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Poll: Would you turn down a job offer because it contains typos and/or grammar errors?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:56
SITE STAFF
Mar 27, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you turn down a job offer because it contains typos and/or grammar errors?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mariam Osmane. View the poll results »



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Marta Brambilla  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 11:56
German to Italian
+ ...
Depends Mar 27, 2014

To be honest, I rarely read from beginning to end a text when the job comes from a customer I regularly work with ... So usually I find the ev. typos and grammar errors during the translation - that is when I've already accepted the job.
But honestly this happens very rarely to me ...


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:56
Member
German to English
+ ...
No Mar 27, 2014

I'm not sure whether the question means that the job offer or the job itself contains errors. I definitely wouldn't turn down a job on the basis the offer was flawed, and would probably not turn down the job, providing it was still comprehensible.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 27, 2014

I've never done so yet, despite being occasionally being tempted. If it was really bad, to the extent where it became unintelligible or risible, I might suggest that the client improve the text, or offer to do it myself for a small fee.

In fact, I'm translating material this week (transcribed verbatim interviews) that is sent by 2 people (men) in the same office. One of them sends me coherent texts with proper punctuation, and the other sends me similar texts, but less carefully edited and so less understandable and with little or no regard to full stops, commas, etc. On a couple of occasions I've asked them to at least run the Spanish spellcheck and I think they took the hint for a while, but it looks like they've started to slip back into their old ways. They even appear incapable of copying brand names, especially ones containing consonant clusters, but I been working with this company for years and am used to their sloppy, ad hoc working ways, which seem to be more or less common practice for the 4 or 5 advertising/marketing research agencies that I've worked with in this part of Spain.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Mar 27, 2014

If we are talking about the actual document for translation itself.

I'm a technical translator and these are part and parcel of the territory.

In fact, I can expect typos and illogical grammar in over 95% of the documents I get for translation. Couple this with the natural ambiguity of Japanese and you're basically rummaging around in a haystack to find the proverbial needle.

Typos
These are more likely to occur in Japanese than in English because there are lots of hononyms or identical sounding Kanji characters.

Grammar
A lot of the stuff I translate is written by engineers and engineers choose sciences simply because they are no good at languages.

Neverthess, I can say with pretty good certainty that I can spot a typo at 50 yards!

Corrected a typo. Can you believe it?

[Edited at 2014-03-27 13:30 GMT]


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:56
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Depends to what degree Mar 27, 2014

If I did, I would seldom work at all... But if a document is awful to the point that it is not understandable, especially a legal document, yes. I remember having done so for a contract written in French by Czech people, and where, among other, numbers in figures didn't match these in words (e.g. "thirty (20)").

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Mariam Osmann
Egypt
Local time: 11:56
English to Arabic
+ ...
Typos in the job "offer" I mean Mar 27, 2014

Yes I have done this very few times, as the amount of typos made me questions the reliability of the translation agency.

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:56
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Depends Mar 27, 2014

I interpreted this question as meaning the offer (email) asking me to do the job contained typos.
I do turn down jobs where the email seems to have been written in a very careless way - some of those 'out of the blue' emails make me think the writer just doesn't care how they come across. That does not inspire trust, so I don't accept the job.

I don't mind a few typos or mistakes in an email (or in a job, for that matter - I will usually point them out if the source text is for publication as well, or ask for clarification if a typo or presumed typo might lead to misunderstandings).

[Edited at 2014-03-27 08:50 GMT]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I might Mar 27, 2014

If the job looks really sloppy, I might simply tell the customer I'm not available. I know too well how much longer it takes to sort out typos and poor grammar. Sloppiness reflects on the seriousness of the author; if the author isn't serious, I don't feel I should waste my time making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

I usually find that problems in a translation don't surface until I'm well into a project and it's too late to back out. So if it looks messy at first glance, it's a sign that it's only going to get worse.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
OCR Mar 27, 2014

I'm very wary of OCR files, they can be deceptively unintelligible

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 12:56
Turkish to English
+ ...
No Mar 27, 2014

No, I wouldn't, but our work is made considerably more difficult if the source text is badly written, whether for the above reasons or for others. Ideally, we should be paid more for translating poorly written text. However, in the market translation is deemed to be a commodity that sells at x per word/line/page, so such factors are not taken into consideration.

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 11:56
French to English
+ ...
Typo? Mar 27, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

... engineers choose sciences simply because they are no good at languages.



I think you meant to say that language majors choose languages because they are no good at engineering


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Chris Hughes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:56
Member (2007)
Romanian to English
+ ...
Non-standard language Mar 27, 2014

As others here have said, it does depend on the exact nature of the text for translation, but I often translate Albanian witness statements, normally handwritten by the subject him or herself, and Kosovan Albanian in particular tends to 'deviate' from the standard written language. There are certain grammatical and spelling 'errors' (depends on who you're asking!), as well as non-standard variants that I'd expect to see, and technically speaking, they don't comply with the rules of the literary language. So in short, I wouldn't translate any Kosovan witness statements if I turned the job down due to typos and grammar errors.

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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:56
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
building the partnership (a linguist's opinion) Mar 27, 2014

It happened many times. I love my job so many times I send a corrected HU files back with the translation. It there are r e a l l y a lot of mistakes (rarely but happens), I suggest a mother-tongue-proofreading of the source text.
Protect your mother tongue - it is very important. You will gain respect in the eyes of a customer and in the same time you spread an important information. Some people may dislike it but mostly they will turn to you next time.
OCR may cheat you - so many KudoZ-questions are based on the typos. Always ask for PDF and have your own OCR (I am very satisfied my ABBYY Fine Reader 11, it was a valuable investment).

Happy translation and a sunny day,
Liza


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Not quite Mar 27, 2014

Terry Richards wrote:

Julian Holmes wrote:

... engineers choose sciences simply because they are no good at languages.



I think you meant to say that language majors choose languages because they are no good at engineering


I was always good at science subjects as proven by the 30+ years I've been translating for industry.
It's just that the wind was blowing the other way when I decided on what to study for my O and A levels.

Sometimes things come around full circle whether you planned it that way or not.


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