Poll: Do you revise your translations if your client asks you to?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:12
Dec 26, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you revise your translations if your client asks you to?".

This poll was originally submitted by Kristian Vike Pedersen. View the poll results »

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Teresa Borges
Local time: 02:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, always... Dec 26, 2013

... but no need for my client to ask me to, ALL my translations are revised (by another translator) before delivery...

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B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Depends Dec 26, 2013

It depends what is meant by "revise". Has the client decided to amend the source text to remedy an error or ambiguity? Have they discovered a genuine problem with my translation? Is there something about the style that they are not happy with? Or, as recently happened, are they under the false impression that they know English better than me because their tiny, bilingual pocket dictionary didn't have some of the words I used or didn't show the sense in which I had used a particular word?

In case 1 above, it would depend how extensive their amendments were. I would do a certain amount for free depending upon the size and price of the original job. Case 2: yes, of course. Case 3 would need to be discussed and assessed. Case 4: no, but I would furnish sufficient explanation to justify my work.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:12
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Define "revise" Dec 26, 2013

1. If the question means: Do I review my translations before I deliver them? I always do, regardless of whether or not the client asks me to. I am rated as a "self-revising translator" in the UN system.

But I never did like the term "revise" because it's ambiguous. I prefer "review" if it's about correcting a done translation before it's delivered to the client. Of course, "review" is ambiguous, too, because one might decide that no corrections are necessary, whereas "revise" implies that changes are made.

2. If a client asks me to *change* a translation I've done to fit their requirements, it depends on the nature of the request. One agency asked me to translate a street address. I told them what they could do with the translation. Another client returned a job to me with the request that I replace term I had used correctly with one that was patently incorrect. She was rude about it, too. I appealed to her supervisor.

But such requests are rare. In my experience, clients think of a translation as a product they have purchased and feel free to change it however they want.

3. If the question is about *further changes* that the client makes in the original text after the translation is delivered, then of course I get paid. Those assignments can be tedious and tricky. I usually charge by the hour.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes. always Dec 26, 2013

"Customer is always right"... etc. Though it rarely if ever happens. I don't recall the last time, if there was one.
I had to justify some terms for an agency once, as their proofer was one of those people who feel they haven't earned their keep without changing "however" to "nevertheless" at least once in a text...

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
With Muriel here Dec 26, 2013

OK, for argument's sake, let's assume that 'revise' here in this poll = 'review and make changes as asked by the customer'

Why should I change what I have already delivered? I deliver something on the assumption that it is correct. Otherwise, the customer would not be asking for my services in the first place. I always look through what I have translated and check it for correctness and accuracy before I deliver it.

It all boils down to where the responsibility lies.

If a customer can prove that my translation is wrong on a/some certain points and provide information to corroborate this, then I will look over pertinent sections in the document(s) and make the necessary corrections. As we all know (I hope), words can be open to a wide range of interpretations and translated in different ways, which is not necessarily a 'mistake' per se.

So saying...

If a customer provides me with a wish list of preferred terms and their English equivalents after I have submitted the translation, then it's the customer's fault for not having provided me with this list before I started the translation. And, I would expect remuneration of some kind in return.

Wishing you all a happy Boxing Day!

Small edits

[Edited at 2013-12-26 13:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-27 12:02 GMT]

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:12
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Always Dec 26, 2013

Of course I always revise my translations... once.

However, if the customer has changed her/his mind, then the applicable sentences or paragraphs are treated like a new translation, which is not free of charge.

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Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

Other Dec 26, 2013

I assume revise means when the client asks me to change something in the translation that he/she thinks fit. Because "review" is of course what I do with every translation I undertake. I even proofread what I translated. I find it more productive.

Now some clients have asked me - especially on technical subjects - to change a term (or more) into another that they prefer, but not because my translation was incorrect. That of course happens with the clients who are the users of my product. In this case I almost always accept, since it's their funeral in any case, but if they ask me to translate something in a way that's incorrect or betrays the original, then I politely decline and explain my reasons.
With agencies it's a different story, since the terminology to be used usually is agreed beforehand or built up as the work progresses.

I'm very receptive and I accept suggestions and the client is (almost) always right, provided the changes aren't too many.

Now if it's about something changing in the original and needing updating in the target, then of course a surcharge is due.

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Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Revise? Dec 26, 2013

I voted no, because the word revise led me to think the question meant changing a translation that has already been delivered because of changes made to the original by the client, which of course are a new translation.
If it had said "review" or something similar, it goes without saying that I do. Any self-respecting translator checks and reviews his/her work before delivery.

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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here... Dec 26, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

... but no need for my client to ask me to, ALL my translations are revised (by another translator) before delivery...

We do the same. Just one more benefit of being married to another translator ^_^

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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:12
German to English
Revision Dec 26, 2013

I have never been asked to revise a translation. But I would, should the need arise.

Steve K.

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