Deleting product/brand names in sample translations
Thread poster: peninsular
peninsular  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:40
Russian to English
+ ...
May 10, 2015

Agencies and clients often ask for samples of translation work done previously to judge the translation proficiency of the translator with whom they plan to work for the first time. How important is it to delete proper nouns of products, brands, manufacturers etc?

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:10
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Request permission from your client May 10, 2015

I suggest contacting the client to ask for permission to use a particular translation as a sample. You can attach the translation to your request, and ask whether you will need to remove references to product names, brands manufacturers, etc. (provided that your client does not outright object to using the translation as a sample).

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very important May 10, 2015

peninsular wrote:
How important is it to delete proper nouns of products, brands, manufacturers etc?

Whether or not you signed an NDA, and even if confidentiality was never mentioned, you have/had a privileged relationship with your client (direct or end client). That text may not have been in the public domain in its source version; its translation may not be. I suppose if they are both available online, it isn't so much of an issue. However, I personally prefer to make client confidentiality a blanket rule - it's the easiest way to avoid very costly mistakes, with "costly" having the potential to take many forms.

Then there's the aspect of competition. If we aspire to ever having any direct clients, and most of us certainly do, agencies take on a dual persona: client and competitor. Why tell the competition about your clients, even if you have authorisation?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The "competition" May 10, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Then there's the aspect of competition. If we aspire to ever having any direct clients, and most of us certainly do, agencies take on a dual persona: client and competitor. Why tell the competition about your clients, even if you have authorisation?


IMO this "competition" between freelancers and agencies should be rare. A while ago I tried to put together some sensible reasons for selecting either line of action on this page.

The competition comes up when a freelance translator bites more than than s/he can chew, and outsources part of a huge translation assignment they got, often doing project management work for free. It also comes up when a translation agency decides to do translation work in-house, without having its own team for it, I mean, they put all bilingual PMs to do translation work instead.

Most people know when they should go to a physician's office or to a hospital. Most people know when they need a handyman or a construction engineering company.

I have diverted prospects to agencies - clients of mine, of course - when I felt their needs would be fulfilled more effectively that way. Now and then a (client) agency hands me a client with a job on a silver platter, because direct contact will significantly increase efficiency (e.g. it would take their staff so much time to relay Q&As between us, that the profit wouldn't be worth it).

When the client makes a "wrong" choice according to this criteria, i.e. hiring an agency when a freelance translator would better serve their needs, the agency is scared stiff at the possibility of being bypassed.

BTW, an agency that is nothing more than a file-pusher who charges a hefty markup to do so, is always a bad choice. They actually deserve to be bypassed, since they add no value to the entire process; they merely increase the overall cost to their own benefit.

My answer to the OP is "NO". Even without the brands, Google will easily trace these companies, so it's just a matter of time before someone in that prospective agency plays hangman, to trace the end-client to you. Then they'll contact this end-client, saying "We've hired 'peninsular', who has been translating for you via another agency. Now we can offer you the same level of service at better prices."

The worst that may happen is if that new agency has 'continental', a translator who can do your work for less $$$.


A smart NDA will forbid a translator to actively approach a client served through the agency to peddle their wares, however it will place no constraint on the translator accepting work from that client when s/he is passively approached.

I have a peculiar case, being a sworn translator in Brazil, where such activity is regulated by law. I am forbidden to decline - as long as all other provisions are met - any sworn translation request. So I must warn agencies having a leonine NDA about that.

One very large and widely bad-mouthed translation agency from the US approached me with a "sizable" request in sworn translations... and a draconian NDA to sign. I highlighted and explained the 19 points where their NDA clashed with the Brazilian law on sworn translation, and their legal department has been analyzing these... since Dec. 2008!

In the meantime, their Brazilian office desperately hired me to do an urgent sworn translation for them, without NDA or anything else. As they paid late, and only did it after I put a bad LWA on the Blue Board, I'm off the hook!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:10
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's why... May 10, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

peninsular wrote:
How important is it to delete proper nouns of products, brands, manufacturers etc?

Whether or not you signed an NDA, and even if confidentiality was never mentioned, you have/had a privileged relationship with your client (direct or end client). That text may not have been in the public domain in its source version; its translation may not be. I suppose if they are both available online, it isn't so much of an issue. However, I personally prefer to make client confidentiality a blanket rule - it's the easiest way to avoid very costly mistakes, with "costly" having the potential to take many forms.

Then there's the aspect of competition. If we aspire to ever having any direct clients, and most of us certainly do, agencies take on a dual persona: client and competitor. Why tell the competition about your clients, even if you have authorisation?


... I have no objection whatsoever doing a test (free or paid). Very little of my work is in the public domain, so I rarely if ever use it as references.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Search & Replace May 10, 2015

As I understand the question, it's a very simple one. To delete proper nouns of products, brands, manufacturers etc. all you have to do is "search & replace" with something else so the text is no longer identifiable.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 07:10
Chinese to English
I would never give a client's text to someone else... May 11, 2015

...no matter how well disguised. Either get something published under your name - a translation of a book or similar - or make up your translation from public texts. There are plenty of them out there. It doesn't matter how much of a text you remove, your NDA says "will not disclose any part of this text to any third party" (or similar wording). Why would you run the risk of offending a client when it's so easy to whip up some non-proprietary samples?

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:10
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded! May 11, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:
...no matter how well disguised. Either get something published under your name - a translation of a book or similar - or make up your translation from public texts. There are plenty of them out there. It doesn't matter how much of a text you remove, your NDA says "will not disclose any part of this text to any third party" (or similar wording). Why would you run the risk of offending a client when it's so easy to whip up some non-proprietary samples?

I absolutely agree.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:10
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
"Thirded"! May 11, 2015

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Phil Hand wrote:
...no matter how well disguised. Either get something published under your name - a translation of a book or similar - or make up your translation from public texts. There are plenty of them out there. It doesn't matter how much of a text you remove, your NDA says "will not disclose any part of this text to any third party" (or similar wording). Why would you run the risk of offending a client when it's so easy to whip up some non-proprietary samples?

I absolutely agree.


Even if the information from the job is public knowledge, the mere fact that the client is interested in it could reveal proprietary information to the astute observer, such as business plans, potential litigation, etc.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:10
English to Polish
+ ...
Precisely May 12, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:
Either get something published under your name - a translation of a book or similar

Bilingual websites are as good as anything else - you can either get the website owner to put your name directly in the credits, or provide the link and contact names as references.
This way, you're more likely to be able to present your performance across all your specialities - unless you have dozens of ISBNs under your belt, of course.


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peninsular  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:40
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Useful inputs, indeed! May 13, 2015

Dear Vladimir, Sheila, Jose Henrique, Teresa, Henry, Phil, Tomas, Rudolf and Iza,
Thank you for your replies to my query. The answers were thoughtful, exhaustive, very useful, indeed, and cover an entire spectrum. Your inputs have given me several leads as to how I should go about submitting samples of translation.

To avoid the many legal pitfalls pointed out by you all, I am inclined to do some fresh translations and submit them.

Thank you very much for having taken time out to attend to the topic.

With best wishes,


Yeshwant Umralkar


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Kevin Dias
Local time: 08:10
SITE STAFF
Semi-automatic confidential information redaction May 13, 2015

I recently released a tool that helps translators to semi-automatically redact confidential information from a document. You might find it useful: https://www.tm-town.com/blog/confidential-information-redactor

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