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Proofreading by someone who has no expertise
Thread poster: Ilham Ahmadov

Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 22:39
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
Feb 7, 2016

Hello,

I have been faced with an issue very recently. I was approached by a Client (not a translation agency), who does not have a profile here, to do a translation in the language pair I work on. This was a transcreation, rather than translation, there were certain instructions to be followed and we agreed with the Client that she will find somebody to proofread my work after the submission.

She told me the job was no rush and I could submit it whenever I want. It was a very small job under 500 words. She was OK to wait (she confirmed it by email) and in a couple of weeks time I sent in the translation. Following 3-4 days, I received an astonishing letter that she checked my translation with the dictionary and my translation was crap. Immediately I wrote back a heated responce, and then a more thoughtful and substantiated responce to her mail. But the reason I have started this post is to find an answer to this burning question. And I am no novice in this field, I have been translating for the last 15 years. My question to you is have you ever faced a client or a translation agency who has no knowledge and expertise in your native language and who is completely from a different field, proofread your work with a dictionary and then slander you that your work was not up to their standards. For instance, one of the riduculous comments I received was that, and I quote her "you translated in inverted way". She meant to say I translated from the end to the begining of the sentence. But what she does not understand that in my language you have to translate from English starting from the end and going to the begining.

So, basically I checked and rebuffed the majority of her comments and accepted 2-3 typos I left in reminding her that this job was about to go to a proofreader anyway. Following this communication, she disappeard from Skype, where we were communicating successfully, ignored my emails and phone calls and I even proposed to her colleague/partner to deduct 30% of my fee because of these typos, but to no avail.

Sorry for this long post, but my second question is what can I do about this situation to punish them and get the money? I will post a negative entry on Blue Board for sure, but I doubt if they care, but what are the other avenues available to restore the justice? I appreaciate your comments.

Kind Regards,

Ilham Ahmadov


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 18:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just move on. Feb 7, 2016

For a small job it's not not worth the effort. Just post a Blue Board entry (short and factual) and put it behind you.

Yes, it's annoying but it sounds like you've already put more time into the follow-up than the job itself.


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Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 22:39
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Money is not the issue Feb 7, 2016

Thank you for your comment, but it is not the money I am after, although I would want them to pay.

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Joanna Carroll  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:39
Polish to English
+ ...
Let it go, mate! Feb 7, 2016

It's not worth the ulcers Learn from this and move on. I know it hurts to have your expertise questioned by someone who has no clue but from what you're saying about this client no amount of venting is going to touch them.

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Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 22:39
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No doubt about it Feb 7, 2016

Joanna Carroll wrote:

It's not worth the ulcers Learn from this and move on. I know it hurts to have your expertise questioned by someone who has no clue but from what you're saying about this client no amount of venting is going to touch them.


Thank you, I appreciate this comment. I moved on a long time ago, this was just a post to see if there is something to be done about this situation and from what I see there is not much I can do here, unfortunately.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
Romanian to English
+ ...
Not worth your time Feb 7, 2016

Just let it go.

I'm in a similar situation right now and I'm still trying to figure out how to comply with this request: "we want the translation to be more faithful to the linguistic structure of the original". Obviously, a translator can't use the same "language structure" for two languages with completely different "linquistic structures", whatever that means...


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:39
French to German
+ ...
Just don't work with that customer again Feb 7, 2016

I find that annoying as well and had that problem for the first time a few weeks ago. About 35 comments by a non-native speaker on a translation of 600 words. The most annoying was the time I had to spend on anwering these comments. (Took me 90 minutes which of course have not been paid.) As I do not want to have another experience of that sort I just decided not to work with that agency again (unless they pay for the extra time).

There are a lot of easy going, well paying customers around so that you do not have to loose your time with agencies which handle their work like that.

I think a Blueboard entry would be good though. I'll create one as well.

[Modifié le 2016-02-07 17:33 GMT]


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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 04:39
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Upfront fee Feb 7, 2016

Hello Ilham,

I would suggest next time to charge them upfront. It was a small project and she was a direct client whom are harder to chase than the companies, so the best solution would be just to charge them upfront.


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Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 01:39
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Silence Feb 8, 2016

Ilham Ahmadov wrote:

Hello,

I have been faced with an issue very recently. I was approached by a Client (not a translation agency), who does not have a profile here, to do a translation in the language pair I work on. This was a transcreation, rather than translation, there were certain instructions to be followed and we agreed with the Client that she will find somebody to proofread my work after the submission.

