Proof-reading Basics?
Thread poster: Movingpix
Movingpix  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jun 27, 2009

Hello fellow translators and mentors,

This kind of question is probably asked many times, but I have questions about proof-reading.

1. When you roof-read, what happens if you think the translation is awkward/wrong?
Do you simply put a note and move on? Or do you correct it? That means you are doing a
translation which changes the rate scheme.

2. Does anyone refer to these rates to set their rate (per hour)? Or as someone mentioned, it is
the data is outdated?

http://www.proz.com/?sp=rates_view

Do you think proof-reading jobs are not worth due to its (potential) complication?
Fixing few words is one thing but what do you do when you look at a sentence and feel you
would rather re-translate the whole sentence?

thank you very much,


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Tae Kim  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:57
Member (2007)
English to Korean
+ ...
I try to keep original translator's terms and translations as much as possible Jun 27, 2009

My work consists 30% for proofreading and 70% direct translation, approximately. So far my experiences are that over-proofreading and editing are not that recommended. I understand if translations were done in a very bad level and need some heavy editing, that would totally warrant such re-work as to make translations more presentable to the end customer. However, I have not had so many cases where translations were done in that horrible level. Most of translations are ok, they generally need some fine tuning here and there, and yes I've come across some translations cases which were kind of badly done. But let's not forget that proofreaders can also be making some mistakes whether it's due to own inabilities or some circuimstantial reasons, such as working too much so you couldn't pay precise attention and so on.

So it is my belief that it's better to keep original translator's translations as much as you can. You may feel at times some texts totally need changing, and you should change them if you really think they need changing. But I also came across with a lot of proofreaders of my own translations who have over edited them. And I certainly may have overedited some of my own proofreading for other translators' work as well.

Well, just to make my point simple, I would just keep original translators' work intact as much as possible. Somehow being pressured to show your client about your proofreading work can make your proofreading little more than what is really necessary. I certainly have felt many times about such pressure to show your proofreading work to clients. Bottomline is, proofreading is not about changing the stylistic ways original translators have done. I'd rather concentrate on concete facts such as missed words, sentences, numbers, figures etc. instead of how you perceive the overal translation styles original translators have done should be. I guess it basically comes to your own judgment with all thigs considered.


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chica nueva
Local time: 20:57
Chinese to English
Is this article any good to you? Jun 27, 2009

Hello Ethan.

Is this article any good to you?
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/543/1/The-difference-between-editing-and-proofreading (2005)

1 Definitions: Proofreading: This is a process whereby the text is being scanned for grammar, syntax and spelling errors. ... Proofing is best paid by the hour ... Editing: This process concentrates less on the form and more on the terminology. ...

2 ... do sign a contract for every job you do ... It is the only way you can get paid and the only guarantee that no more than what was agreed in the contract will be expected of you ...

Lesley

[There is more discussion on editing and proofreading on this thread:
http://www.proz.com/forum/proofreading_editing_reviewing/133946-2000_words_an_hour_=_industry_standard-page2.html#1137944 ]


[Edited at 2009-06-27 10:10 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My take is this... Jun 27, 2009

Ethan Lyu wrote:
1. When you roof-read, what happens if you think the translation is awkward/wrong? Do you simply put a note and move on? Or do you correct it? That means you are doing a translation which changes the rate scheme.


I think the idea is that you correct it, yes. Generally you don't have to say why you correct it, unless you're working for a direct client and you want him to learn from the experience.

I follow a minimalistic approach with proofreading:

A proofreader should correct the following:
* mistranslations
* ambiguous text
* taboo or seriously ill-chosen words (i.e. cultural blunders)
* text that sounds utterly unnatural in the target language
* non-sensical direct translation of idiomatic expressions
* spelling and grammar errors
* inconsistent terminology use, if it is relevant to do so
* typographic errors, if serious and easily rectified

Some translators just have awkward writing styles that I would never use myself, but there is nothing essentially wrong with the way they write. Such things should not be corrected unless requested.

A good question to always keep in mind when proofreading is whether you would be able to easily defend each edit. If you can't defend an edit objectively, then perhaps you should not commit that particular edit.

I know of proofreaders who follow a maximalistic approach -- so the end-result reads like something they themselves might have translated.

[Edited at 2009-06-27 12:39 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Examples of what I mean Jun 27, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
A proofreader should correct the following:
...
* typographic errors, if serious and easily rectified


For example, in my language some texts use a quote character where an apostrophe is required. This is quite a serious error, but... if the error occurs consistently throughout the entire text, I usually keep it as-is and simply let the client know about it in a separate note... particularly if the text is difficult to edit and it may potentially be regarded by the client's graphic designer as nitpickery.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:57
English to French
+ ...
Proofreading vs. reviewing Jun 27, 2009

You may want to read this article: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/543/

It explains the difference between proofreading and reviewing. It may help you figure out the financial aspect of proofreading and reviewing as well - the latter is charged at a higher rate than the former. What you describe seems to be both reviewing and proofreading, and you should charge accordingly.

