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Poll: Is it the translator's duty to submit the translation in the same format as the original?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:28
SITE STAFF
Aug 12, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is it the translator's duty to submit the translation in the same format as the original?".

This poll was originally submitted by Sinan Evcan. View the poll results »



 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
It is a matter of agreement Aug 12, 2011

The format in which the translation is to be submitted is a matter to be agreed between the translator and the client. However, in the absence of agreement on the issue, it is good practice for the translator to submit the translation in the same format as that in which the original was received.

 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member
German to English
+ ...
It depends Aug 12, 2011

The translator's duty is primarily to translate (funnily enough!) and if files for translation are submitted in electronic format, retaining the original format and layout is rarely an issue. The problem arises when files are in forms which cannot be edited, such as PDFs or hard copy. In these instances, it is up to the translator to make an effort to make it clear to the client which translation refers to which areas of text, without, however, spending hours over layout work.

I've just noticed the question refers to format, not layout. In terms of file format, I'd always return the translation in the format requested, which often isn't the same format as the original.


 

Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes, if format is not too sophisticated Aug 12, 2011

Yes, if basic knowledge of MS Office is sufficient to keep the format right.

 

Cathy Przybylski  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:28
Member (2010)
German to French
+ ...
it depends Aug 12, 2011

When the source text is a facsimile, we have to create a good layout, so that the target file looks like the source file. But if the fax contains pictures or diagrams, we have to agree with the customer as far as the picture scanning are concerned.

 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:28
French to English
Yes Aug 12, 2011

Yes, but only for editable files. Pdfs and scanned documents (which I never accept!) should be discussed on a case by case basis with the client.

 

Vitali Stanisheuski
Belarus
Local time: 14:28
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
For texts like those in MS Word Aug 12, 2011

and other editable format, it should be quite obvious that they should be translated by overwriting the original, thus retaining format, layout etc. It's not a challenging job to do so but, unfortunately, newbies can make a translation from scratch in a newly created file and ignore the format or recreate it incorrectly, remove hyperlinks etc!

For such texts, it should be an obvious obligation to retain formatting.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Not if the source is handwritten... Aug 12, 2011

At least my handwriting is legible. icon_biggrin.gif
I once regularly received barely-legible handwritten texts from a distinguished artist-designer, and had them read aloud over the phone so that I knew what I was working with.

I delivered the translation as Word files. The client paid for my time, and I enjoyed the assignment, although it was highly technical. But it was fun discussing the terminology too, and I learnt a lot.

When asked to translate scanned forms and medical records, where patients or others have filled in sections by hand, I show this witrh italics as a rule, or agree with the client on formatting.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:28
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Aug 12, 2011

Sometimes the client submits a PDF file and request that the translation be delivered in Word format.

If the original arrives in an unedible file format, e. g. a scanned document, then the translator should discuss the final delivery format.

Just recently I've received a scanned, official document (pdf) and the delivery format was MS Word, but...it was supposed to look exactly like the official document. The translation went well, but the formatting of the Word file to meet the governmental original took forever - and led to the decision that I will never to this again.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:28
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
It depends Aug 12, 2011

It depends on the format. If it is too complicated it may be subject to DTP services, with additional charges per page or hour.

I have recently signed an agreement with a translation agency and they require all the translations to be submitted in .doc format and the text to be written with Times New Roman, 12.

It is not so difficult to keep the same format if working with CAT tools. For scanned .pdf or .jpg files translators should charge extra.


 

Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I voted "it depends" Aug 12, 2011

Recently I was invited to do a large translation for which I had to make a time/price estimate, based on what the client indicated in the e-mail mesage.

After accepting my estimate, -for straightforward translation-, the client sent me the originals. Lo and behold, I received a very large PDF file and a small Excel file, with clear instructions that I should return a Word and Excel document strictly in the same layout as the originals, including official stamps, etc. (the stamps should also be translated).

Of course, that meant I had to spend many hours doing DTP work to produce the required documents.

Why do outsourcers act like that?
Why don't they come out straight, and explain exactly what is required -or even send the originals- before any estimating is done?


Needless to say, my original and approved estimate were nowhere near the final cost/value of all the work involved. Also, needless to say, from now on I need to see all the original texts before making any estimates.

Hoping this will serve as a "what not to do" example for others.

Have a great day out thereicon_smile.gif

Nigel.

[Edited at 2011-08-12 12:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-08-12 12:49 GMT]


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:28
Member (2006)
German to English
No! Aug 12, 2011

We are translators and if the format is a load of rubbish, we are not paid to correct everything that other people are not capable of in the first place. Why should we correct mistakes other peolple make so that they get the credit for it. Those serious companies provide a "normal" format anyway so, fortunately, it is not much of an issue for me.

 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Aug 12, 2011

Agree if it is a Word document that is simply overwritten, and also agree that the translator has no obligation to create formatting or "sort out the rubbish" for a pdf file, in the absence of a previous agreement to do so.

[Edited at 2011-08-13 04:54 GMT]


 

Danielle Gehrmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Depends... Aug 12, 2011

My rule of thumb has always been to deliver the document to the client in as close to the Source Text format (and layout too) as possible. Yet, there are exceptions. For instance, I'm currently working on several live web pages, which the client and I have agreed will be delivered as a series of Word documents.

I agree with Michael Harris that if the ST format is a "load of rubbish" and you feel as if you're being a bit 'used' as a DTP more so than a translator, then I believe it's up to us to be 'professionally assertive' to avoid any misunderstandings and keep the transaction on a winning wicket.

Thanks, Nigel for sharing your tribulations. We can all learn from those experiences.

Happy translating,

Danielle


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Aug 12, 2011

Not my job mate.

Formatting can be a time-consuming nightmare and my basic rates are for easily workable text only. I do not consider (re)formatting a translation task, so my conditions are made clear to the clients a priori; so far none of them has been willing to stump up the extra cash to cover the extra time involved.

I always find it amusing how when it means saving the client money the Word-compatible or text-only versions come whizzing out of the woodwork...


 
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