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Poll: When I receive criticism of my work that I consider unjust, I...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Jul 8, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When I receive criticism of my work that I consider unjust, I...".

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:23
English to German
+ ...
"Try to explain" my rationale? Jul 8, 2013

Hm. Of all people, linguists should be the ones to be able to phrase and articulate a spot-on rationale.

I voted "Other".


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:23
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 8, 2013

I am not accustomed to receiving criticism of my work, whether just or unjust.

The only thing that comes close is where I am sent the proofread version of my translation and I consider some or all of the changes to be wrong. In this case, unless asked to comment, I do nothing. If asked to comment on the proofread version, I will explain in an objective manner why I believe certain of the changes to be wrong.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto Jul 8, 2013

Tim Drayton wrote:

I am not accustomed to receiving criticism of my work, whether just or unjust.

The only thing that comes close is where I am sent the proofread version of my translation and I consider some or all of the changes to be wrong. In this case, unless asked to comment, I do nothing. If asked to comment on the proofread version, I will explain in an objective manner why I believe certain of the changes to be wrong.


I must say that at the very beginning of my career (some 30 years ago) I did receive 1 or 2 very just criticisms. I learned my lesson then (do not take more than you can chew and do not translate when exhausted) and apparently I have managed to keep myself out of trouble since...


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I said "ignore it" Jul 8, 2013

I'm thinking of the scenario that Tim mentioned. If I've been shown a copy of corrections made to my translation and I don't agree, I only speak up if I think the client is open to suggestions. Otherwise, I ignore it. I did a work for hire, they paid me, and they can use it for wallpaper if they want.

I've learned that when people have their mind made up, trying to convince them otherwise almost always has the opposite effect.

Fortunately, my regular clients never bother me. I find that those who pay me less are almost always the ones who understand less about translation. A client willing to pay top dollar usually understands and respects the process we go through.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:23
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Others, but Jul 8, 2013

I voted "Others" although "a combination of the above" would have been the correct choice, except for 2 choices.

1. I don't get moody even if the criticism seems unjust to me. There is usually the "preferred terminology" to be considered, whether I share it or not.

2. I never ignore any criticism of my work, but instead try to "unveil" the reasoning behind it. After all, there's no smoke without a fire.

And if it's totally unfair, then I just file it under "lesson learned" - of whichever nature this might be.icon_wink.gif


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I go mental Jul 8, 2013

Behaving in an adult and professional manner in such situations is greatly overrated.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
French to English
Being sensible about it Jul 8, 2013

Well, we all know that a criticism can be justified or unjustified. We also no doubt all realize that we can believe we are right, yet be wrong. The problem arises when they person you are dealing with does not realize or accept these possibilities. All or any of the options are possible, except ignore it. I mean, ignoring it is a possibility to consider at some point, but in the first instance, only a fool would ignore it from the word go. Sometimes it takes just seconds, but it is not a good idea as a first option : ever.

 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Standard ... Jul 8, 2013

LIke others, I rarely get feedback at all, positive or negative.
Most agenices that I work with which use reviewers have a policy of correcting objective errors only and/or sending the reviewed translation back to the translator for final acceptance/rejection of edits.

Occassionally even that doesn't work out and in such cases I have a standard format reply: excel sheet or word table with 4 columns: Source text - original translation - edited version - comment. I fill in a random sample of the edits and explain the justified/unjustified nature of the edit and or criticism. That is usually quite sufficient and usually well received.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:23
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Of course I would try to explain Jul 8, 2013

and I agree with Muriel, criticism usually comes from the lowest paying clients for some reason.
Sometimes their proofreaders/reviewers who have the status of being 'experts' are simply not very qualified, and the Danish ones typically focus on correct punctuation in an exaggerated way.

There are some of our colleagues (fortunately only a few) who can be very obstinate and subjective, implementing their own preferences. (I'm not sure if they have a hidden agenda).

