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Poll: Can a translation performed by a non-native and proofread by a native be commercially viable?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:25
SITE STAFF
Mar 27, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can a translation performed by a non-native and proofread by a native be commercially viable?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Mar 27, 2012

Although it depends for whom. Perhaps not for an agency or intermediary seeking to maximise their own profits.
However, for freelancers working as a team, it can be - and in my case often is - a worthwhile exercise for the translator, "proofer" and client.

Not sure if I understand the doubters' criteria here. I have a few non-native colleagues (French, Italian and Spanish) who are perfectly capable of doing a very good translation into English requiring only minimal cleanup by me before delivery. The clients gets the job done and is happy (which to me means commercial viability), the translator gets paid and so do I.



[Edited at 2012-03-27 10:01 GMT]


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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:25
German to English
+ ...
Yes, but Mar 27, 2012

it all depends on the skills of both the non-native translator and the native proofreader.

Of course not all translations by native speakers are commercially viable or even acceptable.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:25
German to English
+ ...
Takes too much time Mar 27, 2012

to be profitable (= commercially viable). Unless of course the non-native is really good!

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
Hebrew to English
Too broad Mar 27, 2012

Commercially viable? Yes, but then so is MT in some contexts.

Personally, I don't see how this works out 'commercially' better than translation by a native and proofreading by another native, or any other combination thereof.

It's also not 100% clear what is meant by "commerically viable"...are we talking about profit/how much it costs or about quality, whether it is 'good' enough to compete?

In addition, just because something may be "commerically viable" doesn't make it "commerically preferable".

[Edited at 2012-03-27 08:54 GMT]


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Susana González Tuya
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Mar 27, 2012

As long as the non-native has a good command of their second language and in particular when the source text is of bad quality.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Possible Mar 27, 2012

But why bother? Usually it detracts quality and it almost invariably takes longer.

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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:25
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Existing Mar 27, 2012

Already the name of the game in Eastern Europe and Asia and has been so for decades

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Oriol Vives  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Member (2009)
English to Catalan
+ ...
Yes Mar 27, 2012

... but prepare to (most probably) trans-proofread the whole text again. This is when proofreading may become a refined type of scam.

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Karin Usher
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes... Mar 27, 2012

... but in some circumstances only, for example:

If the non-native translator has excellent command of the subject, then it is perfectly viable, since he/she will be very familiar with terminology. Of course, the translator would have to have very good command of the target language too - good grammar, spelling, punctuation etc - this way a native speaker would be able to proofread the text without much trouble.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Solidarity Mar 27, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:

But why bother? Usually it detracts quality and it almost invariably takes longer.


Why bother? Because otherwise my colleagues would miss out on some work and the client would look elsewhere, and I prefer to keep my valued clients in the fold.

Maybe the quality might suffer in some cases, but not in mine. And if it took any longer than I considered acceptable or was in any way an inconvenience for me, I wouldn't consider it in the first place.


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Andrea Munhoz  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes... Mar 27, 2012

Let's not forget there are native-like among translators as well

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Of course it can Mar 27, 2012

Depending on the quality of the translator and the quality of the proofreader. End of discussion.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes. Mar 27, 2012

Melanie Nassar wrote:

it all depends on the skills of both the non-native translator and the native proofreader.

Of course not all translations by native speakers are commercially viable or even acceptable.


You've said it all, Melanie.


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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No, no and no Mar 27, 2012

Often a client has a set budget for the translation and another for the review. In addition to financial constraints, there may be time constraints, leaving you very limited as to how long you can spend on the proofreading. I recently received a large PT>EN pharmaceutical document for review that had evidently not been translated by an English native speaker. Their knowledge of the subject area was good to very good but the quality of English was average to poor. The client needed the file back as soon as possible so there was no extension to be had. Progress was very slow indeed and I got bogged down rewriting entire tracts of the document as well as checking for omissions, errors (not inconsiderable either) etc. There was certainly no time to check for fluency and in the end I had no choice but to submit a 'revised' document that felt sub-standard. I have no doubt at all that this would not have been the case if the document had been translated by a native speaker in the first place.

[Edited at 2012-03-27 11:38 GMT]


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