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Poll: Are you completely satisfied with your work when you deliver a job?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:25
SITE STAFF
Jul 3, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you completely satisfied with your work when you deliver a job?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alexandra Villeminey. View the poll results »



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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Never Jul 3, 2012

There is no job done that couldn't be done better. Therefore, being FULLY satisfied is self-deception or lack of modesty

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
You can't polish a... Jul 3, 2012

Usually, however, as the saying goes, "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear".

If the deadline is squeezed, which is often the case, end quality can be affected too. So sometimes I'm more satisfied than others. And sometimes I do make a greater effort to turn out a polished final draft if I feel it's worth going the extra mile. Maybe some people can turn out top quality text every time, but I don't see myself as one of them - there is almost always for improvement.

Proof of the pudding: I wrote "soem" instead of "some" cos I was in a hurry...

[Edited at 2012-07-03 08:54 GMT]


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diamondo
Romania
Local time: 04:25
English to Romanian
+ ...
Satisfied enough to deliver it Jul 3, 2012

...most of the time. I couldn't answer "never", but if I have time to polish the final text I ALWAYS make amendments. Even when I feel completely satisfied.

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Cristina Lo Bianco  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:25
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Agreed Jul 3, 2012

Alexander Kondorsky wrote:

There is no job done that couldn't be done better. Therefore, being FULLY satisfied is self-deception or lack of modesty


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:25
German to English
+ ...
Perfectionists abound Jul 3, 2012

Judging by the fact that over 70% so far have answered "yes, most of the time", it would seem that we are a perfectionist lot.

There has to be a cut-off point where we say, "That's as good as it gets". Even great translations can never quite grasp 100% of every nuance in the source text. Close, but not quite. It is the nature of the beast.

I am generally satisfied with the work I do. To say that I am completely satisfied every single time would be an overstatement. Occasionally, I will emerge from my study and delcare to my partner that I have outdone myself on a translation job - but it is only occasionally. It is normally the very next translation job which gives me a sharp reminder of how humbling our work can be.

[Edited at 2012-07-03 09:42 GMT]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jul 3, 2012

I feel that I could always improve it, but I try to deliver a product that I could live with myself if I had to.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:25
English to Spanish
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Never satisfied Jul 3, 2012

...but I get over it quickly

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes and no Jul 3, 2012

Completely satisfied that I've done the job to the best of my ability, but as others have said, there's always room for improvement.

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Alexander, Cristina, and (most of all) Mario Jul 3, 2012

There are many variables that can result in "less than perfect" translations: time pressures, poorly written originals, some percentage of the text dealing with material well outside one's comfort zone, the sometimes unavoidable need to sacrifice rigid accuracy to produce readable text, and the very nature of translation work itself.

This doesn't mean that a translation can't be "good enough." I usually feel that my own work is "good enough"--and then some (but certainly not "perfect"--whatever that might mean)....


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:25
English to German
+ ...
Perfection Jul 3, 2012

does not exist. It is something to strive for.

A realistic Gudrun


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Perfection is like beauty... Jul 3, 2012

Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

does not exist. It is something to strive for.

A realistic Gudrun


Perfection is in the eye of the beerholder

Seriously, I confess myself a perfectionist: translations have to be well written or else. But I had a long learning curve to accept the imperfections of fellow translators whenever I edited their work and remember that, in the end, the goal is the end reader of the text, not me.


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:25
English to German
+ ...
@Mario Jul 3, 2012

"is in the eye of the beerholder"

That is a good one.

Gudrun


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 10:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Agree with John, too Jul 3, 2012

John Cutler wrote:
Completely satisfied that I've done the job to the best of my ability, but as others have said, there's always room for improvement.


I'm always satisfied in varying degrees with the work I deliver. Or, rephrased differently, I would never deliver a job I wasn't satisfied with. If it meets my own set of standards and I am satisfied with the quality of the work I've done under those particular circumstances, I can deliver it. No shame at all in saying this.

As others have said, the parameters -- deadlines, format of the data, content, difficulty, quality of source document, biorhythm, motivation, etc., etc., the list is endless -- of each job/project are always different. That's the nature of our profession.
The "good enough" argument (or, "more than good enough" even) works just fine if the end result of your hard work is "good enough" for you and, more importantly, "good enough" for the customer. Everyone's happy.

As far as "perfectionism" or "perfectness" with respect to translation is concerned, this is an unobtainable, amorphous concept. But this doesn't mean that we can't work towards this ideal.
So, I would like to avoid big, sweeping qualifiers such as completely and fully with respect to satisfaction, which is a subjective thing anyway.

I've had clients tell me that they're expecting a "perfect translation." I just laugh and tell them that there ain't no such animal, as Robert just inferred.

If there were such a thing as "absolute perfect translation quality," I'd love to see it, as would all of you.


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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Most of the time I am satisfied Jul 3, 2012

Of course, as you all said, there is always a better choice of words, expression, etc. Specially after a rush job, I am happy I delivered, but I have that feeling that it could be better. However, I always advise the client that a rush job may have quality issues and they usually understand.

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