Poll: Have you ever proofread a translation that was apparently done without serious effort?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:30
Nov 1, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever proofread a translation that was apparently done without serious effort?".

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Oh yes! Nov 1, 2014

If you mean that the person didn't care and just wrote any odd thing, rather that translated effortlessly. Most of my proofreading aktivity, in fact, aaaaarghhh!


Teresa Borges
Local time: 06:30
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! Nov 1, 2014

I never accept a proofreading job without having a good look at the translation (with one exception: someone whose work I trust, because we have worked before). Time “wasted” at the beginning represents fewer headaches later on…


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
Member (2008)
English to Italian
several times Nov 1, 2014

Yes, and for a specific client, it was always the same translator.
I finally said: look this guy is gonna cost you a lot of money, because my rate is different, I am basically re-writing, re-searching terms....
I found out he was so cheap that at the end of the day, having his translation almost re-done was cheaper than a good translator... anyway this guy is not working for that company anymore, everybody refused the proofreading assignments!!!


M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:30
English to Polish
Yes Nov 1, 2014

Surprisingly, many of those were test translations.


Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
No, Nov 1, 2014

I cannot say I have.
But I have proofread translations that were not that great and where I thought this translator still has a lot to learn.


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
It's more a question of ... Nov 1, 2014

In my experience, it's more a question of translations done by someone who seems to think their English is of native standard when it obviously isn't. And sometimes my work is similarly "proof read" by someone equally unqualified to write good English. Most annoying. I avoid proof reading whenever possible. Time consuming and unrewarding.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:30
Russian to English
+ ...
What do you mean? Nov 1, 2014

The question is basically incomprehensible. A translation that the original translator claimed that it did not require any effort on his or her part? Or, that the translation company thought that it should not have required or did not require any effort. Which one is it?

Or, perhaps, something else.

[Edited at 2014-11-01 13:32 GMT]


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A couple of times Nov 1, 2014

An allegedly native German translator translated 2 documents, topic Halloween. The choice of words was...non-native. Although Halloween has been existing, so to speak, in my country only for a few decades, the German terminology is known. Or should be.icon_smile.gif


Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 00:30
German to English
+ ...
other Nov 1, 2014

I had trouble understanding the question, and it could be understood several ways. I have proofread translations where the original translator showed signs of having superb mastery - especially if the source text was also well written and easy to translate - then I saw the apparent effortlessness of a master. I have also proofread translations where there were signs that the translator did not seem to have the necessary skills, and had apparently worked very hard, and the translation was poor quality nonetheless.

I think that that question is really asking whether we have ever proofread translations that were done carelessly. I'd say that for a badly done translation, I will advise the client that it would be better to have it redone from scratch, otherwise revising at an hourly fee would be costly. so while I have seen careless, shoddy translations, I have not proofread them because I have advised the end client not to go that route.


Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
depends if it's a third party translation or if the author is writing in non-native language Nov 1, 2014

I think it is easy to misunderstand the very serious effort of a person with current skills limitations as being "lazy" or some such thing.

When I proofread, it is usually when the writer has a native language other than English, not the translation of some third party, so their is less scope to go completely off the mark. They might way things "wrong", but at least there is sure (one hopes) to be some logical coherence. The task is therefore to seek that logical coherence, which could easily be impossible when proofreading a translation by someone who didn't understand the underlying meaning of the source text.


R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:30
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
By not reading into the question too much... Nov 1, 2014

Have I ever proofread a sentence, phrase, block of text and thought that the translator could have done better? Yes, more than once.


username_  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:30
English to German
+ ...
Yes Nov 1, 2014

Yesterday, for instance, I had to revise a translation that was quite obviously done without any serious effort. The guy just translated everything literally so I had to find all the terms on my own, and I'm sure that he could have done a much better job if he had spent 5 minutes of his time doing research on the subject. It was a 150 words long product description of a very simple optical microscope. I'm sure that he didn't even care to proofread it once (e.g. he confuses 'object' and 'objective', etc).


Sharon Toh, MITI MCIL
Local time: 13:30
Member (2009)
Chinese to English
+ ...
Many times Nov 2, 2014

That's why I tend to dislike proofreading tasks.


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Poll: Have you ever proofread a translation that was apparently done without serious effort?

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