She told me the job was no rush and I could submit it whenever I want. It was a very small job under 500 words. She was OK to wait (she confirmed it by email) and in a couple of weeks time I sent in the translation. Following 3-4 days, I received an astonishing letter that she checked my translation with the dictionary and my translation was crap. Immediately I wrote back a heated responce, and then a more thoughtful and substantiated responce to her mail. But the reason I have started this post is to find an answer to this burning question. And I am no novice in this field, I have been translating for the last 15 years. My question to you is have you ever faced a client or a translation agency who has no knowledge and expertise in your native language and who is completely from a different field, proofread your work with a dictionary and then slander you that your work was not up to their standards. For instance, one of the riduculous comments I received was that, and I quote her "you translated in inverted way". She meant to say I translated from the end to the begining of the sentence. But what she does not understand that in my language you have to translate from English starting from the end and going to the begining.

So, basically I checked and rebuffed the majority of her comments and accepted 2-3 typos I left in reminding her that this job was about to go to a proofreader anyway. Following this communication, she disappeard from Skype, where we were communicating successfully, ignored my emails and phone calls and I even proposed to her colleague/partner to deduct 30% of my fee because of these typos, but to no avail.

Sorry for this long post, but my second question is what can I do about this situation to punish them and get the money? I will post a negative entry on Blue Board for sure, but I doubt if they care, but what are the other avenues available to restore the justice? I appreaciate your comments.

Kind Regards,

Ilham Ahmadov


I was translating from Russian to Indonesian. The result was good. I sent to the agency, which, in turn, sent my work to a fool editor/ proofreader, saying that I made mistakes here and there. The agency believed in his assessment. In fact, he made many mistakes in his "correction." Then, I did not answer her email. Let them enjoy their mistakes. If the agency more believe in him then me, then it was not my mistake if she delivered bad work to her customer due to her fool editor/ proofreader changing significantly my work.

I drew a lesson here that believing in a fool person was an evidence that she was fool, as well. IMO, the agency should put more trust on a translator with 20-year experience than on her young editor/ proofreader.

I think, 15 years are close to 20 years.

[Edited at 2016-02-08 04:44 GMT]


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Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 22:39
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Been there Feb 8, 2016

Yes, this happens a lot of time since the agency can not differentiate between competent and incompetent people.
Dani Karuniawan wrote:

Ilham Ahmadov wrote:

Hello,

I have been faced with an issue very recently. I was approached by a Client (not a translation agency), who does not have a profile here, to do a translation in the language pair I work on. This was a transcreation, rather than translation, there were certain instructions to be followed and we agreed with the Client that she will find somebody to proofread my work after the submission.

She told me the job was no rush and I could submit it whenever I want. It was a very small job under 500 words. She was OK to wait (she confirmed it by email) and in a couple of weeks time I sent in the translation. Following 3-4 days, I received an astonishing letter that she checked my translation with the dictionary and my translation was crap. Immediately I wrote back a heated responce, and then a more thoughtful and substantiated responce to her mail. But the reason I have started this post is to find an answer to this burning question. And I am no novice in this field, I have been translating for the last 15 years. My question to you is have you ever faced a client or a translation agency who has no knowledge and expertise in your native language and who is completely from a different field, proofread your work with a dictionary and then slander you that your work was not up to their standards. For instance, one of the riduculous comments I received was that, and I quote her "you translated in inverted way". She meant to say I translated from the end to the begining of the sentence. But what she does not understand that in my language you have to translate from English starting from the end and going to the begining.

So, basically I checked and rebuffed the majority of her comments and accepted 2-3 typos I left in reminding her that this job was about to go to a proofreader anyway. Following this communication, she disappeard from Skype, where we were communicating successfully, ignored my emails and phone calls and I even proposed to her colleague/partner to deduct 30% of my fee because of these typos, but to no avail.

Sorry for this long post, but my second question is what can I do about this situation to punish them and get the money? I will post a negative entry on Blue Board for sure, but I doubt if they care, but what are the other avenues available to restore the justice? I appreaciate your comments.

Kind Regards,

Ilham Ahmadov


I was translating from Russian to Indonesian. The result was good. I sent to the agency, which, in turn, sent my work to a fool editor/ proofreader, saying that I made mistakes here and there. The agency believed in his assessment. In fact, he made many mistakes in his "correction." Then, I did not answer her email. Let them enjoy their mistakes. If the agency more believe in him then me, then it was not my mistake if she delivered bad work to her customer due to her fool editor/ proofreader changing significantly my work.

I drew a lesson here that believing in a fool person was an evidence that she was fool, as well. IMO, the agency should put more trust on a translator with 20-year experience than on her young editor/ proofreader.

I think, 15 years are close to 20 years.

