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Poll: Generally, do you enjoy proofreading assignments?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:34
SITE STAFF
Dec 18, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Generally, do you enjoy proofreading assignments?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Member
German to English
+ ...
Really dislike it! Dec 18, 2013

I really don't like proof-reading at all. Partly because nobody ever writes anything the way I would have done so it is an intensely frustrating process, and partly because it is normally paid by the hour, and agencies seem reluctant to pay appropriate hourly rates which are commensurate to what one could earn from translation.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:34
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Dec 18, 2013

It depends on the quality of the texts to be proofread/edited/revised. Lately, I have been rejecting more and more these jobs...

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:34
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Don't do proofreading any more Dec 18, 2013

Because the time taken to proof and input corrections ends up about the same as if I'd translated it myself anyway.
Why should I get paid an abysmal fraction of the original translation cost? icon_confused.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other #2 Dec 18, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

It depends on the quality of the texts to be proofread/edited/revised. Lately, I have been rejecting more and more these jobs...


Precisely what I am finding.

Part of my in-house training was to proofread for colleagues who really knew what they were doing, but needed a second pair of eyes to run thorugh their work. In the very early days, another experienced colleague used to proofread MY proofreading and point out MY errors and omissions... before I was told to call the translator and tell her/him over the phone what needed to be changed.

Once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoyed proofreading on that basis. I learned a lot, and gathered dozens of useful comments from the others.

I still like jobs like that, but they are few and far between.

[Edited at 2013-12-18 08:53 GMT]


 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:34
Member
English to German
+ ...
Only if I know who did the translation Dec 18, 2013

If you do proofreading in a team, where everybody knows his job it can be quite enjoyable and you can learn a lot.

In any other cases I refuse to do it.


 

Kathrin Caiger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
English to German
+ ...
Somewhat... Dec 18, 2013

It really depends on the topic, the quality and the total volume.

Sometimes, proofreading jobs can be straightforward and pleasant, especially when the translator is a well-known colleague to me. However, there have been some really mind-numbing proofreading assignments in the past, with appalling quality at a non-native level! In these cases, I felt that my proofreading charge was far too low as I almost had to rewrite the whole thing.

There have also been three or four incidents now where an agency went to a "cheaper" translator instead of me (although I believe that my rates are far from skyrocketing) and then came running back to me, begging me to please revise the documents as the clients complained about the poor quality of the translations. Why, oh why, don't these agencies hire professional translators in the first place? (Well, we know it's all about their profit margins, sadly...)


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Depends on the client Dec 18, 2013

I enjoy both editing and proofreading. My job is to ensure good quality in the end, regardless of the quality of the input. The important thing is that the client understands the difference and understands the time involved.
That is quite easy to work out at the point of enquiry - if they send a very poorly written document and call it "proofreading", I'm out. If they send the same and say they need a major edit and pay accordingly, that's fine.
The effort is a little more difficult to judge, sometimes I earn a little less, sometimes a little more than with translations, but it levels itself out. I wouldn't consider a flat fee without seeing the document and certainly wouldn't agree to per word rates for this task.
It is a task that is being abused - people doing a Google translation and then trying to offer a proofreading job at a lower rate etc., but it's not all that difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I equally quite like having my work proofread - given that this is done by a competent person.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Proofreading vs checking/correcting vs editing vs copywriting Dec 18, 2013

I object to the increasing use of the word proofreading for the process of checking/correcting translations.

It seems to be favoured particularly by large agencies (the kind that call you a vendor) with a pronounced ISO fetish yet an uncanny knack for sourcing translations of dubious quality.

This is not proofreading. We call it polishing turds and we don't do it.

True proofreading - checking through 100,000 words for that all-important missing hyphen - is incredibly dull.

Editing texts to make them read better is fun.

But copywriting is the best. Finally you get to write exactly what you want in the first place.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
OTHER Dec 18, 2013

I do not enjoy going over other translators' work. When I am working as part of a team with friends/colleagues, I don't mind so much, because it tends to be reciprocal, but in general I prefer to stay hands-off.
Most of the "proofreading" I do consists of revising and improving scientific and technical texts written in English by non-native authors, who are usually Spanish but not exclusively. I do quite enjoy that, because I have more or less free rein and can consult the authors, editors or someone equally knowledgeable when in doubt. However, I find most revisions/proofreading work from agencies to be too time-consuming, especially when I have to justify every little change I make to a text.

PS: I suppose most of the "proofing" work I do is really more like editing. But hey, what's in a name...

[Edited at 2013-12-18 10:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-18 10:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-18 12:57 GMT]


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I HATE "proofreading" ... Dec 18, 2013

... for all the reasons mentioned.

Like Neil, I do proofread articles written in English by non-native (Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) researchers who have trouble with punctuation, use of definite and indefinite articles, etc. Their technical language is perfect, but their writing lacks fluency. I'm not being exploited, and I like to think I'm helping them get published.

Chris S sums up the situation perfectly:

I object to the increasing use of the word proofreading for the process of checking/correcting translations.

It seems to be favoured particularly by large agencies (the kind that call you a vendor) with a pronounced ISO fetish yet an uncanny knack for sourcing translations of dubious quality.

This is not proofreading. We call it polishing turds and we don't do it.

True proofreading - checking through 100,000 words for that all-important missing hyphen - is incredibly dull.

Editing texts to make them read better is fun.

But copywriting is the best. Finally you get to write exactly what you want in the first place.


[Edited at 2013-12-18 10:40 GMT]


 

Ellen Soors  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:34
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Other Dec 18, 2013

I answered 'other' because for me it depends on the type of proofreading. I get two types:
1. Proofreading translated texts, what I usually don't like that much (or hate, depending on what effort the 'translator' put into it.)
2. Proofreading book manuscripts that were written in Dutch. I do like those jobs!


 

KKastenhuber  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 12:34
Russian to German
+ ...
It's impossible to generalize Dec 18, 2013

I only do monolingual editing and proofreading, and I've had both tasks that were so enjoyable that it was actually hard to tear myself away from them and tasks that were so dull they got me close to tears. What I hate the most is when people dispute every single change that I make to their text, down to the correction of orthographical mistakes. Or clients who take every correction that I make or explanation that I give as a personal attack. I'm only trying to do the job I was hired for!

 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 06:34
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A proofreading assignment is worth its weight in gold Dec 18, 2013

Although proofreading may require a lot of time and dedication, I enjoy each and every assignment because I learn about what I would have said and not have said if I had been the translator on that particular assignment. I especially like it when the client sends me the source document as well. Whenever possible, I align the source and target documents so I can read the original Spanish text along with the English that I need to proofread. I love it when I come across a new way of translating a term or phrase that I would not have thought of otherwise. I also get a good feeling when I come across an awkward phrase that I know I can fix and make it sound better.

When I am very busy, I tend to turn down proofreading assignments. On the other hand, when business is slow, I try to take a little more time when proofreading to get the most out of the experience.


 

Laura Sanchez Bel
Spain
Local time: 12:34
Member (2013)
English to Catalan
+ ...
Not always Dec 18, 2013

It depends on the topic and the quality of the document to be proofread... sometimes it's quite difficult when dealing with documents coming from automatic translation.

 
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