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How many errors would make the whole job unpaid?
Thread poster: Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:39
Member (2008)
English to Czech
Oct 19, 2010

In your opinion, what has to be the rate of errors so that you would accept the fact that the translation job won't be paid - i.e. 100% deduction - to you as the translator (or alternatively so that you would decide not to pay for the job if you were the outsourcer/client)? Please assume you are not doing the final revision and you are paid less than for a usual final checked re-read translation ready for publishing, so some errors in your work are expectable; there would be a proofreader involved.)

Is it 5 errors per 1.000 words?
Is it 20 errors per 1.000 words? (Or would you at this level accept 50% deduction for example?)
Is it 40 errors per 1.000 words? (Yeah, that would be a huge number )

Or would you simply consider the amount (rate) of erroneous / flawless sentences? (20 errors can destroy 2 sentences or 20 sentences.)

I'm wondering what are your opinions or experience with this. Thanks.

Edited for better meaning.

[Edited at 2010-10-19 21:51 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2008)
Italian to English
What is an error? Oct 19, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:

In your opinion, what has to be the rate of errors so that you would accept the fact that the translation job won't be paid - i.e. 100% deduction - to you as the translator? Please assume you are not doing the final revision; there would be a proofreader involved, so some errors in your work are kind of obvious.)

Is it 5 errors per 1.000 words?
Is it 20 errors per 1.000 words? (Or would you at this level accept 50% deduction for example?)
Is it 40 errors per 1.000 words? (Yeah, that would be a huge number )

Or would you simply consider the amount (rate) of erroneous / flawless sentences? (20 errors can destroy 2 sentences or 20 sentences.)

I'm wondering what are your opinions or experience with this. Thanks.


First of all, can you please define (a) an error (b) a flawless sentence? If in either of those cases you mean just "something I disagree with or would do differently", that doesn't count.

For example, I would take issue with your own statement in English that "there would be a proofreader involved, so some errors in your work are kind of obvious." I think I know what you mean, but I find the way you say it very infelicitous. Would that count as a mistake?

And BTW I am intrigued by this anyway. Are you assuming that a proofreader will *always* find mistakes?

[Edited at 2010-10-19 09:49 GMT]


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:39
Member (2008)
English to Czech
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OK Oct 19, 2010

Let's say an error can be anything like:
- typo
- formatting error
- incorrect terminology
- bad syntax
- inconsistency (within the translation and/or against the reference materials)
- incorrect punctuation

As you indicate, too, I would not count preferential or ungrounded "errors".

Flawless sentence - sentence without any errors.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
Tomas, Oct 19, 2010

What do you consider a "formatting error"?

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2008)
Italian to English
And Oct 19, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

What do you consider a "formatting error"?


And what do you mean by "bad syntax"?

BTW I have somewhat modified my previous post - you might like to read it again.

[Edited at 2010-10-19 09:51 GMT]


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:39
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formatting error Oct 19, 2010

That was meant to cover issues like missing/redundant indentation, bulleted lists with(out) periods/commas/semicolons at the end of each bullet (depending on the requirements), etc.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
Member (2008)
Italian to English
hmmm Oct 19, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:

That was meant to cover issues like missing/redundant indentation, bulleted lists with(out) periods/commas/semicolons at the end of each bullet (depending on the requirements), etc.



that might be problematic because whereas in some languages it's considered acceptable not to put any punctuation between bulletted points, in other languages it's considered incorrect not to. So if I am translating an English bullet-pointed document into Italian (for instance) and the English bullet points are not punctuated, I might decide to introduce punctuation into the Italian.

In your world someone might flag that up as "incorrect punctuation" and if the bullet-pointed list consists of 50 items that would be 50 "errors".

[Edited at 2010-10-19 09:59 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
Oh, really? Oct 19, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:

That was meant to cover issues like missing/redundant indentation, bulleted lists with(out) periods/commas/semicolons at the end of each bullet (depending on the requirements), etc.


Since when are layout issues part of a translator's job? In 99% of all cases our texts will be processed by layouters, graphic designers and what not. Before they copy our texts into their layouts, they have to delete all our precious formatting anyway.


Addendum

In regard to periods/commas/semicolons at the end of bullet points:
Each language has its own rules. In general I refuse to put a period at the end of a bullet point as long as it is not a full sentence, even if the source text is teeming with dots like a celestial chart. I might though, if it fits the context and to put extra emphasis to each statement. That's my decision.

[Edited at 2010-10-19 10:16 GMT]


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:39
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:) Oct 19, 2010

Bad syntax - mostly what you would see as incorrect grammar, or less suitable (for a given purpose) order of words in a sentence (we go shopping x shopping we go).

"I find the way you say it very infelicitous. Would that count as a mistake?"
Yes (if it is objectively "clumsy" - I can't judge that).

"Are you assuming that a proofreader will *always* find mistakes?"
I'm assuming that a proofreader will highly likely find mistakes in a longer text that was translated but not revised, re-read, whatever - just like I usually do when I start revising my working version of translation.

[Edited at 2010-10-19 10:15 GMT]


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Eugenia K.
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:39
English to Russian
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DipTrans Oct 19, 2010

There's such exam for translators in the UK.

In its criteria for assessment an (just one!) error in conveying the meaning automatically leads to "fail". If a translator distorts the sense of text, it can lead to huge loss.

I think it's more than reasonable.

A while ago when I studied at University, our professors always said that some of those mistakes can lean to WW3, so we must watch up!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:39
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English to Afrikaans
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A related thread Oct 19, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:
Or would you simply consider the amount (rate) of erroneous / flawless sentences? (20 errors can destroy 2 sentences or 20 sentences.)


A related thread:
http://www.proz.com/forum/proofreading_editing_reviewing/180131.html


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:39
Member (2008)
English to Czech
TOPIC STARTER
hm Oct 19, 2010

Since when are layout issues part of a translator's job? In 99% of all cases our texts will be processed by layouters, graphic designers and what not. Before they copy our texts into their layouts, they have to delete all our precious formatting anyway.

1) You might have instructions (style guide) on how to end the bulleted lists ( . , ; ) - not followed = error
2) You might have a HTML text with formatting tags and you are expected to put the translation correctly into the tags - Alsace guide is not the same as Alsace guide...

Anyway, please can we get to the original question?

[Edited at 2010-10-19 10:14 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
Tomas, that is the issue precisely Oct 19, 2010

Tomas Mosler wrote:

Anyway, please can we get to the original question?


You cannot ask about a percentage (!) of price deduction for errors as long as you have not defined what actually constitutes an error.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Nicole Oct 19, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:
Since when are layout issues part of a translator's job? In 99% of all cases our texts will be processed by layouters, graphic designers and what not...


...many of whom do not speak or understand the target language, and would therefore be unable to know whether a formatting "error" should be corrected by them or retained the way it appears in the file received from the translator.


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