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Client requesting proof-reading of my already proof-read work for free
Thread poster: Sarai73
Nov 27

Hi all, I'm not sure about the procedure here, and would love some feedback.

I recently got a new client, whom I'm doing continuous work for, but it involves fairly complicated texts that have already been translated into English, from a source language that is inherently different to English. This shows in the English text, as many sentences are very long winded and frankly confusing, with many different grammatical tenses thrown together in the same sentence. The client (naturall
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Hi all, I'm not sure about the procedure here, and would love some feedback.

I recently got a new client, whom I'm doing continuous work for, but it involves fairly complicated texts that have already been translated into English, from a source language that is inherently different to English. This shows in the English text, as many sentences are very long winded and frankly confusing, with many different grammatical tenses thrown together in the same sentence. The client (naturally) wants the translations to flow naturally, whilst at the same time not missing out anything essential from the ''source'' text (ie English translation). We are many translators collaborating on this project and we all proof-read each other's work. So far so good and standard.

What's new to me, however, is that the client then wants us to go through our proof-read translations and accept (or not) the changes that have been made. I have previously done this whilst working with subtitles, but the process there is so much quicker and already established. As these texts are very complex, they are bound to throw up lots of issues with the proof-readers (I don't think I've come across a single straightforward translation myself, when I'm doing the proof-reading), and there is a just a lot question marks for everyone involved. I'm not sure if there is any established hierarchy among the proof-readers, ie if some have more experience than others; I have said to the client that I don't mind taking instructions from people who know what they're talking about. I'm however not sure that everybody does, because there doesn't seem to be any consensus of what's accepted or not in these translations (although the client has tried to establish some guidelines) - one person says one thing, which the next one then disapproves of. To go through these varied comments and corrections after the translation (which are cumbersome in themselves) has just proved incredibly time consuming. I know you've probably already guessed my question (sorry this is long!): am I actually ''supposed'' to do this for free?

Yesterday I spent two hours just going through the comments on one 2500 word piece - and they weren't even that many! I know I should probably just decide not to spend too much time on this, but I'm not wired that way - and the client has stated that this is supposed to be a ''collaborative'' project between translators and proofers, so they are clearly expecting some substance.

But I just don't have time. I feel like I'm working for a very low rate indeed (0,080 USD)/word if the proof of the proof is not included.

Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Thank you!
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Proofreading Nov 27

Hello,

proofreading is charge by the hour.

That you client wants you to proofread a text is okay. What is confusing is that your client wants you to accept or decline the changes you yourself have made to the text. Usually this is being done by another proofreader.

If your client has no complaints about the text you have already proofread, then going over it again is a new assignment and should, therefore, be paid for.

On a side note, it seems
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Hello,

proofreading is charge by the hour.

That you client wants you to proofread a text is okay. What is confusing is that your client wants you to accept or decline the changes you yourself have made to the text. Usually this is being done by another proofreader.

If your client has no complaints about the text you have already proofread, then going over it again is a new assignment and should, therefore, be paid for.

On a side note, it seems likely that the translation you have first proofread could be, at least partially, MT.
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Xueyang Niu
 
Proofreading Nov 27

Hello,

proofreading is charge by the hour.

That you client wants you to proofread a text is okay. What is confusing is that your client wants you to accept or decline the changes you yourself have made to the text. Usually this is being done by another proofreader.

If your client has no complaints about the text you have already proofread, then going over it again is a new assignment and should, therefore, be paid for.

On a side note, it seems
... See more
Hello,

proofreading is charge by the hour.

That you client wants you to proofread a text is okay. What is confusing is that your client wants you to accept or decline the changes you yourself have made to the text. Usually this is being done by another proofreader.

If your client has no complaints about the text you have already proofread, then going over it again is a new assignment and should, therefore, be paid for.

On a side note, it seems likely that the translation you have first proofread could be, at least partially, MT.
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Sarai73
TOPIC STARTER
To make clear Nov 27

Sorry if I wasn't clear Thayenga:

What I'm referring to is being requested to accept or reject the comments that the proof-reader has done of my own translation. Which would be fine (and I've done this when working with subtitles) if it weren't for the very time consuming nature of these texts (ie the standard of the source) as well as the very varied interpretations by the various proof-readers. The client wants this to be an in-depth ''discussion'' between translator and proofer -
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Sorry if I wasn't clear Thayenga:

What I'm referring to is being requested to accept or reject the comments that the proof-reader has done of my own translation. Which would be fine (and I've done this when working with subtitles) if it weren't for the very time consuming nature of these texts (ie the standard of the source) as well as the very varied interpretations by the various proof-readers. The client wants this to be an in-depth ''discussion'' between translator and proofer - which I'm not paid for.

I also don't charge proofs by the hour, but by word. Do you charge by the hour?

Thayenga wrote:

Hello,

proofreading is charge by the hour.

That you client wants you to proofread a text is okay. What is confusing is that your client wants you to accept or decline the changes you yourself have made to the text. Usually this is being done by another proofreader.

If your client has no complaints about the text you have already proofread, then going over it again is a new assignment and should, therefore, be paid for.

On a side note, it seems likely that the translation you have first proofread could be, at least partially, MT.
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It's a positive thing Nov 27

Most translators (myself included) see it as a positive thing to be given that final say.