All the best!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Disagree somewhat Jun 27, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:
You may want to read this article: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/543/ ... It explains the difference between proofreading and reviewing.


Viktoria's article is but one opinion about the difference between these two services. I think it is sufficient to know that different clients have different expectations, and that you should take care to figure out what the client expects of you. As for myself, I used the term "proofreading" in my posts here because that's the term you used. But when I communicate my rates to clients, I never use that word. I use "reviewing" as a generic term to cover any type of text checking.

With regard to pricing:

Ideally, proofreading (or whatever you call it) should be charged per hour. After all, a good translation will be quick to proofread, and you can't always tell how good a translation is before you accept the job.

But if your client insists on a per-word rate for proofreading, simply provide the client with the relevant number of hours, as calculated from the rate. If the client wants to pay 1/3 your regular per-word rate, then it means he's expecting you to take 1/3 as much time doing the proofreading than you'd take doing the translation. So keep your eye on the clock and adapt the depth of your editing as you go along, to ensure that you spend 1/3 as much time as you'd normally spend translating that text.


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:57
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
two-stage approach Jun 27, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

Ethan Lyu wrote:
1. When you roof-read, what happens if you think the translation is awkward/wrong? Do you simply put a note and move on? Or do you correct it? That means you are doing a translation which changes the rate scheme.


I think the idea is that you correct it, yes. Generally you don't have to say why you correct it, unless you're working for a direct client and you want him to learn from the experience.

I follow a minimalistic approach with proofreading:

A proofreader should correct the following:
* mistranslations
* ambiguous text
* taboo or seriously ill-chosen words (i.e. cultural blunders)
* text that sounds utterly unnatural in the target language
* non-sensical direct translation of idiomatic expressions
* spelling and grammar errors
* inconsistent terminology use, if it is relevant to do so
* typographic errors, if serious and easily rectified

Some translators just have awkward writing styles that I would never use myself, but there is nothing essentially wrong with the way they write. Such things should not be corrected unless requested.

A good question to always keep in mind when proofreading is whether you would be able to easily defend each edit. If you can't defend an edit objectively, then perhaps you should not commit that particular edit.

I know of proofreaders who follow a maximalistic approach -- so the end-result reads like something they themselves might have translated.

[Edited at 2009-06-27 12:39 GMT]


My initial approach is the minimalistic approach. In dubio pro reo.

However, if I discover too many mistranslations, unidiomatic translations (word choice, collocations, syntax), inconsistencies, etc. I go for the maximalistic approach for several reasons:

- The end client deserves the best possible translation, and if the original translator has proven that his/her language command is unsatisfactory, I don't feel I have to respect his/her original product any more.
- This constant comparing of source and original translation and evaluating problematic areas as to whether they might still be acceptable and count as "personal style" or are just plain incorrect/unidiomatic simply takes too much time. It's definitely faster to just apply my own style on the entire thing.

Sadly enough, most translations I get to proofread/edit require the maximalist approach.


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:57
Russian to English
+ ...
One more piece of advice Jun 27, 2009

This is implicit in what others have said, I think, but it never hurts to spell things out.

Always make sure you see the translation before you accept the job, and make sure you and your customer agree on the estimated cost.

In my experience, translations vary greatly in terms of quality. Your customer may assure you that the translation is a good one and will require little work -- don't take their word for it! If it takes longer to review/proofread than either of you expect, you may find it hard to come to an agreement with your customer on a fair price for your work.


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Movingpix  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jun 30, 2009

Mr. McVay, Ms. Behl, Mr. Murray, Ms. Viktoria, Ms. An and Mr. Kim

I greatly appreciate your advice!

Thank you,

Ethan


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:57
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Agree with Heike Jul 1, 2009

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

- The end client deserves the best possible translation, and if the original translator has proven that his/her language command is unsatisfactory, I don't feel I have to respect his/her original product any more.

Sadly enough, most translations I get to proofread/edit require the maximalist approach.


I agree. The first thing on my mind is the end client. If a sample reading of 3 or 4 paragraphs suggests that I will have to take the maximalist approach, I turn on the track changes feature and send a raw copy back to the client/agency, along with the cleaned document and updated TM. Sometimes, however, I don't feel a reciprocity and wonder whether my recommendations fall in deaf ears. As of lately, I have been disappointed in receiving translations from the same translator again, despite having proved his/her incompetence. For future jobs, I am thinking about not only asking to see the texts ahead of time but also rejecting those done by translators where I had to use the maximalist approach before, especially if the job comes from the same client/agency.


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 18:57
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Rate issue Jul 10, 2009

Hi everyone!

Since we're talking about the basics of proofreading, and rates have also been mentioned, I had a question myself. I know proofreading is best charged per hour, but when it's charged per word, which word count do you usually charge, from the source or the target text? In some language combinations it may vary quite a bit...

Cheers

Mara


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