Poll: Are most of your clients proficient in your target language(s)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:05
Feb 25, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are most of your clients proficient in your target language(s)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Pompeo Lattanzi

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629

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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Readers Feb 25, 2009

I translate mostly into English. Over time, most of my clients have stopped using English-Spanish translations, except for user manuals and system documentation they need to distribute to customers or the general public.

Chilean professionals have become increasingly good at reading English, but they are not able to compose business correspondence or reports. So, except for contracts, which they need to understand thoroughly, I hardly ever get to write in my native language

Happy translating, guys!

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Anita du Plessis  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 03:05
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, Afrikaans not that well known outside S.A. Feb 25, 2009

No, but Afrikaans being the youngest Germanic language, has started attracting quite a bit of attention and a few overseas countries actually started offering courses in Afrikaans. My overseas clients do not know Afrikaans and in a sense I feel sorry for them. They have to trust me completely if there is not a proofreader and editor involved.

I therefore try my utmost not to make mistakes and usually proofread my work many times before submitting.

As one client jokingly said "it's all Greek to him!" (He was a Russian).

Locally most people are bilingual, with a good knowledge of both Afrikaans and English.

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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:05
English to Japanese
+ ...
Japanese is getting attention for the past few years, Feb 25, 2009

but still no. I have to proofread the final text when converted to PDF all the time, and if there is a sentence missing or needs corrections, such as layout, I have to proofread, since my clients do not read nor understand Japanese. It would be much easier if they understood Japanese, or use a DTP specialist who understands Japanese.

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 21:05
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Puerto Rico is unique. Feb 25, 2009

In Puerto Rico, nearly everyone has some knowledge of both English and Spanish. Most of my clients are in the academic world, and they routinely read and do research in their fields in both languages (and often German, French, Italian, and others as well). They may not be able to write English like a native speaker, but they are very familiar with the literature in their fields. That's fabulous for me, because they can help me not only with terminology, but also with "saying it the way a historian/economist/psychologist/etc. would say it."

The final draft of almost all of my work is done in close collaboration with the client. I love it!

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Yes. Is this good or bad??? Feb 25, 2009

Everybody speaks English

Or Danglish, Swenglish, Denglish, Globish...

Sometimes clients call and ask me why I have not used the expression in their little red dictionary, or the intrusive English expression they have inserted in the source language to 'help' me...

Very often I can explain that I have a better expression in my big blue thesaurus or my specialist dictionary, and the client is happy to have learnt something.

On other occasions I can get the client to help. They may not write perfect English grammar, but they know their own professional jargon and cen help me with terminology.

I'm lucky, because, compared with colleagues working in some languages, I have masses of resources at my fingertips.

I take my hat off to those who almost have to write their own dictionaries as they work.

Happy translating, folks!

[Edited at 2009-02-25 16:30 GMT]

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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
English to Turkish
No - Turkish Feb 25, 2009

Most of my clients cannot even say my name correctly

But, I have to admit that I don't envy Christine for this one

Yes. Everybody speaks English

Or Danglish, Swenglish, Denglish, Globish...

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
They are now! Feb 25, 2009

Are most of my clients proficient in my target language(s)? They are now!

They are now because I got rid of the ones who weren’t. Over the years, I’ve discovered that agencies and clients I work for who have native English speakers correcting my work are happy with me and give me continual work. On the other hand, the agencies who don’t have native speakers were always questioning my work. I’d send in the project and the next thing I knew, I’d be getting a zillion phone calls or barrages of emails with questions like, “Why did you say it like that” or “Why did you use that word? In my English class we learned…”

One agency even made me an offer I almost couldn’t refuse: I could connect to messenger after I sent the project so I could answer all of their “doubts” about the text. (In my experience there was absolutely nothing wrong with the text, it was nearly always an excuse for them to get free English classes out of me.) Actually, in that particular case, after I turned down their ever-so-tempting offer, they dropped me like a hot potato. Needless to say, I couldn’t have been happier.

[Edited at 2009-02-25 19:38 GMT]

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Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:05
French to English
other - maybe not as proficient as they think they are Feb 25, 2009

About half my agency clients are run by native English speakers and half by native French speakers. I very rarely work for agencies anyplace other than the US, UK, Canada or France, so I don't deal with native speakers of any other language. And yes, some of the native French speakers have suggested changes to my text that really aren't wise. I politely suggest that they leave it the way I had it, with a linguistic explanation, but what else can you do?

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
No - Dutch Feb 25, 2009

No, my clients usually don't speak Dutch.

In fact, they have all at some point asked me to assess the quality of translations into Dutch by other translators or to evaluate client's complaints about certain translations, since they are not able to.

This can be really awkward - I sometimes get the impression they judge the quality of a translation by the number of changes/comments proofreaders have added.
A few are so smart as to require an evaluation with clarification/classification of the corrections, because - as they admitted to me - 'we don't have a clue'.

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Barbara Turchetto  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Member (2008)
German to Italian
+ ...
Not always! Feb 26, 2009

I generally translate into my native language (Italian) but when the source language is Italian I must admit that I sometimes have to ask for explanations because the message in Italian is not so clear and (even worse!) I have to correct grammar or spelling mistakes!

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Catherine Shepherd  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
:-) Feb 26, 2009

Christine Andersen wrote:

Sometimes clients call and ask me why I have not used the expression in their little red dictionary, or the intrusive English expression they have inserted in the source language to 'help' me...

Very often I can explain that I have a better expression in my big blue thesaurus or my specialist dictionary, and the client is happy to have learnt something.

This reminds me of when I teach English in summer and some of my German students say I'm wrong because I don't agree with their little yellow pocket dictionary, which tends to have strange translations - e.g. according to this dictionary, 'gravy' is 'soup', and for the life of me I couldn't convince them you don't eat gravy like soup. Maybe I should have let them try... (!)

Sometimes you just have to think, 'Whatever... I know I'm right!'

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