Poll: Have you ever been asked to review other translators' work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:43
SITE STAFF
Jun 19, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever been asked to review other translators' work?".

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Liena Vijupe  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 04:43
Member (2014)
French to Latvian
+ ...
Yes Jun 19, 2014

Not only to review (although I don't usually do that).
I've also been asked to redo cheap work of other translators - for full price, of course...


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 04:43
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes ... Jun 19, 2014

every time I am offered a proofreading assignment, if I have understood the question correctly, which is fairly frequently. I turn down these offers, however, because I only offer translation services.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
Member (2006)
German to English
Yes, Jun 19, 2014

seeing as it is a service that I offer.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:43
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Jun 19, 2014

I'm asked to review, proofread and correct other translators' work quite often. That's one of the services I offer. When I'm asked to redo cheap work I either reject the assignment or, like Liena, charge full price...

 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
As others said, Jun 19, 2014

but I hate it - I am a perfectionist and I find most translations horrible.

 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:43
French to German
+ ...
Yes Jun 19, 2014

But I don't offer this service anymore since I have always hated it, so I turn down any requests for reviewing/proofreading assignments these days.

 

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

MODERATOR
Yuck!! Jun 19, 2014

I've been asked to review other translator's work, and it's never pretty. Well, to be honest, sometimes it's been only correcting minor slips-of-the-pen/finger or maybe suggesting other alternatives to some term or phrase, because quality is OK.
Some other times I've had to basically redo the whole thing. This is when it gets nasty.

In any case it's a very unpleasant and cumbersome work either way, and I reeeeally hate it.


 

Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:43
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Jun 19, 2014

That's called proofreading.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 19, 2014

But I don't like doing it.

Nowadays I really only do revision work for other translator friends/colleagues as a favour, usually free or quid pro quo. Apart from that, my proofing or revision is mostly on texts written in English by non-native speaking authors for publication in journals (mostly scientific, in bio or animal husbandry, although I'll have a bash at almost any field I think I can get my head around, as long as I am able to confer with the authors or someone similarly knowledgeable about the subject area). I suppose it's more like editing really, because sometimes I have to rewrite whole chunks, but I don't mind


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Proofreading is not the same as reviewing a translator's work Jun 19, 2014

I noticed that many colleagues consider proofreading the only activity in which one reviews the work done by another translator.

Actually, I was asked by a client to review the translation tests done by about two dozen translators for a financial project. I was asked to use an error scale provided by the client. I failed more than 80% of those translators because of major errors.

At times, I felt really bad to fail a translator because she had good command of financial/banking terminology, but didn't know how to write a proper sentence about a financial product (subprime mortgages, anyone?).

Other times, I found several translators with very good writing skills whose use of the wrong terminology indicated that they failed to understand certain financial products and their equivalents in Spanish.

So, if you are asked to review a translator's work, ask questions such as:

1) Should I proofread it only?
2) Should I edit it for style, length, etc.?
3) Should I tack on my observations or critiques?
4) If I add my comments or critiques, who should I address them to? The translator, the client, the project manager?

And, may I ask everyone to consider the slippery slope one starts when using sweeping generalizations about other translators' work? Sure, I've encountered poor translations but I've also found excellent solutions to knotty translation problems. There's a bit of everything, so don't be so negative.

Many of us have had to propose a retranslation or a translation rewrite when a translator's work is subpar. Whenever I've done that, I don't even read the inadequate translation and move on to write a good one for the client.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
All the time Jun 19, 2014

And I agree with everything that has been said so far. I hate it, don't offer it as a service, and avoid it like the plague.

 

Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
It must stay clear of subjective changes. Jun 20, 2014

First of all, I must say I agree with what Mario said, I feel and work with the same policy.

I asked PMs to what extent should I change the translation. Is it only terms, precision or even style? And we often have a thredhold for calcullating errors and a bad, ok, fine or good translation.

Many PM asked me not to change anything in the style of the translation and I think it is legitimate because style varies very much and like EvaVer said "I am a perfectionist and I find most translation horrible" which indicates that it is a subjective matter and the perfection she thinks of maybe different from the perfection someone else think of. There is no guarantee that one thing is perfect in one opinion may be so too in others' opinion. And the translation is a collabortive work of many steps.

I change the translation basing firstly on its precision (grammar structure may change its meaning, etc), then specific terms used and lastly on the flow and readability of the text and I totally respect the translator ideas.

However, I now plan to stop providing such service too.


Mario Chavez wrote:

I noticed that many colleagues consider proofreading the only activity in which one reviews the work done by another translator.

Actually, I was asked by a client to review the translation tests done by about two dozen translators for a financial project. I was asked to use an error scale provided by the client. I failed more than 80% of those translators because of major errors.

At times, I felt really bad to fail a translator because she had good command of financial/banking terminology, but didn't know how to write a proper sentence about a financial product (subprime mortgages, anyone?).

Other times, I found several translators with very good writing skills whose use of the wrong terminology indicated that they failed to understand certain financial products and their equivalents in Spanish.

So, if you are asked to review a translator's work, ask questions such as:

1) Should I proofread it only?
2) Should I edit it for style, length, etc.?
3) Should I tack on my observations or critiques?
4) If I add my comments or critiques, who should I address them to? The translator, the client, the project manager?

And, may I ask everyone to consider the slippery slope one starts when using sweeping generalizations about other translators' work? Sure, I've encountered poor translations but I've also found excellent solutions to knotty translation problems. There's a bit of everything, so don't be so negative.

Many of us have had to propose a retranslation or a translation rewrite when a translator's work is subpar. Whenever I've done that, I don't even read the inadequate translation and move on to write a good one for the client.






[Edited at 2014-06-20 07:31 GMT]


 


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