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Poll: When you find (a) typo(s) in the source text, do you warn your client?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:21
SITE STAFF
Feb 2, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When you find (a) typo(s) in the source text, do you warn your client?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anne-Sophie Cardinal. View the poll results »



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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:21
German to English
+ ...
Depends Feb 2, 2011

on whether the original is going into print or is otherwise intended to be presented to the public and serve as reflection on the client. If only my translation is to be used, which is often the case, then obviously I don't bother. What is more problematic is errors in an original that was not created by my client (e.g. a judge delivering his/her ruling) that make it impossible to understand what the person meant. And occasionally in such a text I come across typos that are obviously a distortion of the meaning (for instance the omission of the word "not"). What should I do? - it is clear that this was a mistake (the judgement wouldn't make sense), but it is in a formal document. I usually add a comment in my translation that there is obviously a mistake.

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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 06:21
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
It's my job Feb 2, 2011

Some texts are full of errors. Don't worry I translate only into my native tongue (Turkish). Therefore i can see what the source text refer/mean.



Anadolu'dan selamlar
Saludos desde Anatolia

[Edited at 2011-02-02 10:23 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:21
French to German
+ ...
Always... Feb 2, 2011

My principle is that documents are made to be read, be it in print or on screen. Typos in the source text don't look well either way. And I have found that dates, figures etc. (which have a great importance in the texts I usually translate) are very often subject to "typoism".

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keshab  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:51
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
It depends on the context Feb 2, 2011

which may be clear to understand or not. If it is clear, no need to interrupt client and also myself who is busy to meet the deadline. But sometimes context is not much clear to explain the typos and that case I have to take clarification from the client but it is not 'warning' to him. 'The doctor asked about his favor'- I must have a doubt whether the word be 'favor' or 'fever'. In this case client will explain what the actual word is. I always try to do my translation typos-free, but have no headache about the source text until interruption to my work.

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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:21
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Virtually always Feb 2, 2011

If the source text was written by the client, then they will probably want to know (so that they can avoid getting themselves a reputation for producing duff texts with typos in them).

If it is not clear what the correct version should have been (eg if it could potentially be a typo for more than one thing), then I flag it up just to be sure that I translate it correctly.

And even if none of the above apply, it makes me look good with the client and gives them the confidence that they have a thorough translator, which makes them more likely to come back to me if they need something else translated.

That said, there may be some circumstances in which I wouldn't, that I can't think of off the top of my head, hence 'virtually always'.



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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:21
English to French
+ ...
Always Feb 2, 2011

Sometimes, when the EN or ES version is to be used by my client for a presentation or a quote in a journal, for instance : I edit the original version if necessary (and inform my client).

Otherwise, if it is already printed and published, such as medical literature, reference texts, etc. I insert a "translators's note" in order to inform the client that there was a mistake/typo in the original document.

About real mistakes (not only typos), in the past it happened that I corrected straight out some erroneous statements; for instance, in a manual for medical students the author had mixed bacteriae and viruses and I had to re-do that classification, or in a clinical study report I realized that the whole statistics calculations were wrong, re-did the calculations and alerted my client, who in turn alerted the clinical research coordinator.

In medical, the worse happens with the agencies in charge of the promotion of the drugs : They have nearly no medical knowledge and can write real nonsenses. It is both an opportunity for a big laugh and a pain because we have to re-write the text in French, in order to give it a more "medical" content

I think it's a part of our job.
Have a nice day
Catherine


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 05:21
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
At least highlight Feb 2, 2011

If I have the capacity to edit the source text, I will normally highlight the typo, and then decide later on whether to inform the client, when I have all the typos marked.

The disparity in "degree of gratefulness" when I do inform the client is great: from silence, via subtle indication that the information was not gratefully received, through to effusive thanks. But I have learned to shrug off all but the latter, and bask in the latter (coming into translation from teaching you have to learn to enjoy the rare thank yous and "weight" the negative things into their real perspective).


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Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:21
English to French
+ ...
Yes !! Feb 2, 2011

aceavila - Noni wrote:


The disparity in "degree of gratefulness" when I do inform the client is great: from silence, via subtle indication that the information was not gratefully received, through to effusive thanks. But I have learned to shrug off all but the latter, and bask in the latter (coming into translation from teaching you have to learn to enjoy the rare thank yous and "weight" the negative things into their real perspective).


YES !! I totally agree

Catherine


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:21
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
What's the difference between "yes sometimes" and "it depends"? Feb 2, 2011

If it depends on sth. than most likely "yes sometimes" is true as well, isn't it?

Stanislaw


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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Usually Feb 2, 2011

There might not be much point if the text was published a long time ago, but I'll still mark up my own copy at least.

Otherwise, I find most clients are grateful when I draw typos to their attention before the texts are printed or go live on a website. Ambiguities also show up during translation, so I generally (diplomatically) draw attention to these too. For some clients, I suppose I "test run" their text. It's all part of the job.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends Feb 2, 2011

... on whether I think the client a) cares in the first place; b) will pay any attention and do something about it. If it is being published somewhere in Spanish then I may inform them, or provide a "fe de errata".
More than typos, out-and-out howlers often appear with the spread of Google translate and similar gadgetry. I was quietly amused yesterday to find the Mexican SAT (Hacienda) website has FIEL ( Firma Electrónica Avanzada) blithely translated as "Faithful"...
The state of many source texts I get is quite disheartening at times. I find that many writers are seemingly incapable of even copying a word from one text or language into another. Another client systematically ignores my pleas for them to run a spellcheck on their Spanish before sending it off to be translated... and don't let me get started on punctuation...


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:21
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Other Feb 2, 2011

I don't usually mention typos unless I can't understand what the word is supposed to be...most of the time it's pretty obvious. But if the error is a more serious one, where a wrong word or name is used, for instance, then I mention it.

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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 00:21
No Feb 2, 2011

Most English documents I translate are written by Germans. There are all types of mistakes, and typos are only the most harmless form among them.

Bin Tiede


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Richard Boulter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
With NielMac & Oliver, 'It Depends'. Feb 2, 2011

There are various possible responses when one finds faulty source text, depending on the situation. Particularly with high-volume, short-turnaround projects in which an agency's project manager is corresponding with more translators than he/she can actually manage and/or may have already collapsed out-of-contact to get some rest, him/herself, my response to a problem may be to follow the most-basic translator rule and I translate exactly, but with the word (SIC) after the error:

"El importe del pago inicial es de USD $1.200,00 (doce mil dolares de EE.UU.) ..."
= "The amount of the downpayment shall be twelve thousand dollars, currency of the United States of America (USD $1,200.00) [sic]."

In a couple of cases, the PM got back to me asking why there were SICs all over in the translation, when a glance at the source would have told them why. Incidentally, that was only a couple of times; usually they don't even notice on that particular sort of assignment, which I actually seldom take.


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