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Poll: Have you ever received complaints from your clients regarding the quality of your translations?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:14
SITE STAFF
May 2, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever received complaints from your clients regarding the quality of your translations?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nadia Mondi. View the poll results »



 

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Peer reviewers are the bane of my life May 2, 2012

Most of the work I do is for submission to academic, peer-reviewed journals for publication. Many of the peer reviewers are not native, or even very good, speakers of English, and occasionally an article will be returned with the suggestion that "the author takes steps to improve the English".

For example, the peer reviewer who had these comments to make about the content of one particular article:

"There is useful to add a sentence to making generalization from results that obtained this study in abstract.

I drown regression line from means R2 degree is bigger than you.

Because there is other meaning this word that saturated with rain.

It was be a term very generally, is it need?

...unfortunately it aren't understood clearly.

...this term needn’t sufficient...

...you should be controlled regression line for this character.

It should be useful with make to regression analysis."


also suggested that use of English required improvement... Argggh!


 

Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
No comment for Denise feedbacks May 2, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:

"There is useful to add a sentence to making generalization from results that obtained this study in abstract.

I drown regression line from means R2 degree is bigger than you.

Because there is other meaning this word that saturated with rain.

It was be a term very generally, is it need?

...unfortunately it aren't understood clearly.

...this term needn’t sufficient...

...you should be controlled regression line for this character.

It should be useful with make to regression analysis."


also suggested that use of English required improvement... Argggh!



icon_eek.gif


 

Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
It (fortunately) happens rarely but May 2, 2012

... yes, it happened last week!

And they were disattention errors.

A suggestion to improve my attitude towards some type of translations.
My conclusion: never underestimate short jobs or any jobs thought to be longer...


 

Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:44
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
Reply May 2, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:


For example, the peer reviewer who had these comments to make about the content of one particular article:

"There is useful to add a sentence to making generalization from results that obtained this study in abstract.

I drown regression line from means R2 degree is bigger than you.

Because there is other meaning this word that saturated with rain.

It was be a term very generally, is it need?

...unfortunately it aren't understood clearly.

...this term needn’t sufficient...

...you should be controlled regression line for this character.

It should be useful with make to regression analysis."





- and what did you tell your client after this. Let's hear that!!icon_wink.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:14
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
People ought to specify what kind of Globish they want... May 2, 2012

... if they don't want English as she is spoke icon_biggrin.gif

I have sometimes managed to dismiss complaints by quoting an authorative-sounding reference - Michael Swann is good, SIR Ernest Gowers, don't forget the Sir... University Grammar, Longmans... with chapter and verse. Or a careful explanation of why I wrote what I did and not what the client expected.

If clients are amenable to reason, dealing tactfully with a complaint shows them you are worth every penny/cent/nickel they pay you, because you know more about your language than they do.

Be nice to clients like that! If they don't lose face they will come back to you. It is no use being right if the client is embarrassed and doesn't dare make use of your services again!
_________________

Otherwise - when it is a typo or that kind of error - and nobody can be perfect all the time - my abject apologies and a new file AT ONCE with the error corrected. It rarely happens.

I aim for perfection... but know I'm human. I have an insurance policy that covers claims from clients, because even a technically tiny error could have serious consequences. I have never made any claims on it.


[Edited at 2012-05-02 09:27 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Been there, done that May 2, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:
Most of the work I do is for submission to academic, peer-reviewed journals for publication. Many of the peer reviewers are not native, or even very good, speakers of English, and occasionally an article will be returned with the suggestion that "the author takes steps to improve the English".

For example, ... also suggested that use of English required improvement... Argggh!


I have had many similar experiences, not so much with my translations, but I see a lot of papers returned with similar comments when the authors have submitted their "own" translations, which nowadays tend to be Google-reliant, often with chunks lifted will-nilly from other works.

