?


No, I was joking indeed, I just wanted to stress the fact that not only English needs proofreading in profilesicon_wink.gif


 

Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 02:31
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
Daina, I couldn't agree more Mar 15, 2013

For me it's not an issue of being mother tongue or not, it's an issue of professionalism. In my opinion, if you want to have an English profile and your mother tongue is not English, you should ensure that it is in proper English; it's your business card for potential clients. As far as I'm concerned, if I see that you can't take the time to ensure your business profile is correct then why should I believe you would take the time to provide me a great translation?

That's my two cents, anyway.


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:31
Chinese to English
Facepalm! Mar 15, 2013

Angie Garbarino wrote:

No, I was joking indeed, I just wanted to stress the fact that not only English needs proofreading in profilesicon_wink.gif

Sorry! You know the English have no sense of humour...


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:31
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agreed Mar 15, 2013

I agree with Daina's point here. A good deal of the English on the profile pages is truly cringeworthy. Worse is when the offender offers professional services involving translation into English. And worst of all is when the perpetrator claims English as a native language.

Not to beat a dead horse, but it seems worth reflecting on how hundreds of profiles meeting this description reflect upon the perception of freelance translators, and also on how such a state of affairs is nothing more than the inevitable result of a laissez faire attitude on the part of a site that opens its doors to all, and that exercises almost no control over the claims of self-defined professionals.

[Edited at 2013-03-15 15:55 GMT]


 

Elena Volkova  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:31
English to Russian
+ ...
"In due time" Mar 15, 2013

Off-topic: Admittedly, I was puzzled by the OP's comment about the expression "in due time" and made sure to check the dictionary, which offered just one meaning which is "on time", "by the deadline", "at the set date" - not "whenever I get round to doing it" as suggested.

Could someone please clarify this to another non-native English speaker?


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:31
Member
Italian to English
Desperate freelancer Mar 15, 2013

One featured member's tagline was "Desperate Freelancer." Need I say more?

Can't say it bothers me... after all such glaring errors are tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot.

As for translation mistakes, perhaps it is a case of the shoemaker's children going unshod, or whatever the expression is. "Don't give up the day job" might be good advice for many.


 
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