I recently had such an experience: The 'proofreader' had gone through my translated (legal) text and had replaced my chosen terms with any synonyms he could find, and expressions with alternative expressions. What was his motivation? I don’t know.
I tried to accept all changes to see the end result, and actually, it was fine, too. Just a different version of the same thing. I would have approved it, had I been the proofreader.

I explained my point to the agency and said that in future I don't have time to justify my whole translation, when there is nothing wrong with it.

But when that's said, I mostly enjoy working with other translators, we respect each other's work and also learn from each other.

Besides, nobody is perfect!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:23
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Get moody Jul 8, 2013

I get moody alright.

I will rant and rave, before taking a deep breath and requesting a detailed report of whatever was supposedly wrong. During my time as PM in an agency I learnt a lot about dealing with complaints, since we were top-notch, and I have continued to react in a similar way. Policy was to never leave criticism unanswered. When it was simply an excuse not to pay, we never heard back and the client usually coughed up after sulking for a while.

If ever we did get a detailed report, I would go right the way through, picking out every "correction" and indicating sources to show that the translator was right, or that the "correction" was purely subjective. I would occasionally acknowledge that the correction was perhaps slightly better, when it was indeed the case and if I considered that being open to suggestions was psychologically the right thing to do with that customer.

The first time I had to deal with a complaint, a client asked me why I had put "The company was founded in 1912" instead of "The company has been founded in 1912". I had not long given up on my teaching career, and the primary reason for my teaching burnout was the inability of students to grasp certain points, with the difference between the simple past and present perfect easily making the Top Three in my list of gripes. So I just sighed and said that if I knew how to put this point across to French people I would probably still be a teacher. Apparently it came across as offensive or aggressive (anyone who knows me would laugh at that since I'm usually serene and calm). I now refuse to discuss it on the phone and ask for a report in writing, which gives me a chance to take that deeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Guilty as charged Jul 8, 2013

Chris S wrote:

Behaving in an adult and professional manner in such situations is greatly overrated.


I'm afraid I tend to fly off the handle too, when I think the criticism isn't justified. I then usually rant and rave about it to anyone who will listen, or even those who won't. It always requires a conscious effort to remind myself that nobody else (a few friend/colleagues excepted) gives a hoot about these things...

Although it very rarely happens. The last time anyone complained about my work was a month or so ago, when I'd translated "15 días" ( a fortnight) from Spanish as "15 weeks" (I'd forgotten to change 15 -> 2) and this time the complaint was justified. I didn't see it when I re-read the translated file again as I was only concentrating on the words, and I felt such a fool when the colleague who had proofread the translation pointed out to me. I hope I've learnt from this embarrassing experience, although knowing me, I'm equally likely to put my foot in it in future.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Been there, done that Jul 8, 2013

Texte Style wrote:

... a client asked me why I had put "The company was founded in 1912" instead of "The company has been founded in 1912". I had not long given up on my teaching career, and the primary reason for my teaching burnout was the inability of students to grasp certain points, with the difference between the simple past and present perfect easily making the Top Three in my list of gripes.



Just reading that anecdote even started to make my blood boil. My reaction would probably have been more along the lines of "Look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls!"


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agencies Jul 8, 2013

In the past I have worked with two agencies that routinely send a "revised" text back to you, so they claim. In the first case, I just think that he was trying to improve his English, getting a free bit of tuition. And in the other, I believe that the person genuinely did think that their version was better then mine, which I really couldn't understand myself. If they send me any changes and ask my opinion I just accept all the changes and don't work with them again.

I just don't think that it is a good fit. Why get someone else to do the translation and then change it, if they don't like my work, then they should find other translators whose work they do like or just change it and not say anything to me.


 

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
peer reviews Jul 8, 2013

Most of my work consists of academic articles that then get submitted for peer review, often by reviewers who are not native (or even competent) English speakers. That can annoy me. These days, I explain to the authors why the reviewers are mistaken, and charge for changing the manuscript to fit in with their erroneous concepts of English (e.g. "Because there is other meaning this word that saturated with rain. It was be a term very generally, is it need?").

 
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