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Poll: A client sends you negative feedback. You...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:32
SITE STAFF
Oct 15, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "A client sends you negative feedback. You...".

This poll was originally submitted by Paula González Fernández. View the poll results »



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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:32
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Other Oct 15, 2014

I don't see how there can be any other answer but "other" to this. You might do any of the alternatives offered, depending on the circumstances.

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Marta Brambilla  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 16:32
German to Italian
+ ...
Agree! Oct 15, 2014

Jack Doughty wrote:

I don't see how there can be any other answer but "other" to this. You might do any of the alternatives offered, depending on the circumstances.


I totally agree.
There are so many different situations that can occur, it's impossible to give one answer.

Cheers
M.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:32
English to Russian
+ ...
Usually accept and apologize Oct 15, 2014

Even if you are right, arguing with a customer is like spitting against the wind. Besides, in modern English one can easily prove a good number of variants for translating one and the same term. And support with authoritative examples.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:32
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Accept and apologize Oct 15, 2014

Anything else would escalate the situation, and the point is to downplay it. I have been caught twice mis-typing proper names transcribed from PDFs. I had a cataract, which has since been corrected, but for a while I stopped accepting PDFs because my sight was pretty bad. Both clients have come back to me with more work and we have a good relationship.

Another client complained that I didn't translate a street address. In that case, I told them that my approach was correct. I decided not to work for them again because I don't want to waste my time casting pearls before swiine.


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Sonja Kroll  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:32
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Jack Oct 15, 2014

I don't see how I could decide what to do before I have even looked into the matter.

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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:32
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Of course Oct 15, 2014

Jack Doughty wrote:

I don't see how there can be any other answer but "other" to this. You might do any of the alternatives offered, depending on the circumstances.


It depends


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Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:32
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
It depends if their criticism is valid, of course Oct 15, 2014

The question is poorly posed, I'm afraid. It depends on whether their criticism was valid, debatable, or totally wrong, of course.

I must say that, in general, I find clients are reasonable. If you explain why you translated something the way you did, nine times out of ten my clients accept it, and thank me for the explanation.

If I blew it, I blew it. You've just got to apologize and move on.

JRP


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:32
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Oct 15, 2014

Japanese is such a vague and ambiguous language. The majority of words can take on a variety of meanings depending entirely on the context. This means that, in a lot of cases, words are open to so many different interpretations.

If a customer/client gives negative feedback because of their interpretation or through no fault of yours truly, then I won't unconditionally accept their negative criticism. I will listen to their criticism but let them know if they are wrong.
I do, however, own up to mistakes I've made, if they are obviously mine.

This is why I do tech trans - theoretically, meaning is crystal clear and there are no grey areas.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 17:32
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 15, 2014

It depends on whether the negative feedback is right or wrong.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Oct 15, 2014

I haven’t had a single negative feedback in over 20 years (touch wood!). I always revise and check my translations several times before sending them to an ex-colleague who proofreads all my work. But if I had, I believe it’s very important to take immediate action (how can someone ignore it???), as this is a very important part of any customer service – fix problems; solve issues.

In my experience, the negative feedback may be stylistic changes and not true errors on the part of the translator. Sometimes it’s the client that makes mistakes rather than the translator. Some 20 years ago, I received a negative feedback from an important client who wasn’t aware of the differences between Spanish and Portuguese…

If I know I am right, I will defend my translation. If I don’t agree with something, I will question it and I will do some further research to prove my point of view, including good sources. Of course, I will also apologize if mistaken. Mistakes can happen, even from those who are supposed to correct them. We all know that translation is an activity that requires continuous learning and we will never know everything…


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:32
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other - it depends Oct 15, 2014

If possible, I defend my translation diplomatically.
Clients are not always right, as I learned when working in-house.

'Everybody can English', and some weeks there were quite a lot of these 'enquiries' as one colleague called them. Usually, he politely and quietly defended the translator. He sometimes suggested an alternative solution, without admitting that anything was wrong with the original version. The client saved face and the agency did not lose them as clients. On the contrary, they found out in the majority of cases that the translator was right, and felt the translation was in good hands.

Of course there were real mistakes occasionally, and then my colleague apologised and found a solution, usually a revised translation and sometimes a reduction of the fee, depending on how serious the problem was.

I never ignore complaints, but I may choose any of the other options.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:32
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Depends Oct 15, 2014

Depends on the criticism, of course.

Alexander Kondorsky wrote:

Even if you are right, arguing with a customer is like spitting against the wind.
I do not agree with that. I argued with customers more than once, about wrong (or partly wrong) feedback, about rates, working conditions, overdue invoices, etc. I don't remember losing a customer after that. If I had, then it would not be that bad, because I don't want to work with people who are not open to discussion. On the opposite, some are still among my best customers. Look like frankness is appreciated.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Хороший ответ Oct 15, 2014

Jack Doughty wrote:

I don't see how there can be any other answer but "other" to this. You might do any of the alternatives offered, depending on the circumstances.


My thoughts exactly!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:32
French to English
But I won't do that Oct 15, 2014

Jack Doughty wrote:

I don't see how there can be any other answer but "other" to this. You might do any of the alternatives offered, depending on the circumstances.


Any except jump right in there offering discounts left, right and centre

I went for the "justify" option 'cos even if I accept that the criticism is valid, I will always explain why I translated something the way I did, just so they know thought goes into it.


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