What to do with an agency whose website is really badly translated ?
Thread poster: Sara Massons

Sara Massons  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:36
Member (2016)
English to French
+ ...
Sep 22, 2016

Hello,

I've been directly contacted by an agency for a rather interesting job that fits perfectly with my skills. As I always do in such cases, I checked their website and the "about" page which I found correct and I then switched to the French version. And to my surprise, this is really terrible. It is not even French however I don't think it is machine translation. However, if I was a client looking for translation into French, I would simply run away.
I first had the idea to apply for the job and then write them about the poor quality of the French version of their site to offer my revision services. However I don't know whether it would be a good idea to work with that agency at all even if I am in need for new clients. I would not dare cite them as reference with their website like this. On the other hand, they may be thinking the translation is ok.

What do you think I should do ?

Thanks in advance for your answers.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 16:36
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
My early movements Sep 23, 2016

Sara Massons wrote:

I first had the idea to apply for the job and then write them about the poor quality of the French version of their site to offer my revision services. However I don't know whether it would be a good idea to work with that agency at all even if I am in need for new clients. I would not dare cite them as reference with their website like this. On the other hand, they may be thinking the translation is ok.



My first contact with one of the long-lasting agencies was based on revision of their bad translation (of course, a complementary). In 1978, few JP>TH translators were available in my country. One translator decided to do the job by asking a Japanese expert to explain in English. Then she who could not read Japanese translated and wrote in Thai, the badly tedious processes.
This agency constantly offers me the jobs since that time.

Soonthon L.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:36
Romanian to English
+ ...
What it suggests Sep 23, 2016

They may not be a bad client in the sense that they pay low rates or late, have annoying registration habits, but clearly they don't care that much about quality. They may not even be aware of the quality issues with their French page.
I've noticed issues like this, albeit minor ones, even on websites of the best(est) agencies out there that are meticulous with quality. Generally this happens when they don't have a trusted, experienced and real native speaker of that language in house.
If there's nothing else to discourage you from working with them, I would do the job first (top-notch quality, punctual delivery, etc.) and then draw their attention to the problems on their webpage.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A comparable situation Sep 23, 2016

About a week ago a UK agency I work with occasionally sent me a mass email, presumably directed at their end clients rather than at their translators, promoting their efficient and reasonably priced language services - not a translation but written in English.
It contained several mistakes and words had evidently been omitted, particularly in the paragraph about QUALITY! To quote "all the work we supply undergoes our rigorous checking procedure".
I replied briefly and, I hope, politely, with the words: "Gentle hint: I think you should put the text you've just sent me through your "rigorous checking procedure" before you circulate it any further. There are mistakes in it".
No reaction. I haven't heard a word from them since.

To answer the OP's question: pointing out how poor their French web page is might backfire if it was written by the boss, say, who prides him/herself on his/her linguistic capabilities. On the other hand, it might land you some work, either correcting the French page for them or because they appreciate your ability to notice and care about mistakes and therefore offer you worthwhile jobs.
Do let us know what you decide and what happens - if anything.



[Edited at 2016-09-23 09:04 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Cause for concern; but maybe a great opportunity Sep 23, 2016

I'd hesitate about entering into a collaboration with them, I must say. But maybe they only started in business recently and haven't got round to having it tidied (although they should have given that a higher priority).

I'd word my response carefully, bearing in mind that I may well be writing to the person who wrote/translated the copy. I'd say how keen I was to do the job bla-bla, but I was very conscious of quality when delivering texts, and I was anxious to only collaborate with agencies who had similar goals, and their website text didn't inspire confidence.

I wouldn't offer to improve it - that isn't why they contacted you. But I'd hope for an encouraging response of some sort (maybe a request to do it, or maybe just a promise to get it done). Then I could decide whether I felt happy about working with them. I don't have absolute rules about anything much, preferring to go by the "feel" of potential clients.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Tell them Sep 23, 2016

Sara Massons wrote:
I then switched to the French version. And to my surprise, this is really terrible.


Perhaps they are just unaware that the translation is bad. Since they are in the language quality business, they should definitely be interested in your feedback.


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Schtroumpf
Local time: 11:36
German to French
+ ...
What to do with an agency whose website is really badly translated? Sep 23, 2016

What to do with such people?
Nothing.
.
.
.
.
Look for serious customers somewhere else! Seems as if they didn't even grab the simplest basic rules in our business.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:36
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Continuous free nibbles Sep 23, 2016

I have tried to tell these people that they're getting it wrong, but they haven't got back to me. Like so many Italian enterprises (alas), they only have an English-language version because since almost nobody in Italy has much command of English, they think it makes them look cool and advanced to say things in English, even if it's bad English or, as in this case, hilariously wrong English. Other Italians won't see any difference.

http://milan.architectatwork.it/en/visit/practical-information/

[Edited at 2016-09-23 13:22 GMT]


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:36
Member (2008)
French to English
Owner vs PM Sep 23, 2016

Try contacting the owner, rather than your project manager. The PM is probably less interested in the marketing and sales end of the business than the owner is. It is quite likely the owner does not speak French and may have no idea of the French version's quality.

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Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:36
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too fast Sep 23, 2016

Do the job, get paid and tell them then.

By the way, I have tried this a couple of times and it has never worked.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:36
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
If pointing out someone's website is poor can lead to jobs Sep 23, 2016

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:

Do the job, get paid and tell them then.

By the way, I have tried this a couple of times and it has never worked.


Everybody could make a fortune. There are many poorly translated websites out there but I don't think everybody working in the companies that owns these websites would care as much about it as you do. Also, pointing out the problems on their websites would only make them feel ashamed, if they even care about it at all.


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