[Edited at 2016-02-08 04:44 GMT]


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Ilham Ahmadov  Identity Verified
Azerbaijan
Local time: 22:39
Member
English to Azerbaijani
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agreed Feb 8, 2016

Yes, I agree, this way I would have saved me a lot of hassle.
Vanda Nissen wrote:

Hello Ilham,

I would suggest next time to charge them upfront. It was a small project and she was a direct client whom are harder to chase than the companies, so the best solution would be just to charge them upfront.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:39
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Don't waste time or charge for language lessons Feb 8, 2016

Just thank them kindly for spotting a typo and point them to the first case in which the proofreader has introduced an error into a good translation. No need to answer any further unless you want to charge them for language lessons.


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Ksenia Sergeeva  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:39
Member (2013)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yeah, let it go Feb 8, 2016

I once had a minor client who usually ordered translations of articles on health issues aimed at a non-professional reader. Then for some reason she ordered a translation of some kind of a contract, I did the translation, and she replied that she can't understand anything and will not pay for the work. Well... it was a while ago, and I wasn't a big expert in legal translation back then, but the case was the client was illiterate and narrow-minded, I knew it from our correspondence before this happened. I looked my translation up just now, and it's not that bad, and I also found her comments, they mostly go like "What is that - Bankers' Automated Clearing Services - I can't undestend meke it easer to undestand, they will no know what it is in the bank!" (well, something like this, but in Russian). I was so angry I had a nosebleed. LOL.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:39
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
If it happens with a larger job Feb 8, 2016

I agree, I would let this one go and put it down to experience, as you probably have. Definitely add a comment to the BB, please!

However, if someone sends a larger job that has cost more time and effort, and you really need to be paid, there are several other things you can do.

1. Have a good rant in private (or among colleagues, as here) and then calm down so that you can be icily polite and professional. Make sure that everything you say is 110 per cent correct, so that they can't side-track on issues of form or say you are rude. Don't sound offended either - keep as far as possible to basic, indisputable facts.

2. Explain one or two of the most glaringly stupid errors in the client's complaint, with references, and say you will have to charge for your time if they want explanations for the rest. This just may get the client to back down if they have used a rookie 'proofreader'.

3. Get a second opinion, preferably from a reputable colleague, who simply will say quite shortly that your translation was fine.

Don't spend a lot of time on all this - you are not going to get paid for it!
If the client then pays for your work, well and good, but you probably have to continue by repeating your claim.

4. If the client is normally reasonable and is one you don't want to lose, consider a face-saving line such as 'Well, almost everything can be said in several ways'. Then make a few minor adjustments in the text, or choose a 'third option' for some of the things they have criticised.

After that, if you do not reach an agreement, still remain totally cool and polite, but treat it as a non-payment issue.

Above all, you should aim to avoid hassle and wasting time that no one is going to get paid for!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Common problem; not easy to know what to do Feb 8, 2016

Ilham Ahmadov wrote:
My question to you is have you ever faced a client or a translation agency who has no knowledge and expertise in your native language and who is completely from a different field, proofread your work with a dictionary and then slander you that your work was not up to their standards.

I doubt there are many of us here who haven't had that happen. It certainly happens often with into-English translations as almost everyone can understand the target text enough to know that it doesn't contain a literal translation of each word, nor are words in the same order; but not enough - apparently - to know that there certainly should NOT be such a close correspondence.
Immediately I wrote back a heated responce

That was a shame and is probably why your client has stopped communicating with you. The cooling-off period Christine mentions is vitally important.
my second question is what can I do about this situation to punish them and get the money? I will post a negative entry on Blue Board for sure, but I doubt if they care, but what are the other avenues available to restore the justice?

I'm like you in that I really don't like to see clients getting away with non-payment for such unfounded reasons. I'm prepared to spend a certain amount of time and a even a little money to ensure that I get my rightful payment. Mind you, there have to be limits and you do have to know when to turn the page and write the debt off. Having said that, the only times I've ever lost any money in nearly 20 years of freelancing (apart from €12.50 that I once told the client to forget) is when clients have filed for bankruptcy and so can't pay. I've always managed to get payment from "won't pay" clients.

I personally would send the client a final reminder written in very formal terms (if in English, Google for "final demand"). Not by email but on paper, sent by registered post to their company's registered address, which should be the one on the invoice. That will cost you little in time or money. No need to explain anything; just refer to the invoice that is now overdue and state what action you will take if full payment has not been received by a certain date. That action will presumably be to call in a debt recovery company or to initiate a claim through the courts. The first is only likely to happen if the sum involved is big enough to interest a company - i.e. unlikely in this case. The feasibility of the second depends on where your client is and what's available. If you're both in Azerbaijan, maybe there's a small claims court that costs very little? Just providing evidence of having contacted them may prove enough to convince the client to pay. It may not be worth your while taking it any further.


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