Poll: Have you ever proofread a translation of which you did not have to change a word?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:18
SITE STAFF
Jun 29, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever proofread a translation of which you did not have to change a word?".

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Voice Jun 29, 2010

Unless a translation is 100% technical I think there is always an element of "voice" in a translation. Therefore, while I may recognise that a translation is completely acceptable on proof reading, I would still feel inclined to tweak the odd word into my own voice - although I try to resist this temptation.

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Richard Boulter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
I see the point above ... but Jun 29, 2010

While I agree that points of style will always vary among writers, and translators are after all writers, I will often leave the original translator's style. I have proofed and back-translated many pieces and projects by now, and have worked on many professional translations that were excellently done (that IS our product, after all ). As long as the original translation actually says what the source text says, in the right way, I won't even change a comma. This is both an ethical service to my own client (or client agency) in terms of feedback on his language service provider and a professional courtesy to my colleague. There is a certain amount of scholarly good will involved, too. Nothing is more gratifying than receiving back excellent work with the hearty approbation of a colleague, who is qualified to say, "this was really a good job!"

[Edited at 2010-06-29 11:53 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:18
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
... for a colleague who has now retired Jun 29, 2010

Richard Boulter wrote:

While I agree that points of style will always vary among writers, and translators are after all writers, I will often leave the original translator's style. As long as the original translation actually says what the source text says, in the right way, I won't even change a comma. ...


I have a particular colleague in mind, who has now retired.
She was Danish, translating into English, and my job was to cast a pair of native eyes over her work.

She was the humble type who would ask about passages she had found difficult, and sometimes I made suggestions that she accepted. On other occasions I could not come up with anything better than her wording. I did make a few changes as a rule, but not many, and several times I called or mailed to say there were no changes necessary. I learnt a lot from her, and hope she is enjoying her retirement. (We are still in touch, though not as frequently as when we she was working.)

I also hope there are more of her sort still active - a wonderful friend and mentor. I was not the only one to benefit from her help and guidance.





[Edited at 2010-06-29 20:59 GMT]


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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:18
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
sadly no Jun 29, 2010

I think there is a tendency for some outsourcers to get a translation done 'on the cheap' and then try to get someone competent to 'proofread' (i.e. virtually rewrite) it, which IMHO is to be deplored. This is the sort of proofreading work that I am increasingly minded to turn down.

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Uwe Steinmann
Ireland
Local time: 13:18
English to German
no, but I'm quite new and so far did not proof-read a quality translation Jun 29, 2010

Oliver Lawrence wrote:

I think there is a tendency for some outsourcers to get a translation done 'on the cheap' and then try to get someone competent to 'proofread' (i.e. virtually rewrite) it, which IMHO is to be deplored. This is the sort of proofreading work that I am increasingly minded to turn down.


For that reason my rates for proofreading vary alot, depending on the quality of the translation.


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 08:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jun 29, 2010

These are mainly medical questionnaires, which have to be very precise and require a very high quality control. Sometimes the documents have already been proofread by one or two translators, and I happen to be the 2nd or 3rd proofreader. In most cases the translations are error-free.

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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:18
French to German
+ ...
Yes,... Jun 29, 2010

rarely, though. I don't feel the need to impose my own style upon another person's work just to proof my worth as a proofreader.

However, I agree with Oliver - there is a tendency towards very cheap translations which frequently go hand in hand with appaling quality.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:18
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 29, 2010

The excellent work of one translator, working from Portuguese to English, whose work I revise quite regularly for an agency in Lisbon, can often be left unchanged.

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Fernando Tognis  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:18
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jun 29, 2010

I have proofread three or four excellent translations which needed only a few changes and suggestions. It is a pleasure to read documents showing a great translation quality. In fact, as other colleagues mentioned above, when proofreading an excellent work, we might have opportunities to learn from the translator.
Proofreaders sometimes feel guilty for not being able to improve a document which is almost perfect; however, this feeling vanishes as soon as we deliver the proofread document along with some lines congratulating the translator for a good job.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jun 29, 2010

but I understand and agree it can happen. I remember one document I only changed at one point, and that was, in fact to make the text conform more to the style of the translator. (She agreed, too).

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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I'm still hoping for this one Jun 29, 2010

I have often been asked to fix a bad text, either a poor translation or a text written in English by a non-native speaker. I have stopped assuming that all translators will *at least* get the numbers right in a technical piece, I have seen that error too many times.

I also occassionally proofread for fluency, and in those cases the corrections are minimal.


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Anita du Plessis  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 15:18
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, medical work Jun 29, 2010

I do the final proofreading for some medical questionnaires and usually I am the third person looking at it. Sometimes I still pick up some small mistakes, which just show we are all human and inclined to read over mistakes. (Especially our own mistakes)

Mostly I am happy to report that the translation is of high quality and free of mistakes.

As clinical trials are so important, we go through everything with a magnifying glass!

Sometimes I cannot leave a proofreading and read it again and again, and usually something will come up....


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:18
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes Jun 30, 2010

but very rarely...
I recently proofread a small job that was actually a localization. I had to make sure it was all in CA or UK english and as it turned out, nothing needed to be changed and there were no other errors. Maybe one punctuation change.


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Poll: Have you ever proofread a translation of which you did not have to change a word?

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