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Poll: Are you usually 100% satisfied with your final translation?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 18:02
Oct 4, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you usually 100% satisfied with your final translation?".

This poll was originally submitted by Lisa McCreadie. View the poll results »


Patricia Charnet
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:02
English to French
good question Oct 4, 2010

even answering the poll was not easy. Most of the times I'm happy but not 100% satisfied with the document - mainly due to time constraints.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 4, 2010

Sometimes just satisfied.
Usually"quite" satisfied.
Often "very" satisfied.
Occasionally 99% satisified (100% seems a rather swingeing score).

I usually prefer not to see revised/proofed versions of my translations, as I get angry if I do not agree with the changes. However, I have occasionally seen texts that I had consided "good to go" enhanced by competent proofers, perhaps simply by a neater turn of phrase or vocabulary item, so I think we can never be 100% satisfied.

I am usually "reasonably" satisfied with my own work, however it is easy to fall into hackneyed phrases or business jargon, especially if the source material is not terribly well drafted (par for the course).

I think most decent translators make a bit of effort to do the best they can, but this may not always be enough, especially with the pressure of deadlines and the generally poor quality of source material.

Caveat emptor!


Ioanna Orfanoudaki  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
French to Greek
+ ...
The translator's curse! Oct 4, 2010

... never 100% satisfied, always looking for better ways of saying it!
(though, I obviously only send my work out when I'm reasonably happy with the resulticon_wink.gif )


Jaime Hyland  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Like a piece of software ... Oct 4, 2010

... and what they say about software is that it is never finished, just abandoned at a particular point in the development process.

Software has the advantage that the process is iterative (before the release is after the release).

This is not usually the case with translations.


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
Member (2008)
English to Italian
no Oct 4, 2010

everything can be improved, well when you have a different pressure, different deadline, I mean under different condition. So my translation are sent when I am satisfied with my work, but sometimes I think about them and say: "well that could have been done differently!"


Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
it has to be "no' Oct 4, 2010

I find it impossible to be completely satisfied.

If time allows, I can go on tweaking until the cows come home. Sometimes a great phrase comes to mind in the dead of night, which is why I like mid-morning deadlines which allow me to revise a translation with a fresh eye.

It is the same with one's own writing. You have to know when to stop. But of course, with most translations, when to stop is set by someone else.

Having said that, I never submit a translation until I am reasonably satisfied that I have done a very good job.


Chun Un  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Never, Oct 4, 2010

because perfection does not exist! And to me 100% satisfaction means perfection. icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2010-10-04 10:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-10-04 14:20 GMT]


Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
+ ...
I said yes, because Oct 4, 2010

I never turn in a translation UNLESS I am 100% satisfied with it. This doesn't mean I have the luxury of no or soft deadlines. It just means I stick with it (even if it means losing sleep) until I AM satisfied. I've also learned to not take on jobs that I won't be able to do a good job on and complete to my (picky) satisfaction.

That said, you know what they say: no two translators translate a text in exactly the same way. Sometimes I feel not even the same translator will translate a text in the same way… Once in a while I look back at something I've translated and find that now (even if it's only a few days or weeks later) I might translate it a bit differently. Like Gilla said, "I can go on tweaking until the cows come home." And like Ioanna said, "always looking for better ways of saying it." But generally I do find there comes a point at which I am completely satisfied with my work.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Oct 4, 2010

Gianluca Marras wrote:

So my translation are sent when I am satisfied with my work, but sometimes I think about them and say: "well that could have been done differently!"

I only send translations out when I'm happy with them to about 90%. If there's still time for a reread, then I will do this...however, a translation is never perfect because there's always a word, a sentence structure that sounds better, so that the actual editing work is never done.

It also depends on the type of translation, on a specific field. Literary translations will never satisfy 100 %. And there's always the change of "over-editing" a text.icon_smile.gif


Local time: 03:02
Italian to German
+ ...
Never 100% Oct 4, 2010

A translation is not an exact science, so even if satisfied with my work I can never be sure not to propose a better translation in the future.
The practical problem is that with so severe timelines, you just find the time to do the necessary quality controls, nothing more.
Reading your own text again and again doesn't give you an objective insight of your work, and even if you like it, parts of it may be plain wrong.
In fact, it may happen that days after my translation delivery I'm going to propose and send a new version of my work with corrected topics after reading it again in a non-biaised environement.


[Edited at 2010-10-04 12:16 GMT]


Anna Muntean Stacanova
United States
Local time: 21:02
Russian to English
+ ...
Hardly ever, unless it is a rare case - one word translation project. Oct 4, 2010

"A translator is also translating a work in progress, one that has a beginning, middle and end but is not exactly finished, even though it’s being published."

Cool article in NY Times:


Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely Oct 4, 2010

Else, I wouldn't dare to deliver it!

I am amazed of the large number of people who are not satisfied with their final translations. How can they work like this, then?!?!?

[Edited at 2010-10-04 16:12 GMT]


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:02
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It depends on your approach Oct 4, 2010

Cristina Heraud-van Tol wrote:

Else, I wouldn't dare to deliver it!

I am amazed of the large number of people who are not satisfied with their final translations. How can they work like this, then?!?!?

[Edited at 2010-10-04 14:34 GMT]

I never deliver a job unless I am 100% satisfied it is fit for purpose.

But there are many occasions when I wish I could have found a neater way of putting this or that, researched a little more into the background... depending on the job, some kind of improvement is always possible in theory. And those two-liners are the worst!

At times I too could go on editing for ever if I did not have deadlines and more jobs in the in-tray! Nothing in this world is perfect, but I make sure clients get the best I can do each time.



Laura Bissio CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
can anydody tell me what a 100% satisfaction is? Oct 4, 2010

I can't imagine anything on earth with which I could be 100% satisfied! As Chu Un said "100% satisfaction is perfection" and it doesn't exist.

I answered "other" because I thought maybe the actual question was "are you reasonably satisfied with your final translation?" and then I'd say Yes, otherwise it's not "final". But if 100% satisfaction is really ment, then I must say NO, since improvement is always possible.

[Edited at 2010-10-04 18:25 GMT]

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