I think that quite often when these "peer reviewers" see that the authors have Spanish surnames, they send the texts back almost as a knee-jerk reaction. In fact a couple of my clients are peer reviewers themselves and they get me to revise all their comments before sending them to the Journal/s in question.

Outside academe, about a year ago I got so annoyed with one agency client's insistence on ruling out ANY use of synonymy whatsoever that I stopped doing financial texts at all, which I never really enjoyed anyway.

Usually, in a spirit of "the customer is always right", I try to go with the client's wishes, but I do like to tell them when they are about to make themselves a laughing stock.




[Edited at 2012-05-02 11:09 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Once May 2, 2012

When the payment was due 30 days after delivery.icon_eek.gif

 

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not May 2, 2012

Umang Dholabhai wrote:

- and what did you tell your client after this. Let's hear that!!icon_wink.gif


what was on my mind, which was that this person wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between English and morse code. I just explained to my client that this reviewer probably wasn't the best judge of use of English, but my client, who can't speak English, was in no position to judge himself and didn't care anyway - he just wanted to have his article accepted. So I had to go through making cosmetic changes to show willing. And it got accepted for publication.


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:14
German to English
+ ...
Ocasionally May 2, 2012

but almost exclusively by clients who didn't really know much about English. never anythign serious, to be honest!

 

Stefan Schilling  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:14
English to German
+ ...
Too many capitalised words in the German text May 2, 2012

I had a client who got back to me complaining that the German translation contained way too many capitalised words, followed by the request to kindly change them back to lower caseicon_biggrin.gif

Even though the client didn't have any command of German, I was a bit shocked that they obviously thought that I spell words on a whim...


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:14
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
a couple of times... May 2, 2012

One was a translation in an area where I wasn't very familiar and I got some terminology wrong. My mistake really...i needed the work during a slow period. The client was not happy and i had to take a reduced fee. The other time, it was a client who the agency had already had problems with. She was 'difficult'. She thought she was a great author and that I didn't 'get' her meaning, but the truth was her writing was so awful that translation was torture. She made the agency get another translator to redo it. Probably they should have gotten one who was french native, in the first place.

I did learn my lesson, not to take translations in an area where I am not familiar!


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:14
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I translated what the client wrote... May 2, 2012

I once had a complaint that was funny afterwards...

The source was in Swedish, and I made a special effort. The PM is a translator himself the other way, and was satisfied when he checked it, so we were somewhat surprised to get a complaint from a furious client.

I agreed to talk to her on the phone and ask what was wrong - but said I would speak English. (I don't actually speak much Swedish...)

She called me, and I nervously picked up the phone, but by then she had read the text again. She was deeply apologetic! She had not read her own text before sending it off, and there was nothing wrong with my translation... She had simply sent me the wrong version of the text!

Would I please translate the right one - as soon as possible, but of course she would pay... and we ended up friends again.

I have not always been so lucky.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hold me back! May 2, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:

Umang Dholabhai wrote:

- and what did you tell your client after this. Let's hear that!!icon_wink.gif


... this reviewer probably wasn't the best judge of use of English, but my client, who can't speak English, was in no position to judge himself and didn't care anyway - he just wanted to have his article accepted. So I had to go through making cosmetic changes to show willing. And it got accepted for publication.


In similar circumstances, I have on occasion asked permission from my clients to address the Journal/Editors/Reviewers in question myself and they always tell me it's not worth it; their general attitude is always the same: all we are worried about is getting it published so if the reviewer says you need to type it while standing on your head wearing a pink tutu and frogman flippers, then that's what we shall do. I can laugh at it now, but I used to get quite incensed...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
ROFL May 2, 2012

Stefan Schilling wrote:

I had a client who got back to me complaining that the German translation contained way too many capitalised words, followed by the request to kindly change them back to lower caseicon_biggrin.gif

Even though the client didn't have any command of German, I was a bit shocked that they obviously thought that I spell words on a whim...


Mein gast geflabbered ist...


 
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