I don't think it is an unusual process. Several of my clients work like this and it generally works well. If the reviewer's changes are ok, you can simply accept them. If they introduce an error or you feel strongly against making a particular change then reject the change and give a short reason. I wouldn't go into too much detail (and most of the time it is not necessary to go into much detai
... See more
Most translators (myself included) see it as a positive thing to be given that final say.

I don't think it is an unusual process. Several of my clients work like this and it generally works well. If the reviewer's changes are ok, you can simply accept them. If they introduce an error or you feel strongly against making a particular change then reject the change and give a short reason. I wouldn't go into too much detail (and most of the time it is not necessary to go into much detail).

If there are too many preferential changes (ie. changes which don't correct an actual error and just change rather than improve the text) then you need to raise that as a problem. Because that wastes your time and shouldn't happen. You certainly can't be expected to proofread a completely rewritten text.

Sarai73 wrote:
The client wants this to be an in-depth ''discussion'' between translator and proofer - which I'm not paid for.


Then you need to make sure you are paid for it. Either by factoring it into your translation rate or by agreeing on a separate charge for this final check.
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Philippe Etienne
Sarai73
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Teresa Borges
Vera Schoen
Fausto Machado Tiemann
 
All fine and well... to a point Nov 27

I have worked for agencies where they ask translators to look at the changes made by the proofreader, and accept or reject them. Which I find a bit irritating, because it's not like my name is going on the document, and in any case the proofreader should be able to judge for themselves if a change should be made or not. That said, I can see the logic of this process and generally comply.

Your case, however, is a little more complex, and I think you need to set some ground rules. I w
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I have worked for agencies where they ask translators to look at the changes made by the proofreader, and accept or reject them. Which I find a bit irritating, because it's not like my name is going on the document, and in any case the proofreader should be able to judge for themselves if a change should be made or not. That said, I can see the logic of this process and generally comply.

Your case, however, is a little more complex, and I think you need to set some ground rules. I would point out the exorbitant amount you're needing to spend on these texts due to their complexity and to the fact that no real rules have been established as to what should be changed.

The service you are being asked to perform can be part of standard agency operating procedure, but your rates have to reflect the work each individual agency asks you to do. I recently stopped working for an agency because the rates they were offering weren't that great for what I was generally required to do on their projects.
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Sarai73
Fausto Machado Tiemann
 
. Nov 27

Some clients believe that translators should be able to do this task very quickly, and thus, for free (i.e. included in the rate). But accepting/rejecting edits takes a lot of time, and unless I have time to spare, I simply refuse to do this.

Essentially, the client is not 100% sure about their proofreader and they want you to double-check his/her work. This is extra work! If they don't trust their proofreader, they should get a different proofreader. I know that some clients wa
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Some clients believe that translators should be able to do this task very quickly, and thus, for free (i.e. included in the rate). But accepting/rejecting edits takes a lot of time, and unless I have time to spare, I simply refuse to do this.

Essentially, the client is not 100% sure about their proofreader and they want you to double-check his/her work. This is extra work! If they don't trust their proofreader, they should get a different proofreader. I know that some clients want to give the translator the final say in things, but actually that is just more work for the translator (especially if the translator can't contact the proofreader to ask him beforehand "how would you like me to translate so that we can reduce the amount of edits" or explain to him why you do this or that).

When I do do this, I let myself be lead by whether the proofreader answers to me or whether I answer to the proofreader (i.e. who has the client's ear). If the proofreader has the client's ear, I simply accept all edits except for edits that introduce errors. I turn on tracked changes, then (without accepting or rejecting any existing edits) I make edits in places where doing "accept all changes" would result in an error, and then finally I "accept all changes". If I have the client's ear, I usually reject all edits except for those that actually fix a blunder that I had made. I manually accept all the edits that I want to accept, and then I use "reject all changes" to reject all the rest.



[Edited at 2019-11-27 12:39 GMT]
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Stephanie Bohnerth
Philippe Etienne
Sarai73
 
Post-editing? Nov 27

On a side note, you may wish to edit your topic's title. Post-editing is something different than what the activity you describe.

 
Post-editing Nov 27

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

On a side note, you may wish to edit your topic's title. Post-editing is something different than what the activity you describe.


You are right of course but from the description I get the impression that the original 'translation' may have been a machine translation to begin with. Several rounds of reviewing and re-reviewing may well be necessary to turn an atrocious machine translation into flowing English, as long as the reviewers are paid for their time.


 
Stick to your contractual agreement Dec 2

Just do whatever you have agreed with your client BEFORE starting the assignment. Presumably, you have discussed the assignment and agreed what your job is for the fee you have agreed on. If the client then asks you to do anything beyond that, make them aware that this is extra work and negotiate a new deal/rate.

Having 'the last say' in a translation that has been proofread by another professional linguist could be seen as a courtesy, especially if it is a translation that will ca
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Just do whatever you have agreed with your client BEFORE starting the assignment. Presumably, you have discussed the assignment and agreed what your job is for the fee you have agreed on. If the client then asks you to do anything beyond that, make them aware that this is extra work and negotiate a new deal/rate.

Having 'the last say' in a translation that has been proofread by another professional linguist could be seen as a courtesy, especially if it is a translation that will carry your name. But all assignments are different.

So, back to basics: Do whatever you have committed yourself to, but don't let your client add extra (unpaid) work to your load, claiming that this is 'standard practice' in the translation world. There is no such thing...
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Client requesting proof-reading of my already proof-read work for free

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